Spring is an important time for Sunrise Children’s Services and all those who care for our state’s hurting children. In April, we commemorate Child Abuse Awareness Month, followed by National Foster Care Month in May. At Sunrise, it’s a time to honor the dedicated and selfless people who give homes and hope to abused, neglected and abandoned children.
Foster parenting is a true labor of love for nearly 200 families who have partnered with Sunrise Children’s Services to give hurting children throughout Kentucky a chance at a brighter future. These are children who have suffered all manner of physical and emotional abuse; young people who have never known the warmth and security of a loving home or parents concerned with their safety and wellbeing.
Sunrise receives a monthly average of 520 referrals for children from every part of the state needing housing, basic services and therapeutic care. It’s a daunting challenge, but at Sunrise there is reason for optimism. We recently celebrated our 325th adoption of youths who have come through our foster care program.
There is so much more to be done. Today, there are more than 7,900 children in state custody needing homes and day-to-day essentials most of us take for granted. Sunrise is constantly searching for people willing to give their hearts, time and resources to help children who need a home.
The consequences will be incalculable if we as a state fail to meet this challenge. The warning signs are all around us: Kentucky has ranked among the 10 worst states for child abuse for the past three years. Furthermore, the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services reports that 70 percent of Kentucky’s prison population came through the state’s child welfare system.
Sunrise has joined the state of Kentucky’s new “Open Hearts/Open Homes” initiative, which is aimed at finding permanent placements for children in foster care. The goal of “Open Hearts/Open Homes” is to work through the state’s churches and nonprofit groups to engage nurturing families throughout Kentucky. Gov. Matt Bevin has said he hopes to see a waiting list of families wanting to adopt rather than one of children needing permanent living arrangements.
For more information about how you can help, visit https://www.sunrise.org/becoming-a-foster-parent/.