Opinion

Urgent need in Maine for foster care

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Spurwink Services was awarded the A Family for ME contract by the Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). This contract will allow Spurwink to relaunch A Family for ME, a statewide recruitment campaign to identify families interested in becoming foster and adoptive parents for children in custody of the Department.

Spurwink is excited for the opportunity to help DHHS in their efforts to identify foster and resource families for Maine children. We are committed to permanency for all children — a forever family for every child in care — and view this partnership as a key to helping all Maine children find a forever family.

Currently, there are 1,845 Maine children in foster care. Children must be placed in suitable foster homes in appropriate locations, to ensure a child’s life is disrupted as little as possible.

Over the last decade, the Office of Child and Family Services (OCFS) has seen the number of children under the age of 5 in State custody nearly double.

Additional foster homes are urgently needed to meet targeted recruitment of families who can provide temporary care to babies and young children who are in the process of reunification with their birth families; who can accommodate larger sibling groups to allow these siblings to remain connected in the same home; and who can provide care for older youth with challenging behaviors resulting from their exposure to traumatic events.

Families are also needed for older children for whom reunification with their birth families is no longer an available option and for whom an adoptive family is being sought.

Given the urgency of this need, A Family for ME will immediately launch efforts towards raising public awareness through various arenas, including the use of media highlights, working with current foster parents, development of A Family for ME website, through dissemination of informational brochures, and through participation in community events.

This partnership will also include partnering with the community at large through inviting Maine families to participate in whatever means are available to them in spreading the word and raising awareness of A Family for ME efforts to recruit foster and adoptive homes.
Together, we can make a difference in the lives of children in foster care.

Eric Meyer is Spurwink president and CEO. For additional information please call toll free 1-844-893-6311, or e-mail AFamilyforME@spurwink.org.

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