June 22-26, 2001

 
 
ADOPTED RESOLUTIONS: HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES

CALLING UPON THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS TO PROCLAIM MAY 2002, AND ALL MAYS HENCEFORTH, AS NATIONAL FOSTER CARE AWARENESS MONTH

WHEREAS, there are more than half a million children and youth living in foster care in the United States today, a 90 percent increase since 1987; and

WHEREAS, foster homes are licensed for fewer children today than they were prior to 1985, resulting in a greater need for more foster families; and

WHEREAS, foster families, who open their homes and hearts to children whose families are in crisis, serve as the primary source of love, identity, self esteem and support and play a vital role helping children and families reconnect; and

WHEREAS, each year more than 20,000 young people annually reach their 18th birthday and "age out" of foster care but continue to need services. Approximately 40 percent experience homelessness, 46 percent leave care without a high school diploma and many emancipated foster youth are unprepared to deal with education, employment, housing and health issues and require ongoing support and guidance of caring adults and mentors; and

WHEREAS, the recently enacted John H. Chafee Foster Care Independence Program will provide additional services to young people making the transition from foster care to self-sufficient adulthood and citizenship; and

WHEREAS, there are numerous individuals, professionals and public and private organizations, who work to increase public awareness of children in and leaving foster care, as well as the enduring and valuable contributions of foster parents, the foster care system is only as good as those who choose to be part of it; and

WHEREAS, the month of May has previously been recognized as National Foster Care Awareness Month by most governors and many mayors and by an outstanding consortium of local, state and national, public, and private organizations,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that The United States Conference of Mayors calls upon Congress to proclaim May 2002, and henceforth all subsequent "May's" as "National Foster Care Awareness Month" and urge all citizens both in our respective communities and throughout the country to volunteer their talents and energies on behalf of children in foster care, foster parents and the child welfare professional staff working with them during this month and throughout the year.