To Do Better by Kids, Build a Bigger Bench of Loving, Caring, Supportive Adults

Posted May 6, 2020, By the Annie E. Casey Foundation

Foster parent with two children

May is Nation­al Fos­ter Care Month. Amid the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic, child wel­fare sys­tems around the coun­try have an extra­or­di­nary oppor­tu­ni­ty to strength­en how they sup­port fam­i­lies before, dur­ing and after cri­sis. To help high­light the impor­tance of sup­port­ing chil­dren and youth in fos­ter care, as well as their fam­i­lies, the Annie E. Casey Foun­da­tion has part­nered with the U.S. Children’s Bureau to bring atten­tion to the crit­i­cal role of all con­cerned adults — par­ents, fos­ter par­ents, kin­ship care­givers, men­tors and oth­ers — to love and care for kids.

While the COVID-19 cri­sis has been a dis­rupter of major pro­por­tions, it also pro­vides an oppor­tu­ni­ty to remake sys­tems and rela­tion­ships to do bet­ter by young peo­ple,” San­dra Gas­ca-Gon­za­lez, vice pres­i­dent of Casey’s Cen­ter for Sys­tems Inno­va­tion, writes in one of three arti­cles penned by Casey staff, con­sul­tants and youth advis­ers in this month’s edi­tion of the Children’s Bureau Express.

The three Casey-pro­duced arti­cles are:

To Do Bet­ter by Kids, Build a Big­ger Bench of Lov­ing, Car­ing, Sup­port­ive Adults
In this piece, Gas­ca-Gon­za­lez under­scores the oppor­tu­ni­ty and imper­a­tive to rede­fine the role of fos­ter par­ents and kin­ship care­givers as resources to the entire fam­i­ly — chil­dren and par­ents alike — to help strength­en over­all child and fam­i­ly well-being while ensur­ing kids are safe.

Putting Ethan First: A Reuni­fi­ca­tion Story
Denise Good­man, a long­time Casey con­sul­tant and now a senior fel­low at Case Com­mons, shares a reuni­fi­ca­tion sto­ry, through an inter­view with Ethan’s moth­er, fos­ter par­ents and social work­er that high­lights the col­lec­tive pow­er of lov­ing adults who worked togeth­er to care for a young per­son. This arti­cle also fea­tures sev­er­al old­er youth who share their insights about the ben­e­fits of hav­ing a wide net of sup­port­ive adults in their lives.

To Ben­e­fit Chil­dren and Teens, Build Rela­tion­ships Between Birth and Fos­ter Parents
Good­man is not only an expert on fos­ter care recruit­ment, reten­tion and train­ing but also a for­mer fos­ter par­ent of teenagers. This arti­cle high­lights her expe­ri­ences as a child wel­fare pro­fes­sion­al and a fos­ter par­ent, and how they influ­enced her work to improve the lives of chil­dren and families.

Learn more about child wel­fare sys­tems and COVID-19

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