Gov. John P. deJongh, Jr. has proclaimed May as “Foster Care Month” in the Virgin Islands to celebrate the special group of people who open their hearts and homes to children in the Territory’s foster care system. The designated month is also an opportunity to raise awareness about the urgent needs of these young people, and to encourage citizens from every walk of life to get involved as foster or adoptive parents, volunteers, mentors, or employers.
“All children need and deserve caring adults to love and support them, and we thank foster parents for their generosity of spirit and guiding presence in the lives of our youth in foster care,” Gov. deJongh said.
Nationwide, more than 170,000 families care for over half a million children whose parents cannot take care of them. In the Virgin Islands, there are approximately 136 children living in foster care. In the absence of biological family, foster families provide the loving guardianship and guidance which children need in order to thrive and transition to well-functioning adults.
The Virgin Islands Department of Human Services’ Division of Children and Families Services (CFS) encourages residents to wear a blue ribbon in honor of foster children during Foster Care Month. Additionally, foster parents will participate in the annual Best Beginnings Early Childhood Education Conference during the week of May 20th, in both districts at UVI.
CFS staff and foster parents also invite the public to participate in a walk-a-thon on Monday, May 28 starting at 6:30 a.m. at K-Mart West, which will then proceed to Frederiksted Fort on St. Croix. Participants should wear blue, and a donation of $1 to support foster care will be appreciated.
Gov. deJongh calls on all Virgin Islanders to join him in showing appreciation to the territory’s many foster parents, and the professionals working in the field of foster care, for the contributions, dedication, and love they give every day to foster children and for helping to provide them with safe and nurturing environments.