Each May, National Foster Care Month draws the attention of the nation to the year-round needs of children and youth in foster care here in Hawai‘i and across the country. It is a time to reflect on the challenges, and raise awareness about our youth who struggle to find guidance and a stable home. It is also a time to encourage more adults to get involved and help—whether as a foster parent, mentor, volunteer, or any of the other countless ways that are available.
The most recent study from the Hawai‘i state Department of Human Services in 2014 reported that 2,231 youths were in foster care in Hawai‘i. While there has been a steady decline over the last decade (5,353 youth in 2004), it unfortunately marks the first annual increase since then, higher than 2013’s count of 2,180. Also, a higher number of youths have been entering into foster care than have been leaving it in both 2013 and 2014. These are startling facts that we sincerely hope are not indicators of a new trend.