National Foster Care Month

April Ferguson LCSW-C
Senior Practice Associate Children and Adolescents
May 2024

The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) acknowledges May as National Foster Care Month. During this month, we recognize the importance of supporting foster youth and their families. It is an opportunity to highlight the importance of kinship care, foster parents, and youth lived experience.

Kinship Care

Children removed from their homes may experience trauma, mental health issues, and academic disruptions. Prevention efforts that strengthen families and reduce Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) are key protective factors to keep families together. However, when removals are necessary, kinship placements are vital to ensure a child’s well-being. In recent months, there has been a national shift in practice to increase placement with kinship providers. Kinship homes allow children to remain in familiar communities and maintain connection with family members. According to a 2023 Chapin Hall Policy Brief, children placed with kinship providers have more stable placements, less behavioral problems, and less mental health disorders.

Foster Families

For children that are not placed with kinship providers, it is imperative to have a strong pool of foster families that are culturally competent, and trauma informed. Agencies should have specific strategies to recruit, train, and support a diverse group of foster parents. Foster families should receive training that prepares them to respond to the emotional, social, behavioral, and educational needs of children. Foster families should also be nurturing and supportive of birth families and sibling relationships. When foster families are recruited with intentionality and well trained they can be an integral part of caring for and advocating for youth placed in their care.

Foster Youth Lived Experience

There is also a practice shift of incorporating lived experience into service delivery and service planning. Social workers and agencies can support foster youth by inviting their feedback in case planning and by participating in authentic engagement strategies that make room for open and honest dialogue with youth. Foster youth are also empowered when they share their story and advocate for changes in the child welfare system.

Children may experience many difficulties when they are separated from their parents and placed in foster care. Although many aspects of foster care can be challenging, social workers can assist youth by supporting kinship and foster families and inviting youth to share their lived expertise. Below are educational resources and related organizations to help social workers and others observe National Foster Care Month and learn how to support foster youth.

Trainings and Resources

NASW Podcast: Foster Care: How Social Workers Help

Children’s Bureau Express: May Is National Foster Care Month—May 2024 | Vol. 25, No. 4 (

Related Organizations

National CASA/GAL Association for Children

Child Welfare Information Gateway

Child Welfare League of America

Casey Family Programs

PRIDE Model of Practice (Parent Resources for Information, Development, and Education)


National Adoption Association

Center for Adoption Support and Education (C.A.S.E.)

Grandfamilies and Kinship Families Support Network