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  • Writer's pictureCASA of North Mississippi

National Foster Care Awareness Month

May is National Foster Care Awareness Month! Each year, more than 390,000 children in the United States are in the dependency court and foster care systems due to experiencing abuse or neglect. On average, a child in foster care will move into multiple homes and attend multiple schools. This chaos and inconsistency can have long-term traumatic effects on children and youth.

Mental and behavioral health is the largest unmet health need for children and teens in foster care. Up to 80% of children in foster care have significant mental health issues, compared with approximately 18 to 22% of the general population (American Academy of Pediatrics. “Mental and Behavioral Health Needs of Children in Foster Care”). Having solidified, nurturing placements has a positive impact on the resilience and long-term well-being for children and youth.

Positive mental and behavioral health for children and youth requires the presence of at least one nurturing, responsive caregiver who is stable in the child’s life over time. In observance of #NationalFosterCareMonth, CASA of North Mississippi celebrates our volunteers who advocate for the needs of children and youth in foster care and provide a consistent advocate and reliable resource during times of great uncertainty and transition. In 2021 alone, 83% of child welfare cases that included a CASA volunteer resulted in family reunification, legal guardianship, adoption, placement with relatives, or continued care at home by parents.

CASA volunteers not only advocate for children and youth within the court, child welfare, and school systems but they also form connections with them that can last for years. Many young people who age out of the foster care system will maintain a relationship with their CASA volunteer into adulthood.

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