Call To Action From A Former Foster Youth For May, “National Foster Care Awareness Month” By Tanya Cooper

Date:

National Foster Care Month is an initiative of the Children’s Bureau. Each May, we take time to raise awareness of issues related to foster care and acknowledge the parents, family members, foster parents, child welfare and related professionals, mentors, policymakers, and other members of the community who help children and youth in foster care find permanent homes and connections. 

### Family, Where Are You?

As we delve into the significance of family during National Foster Care Awareness Month, it’s crucial to acknowledge the 391,000+ children still in care, 153 million children orphaned worldwide, yearning for familial love and stability.

Each one of these children holds within them the potential to contribute positively to society, be it as a future surgeon, writer, or in any other capacity they are destined for.

#### The Heartache of a Broken System

Drawing from personal experience, the pain and bewilderment of being placed in foster care at the tender age of five lingered as no relative came forward to offer solace.

Not an aunt, uncle, grandparent, or even a supposed godmother, extended a helping hand when needed the most.

This predicament begs the question, why is it increasingly challenging for families to step up and prevent children from ending up in state care?

In today’s society, the erosion of traditional family values, dedication, and the guiding presence of matriarchs in nurturing successive generations have contributed to the breakdown of the familial safety net.

While the onus primarily falls on parents to provide for their children, there exists an inherent truth in the African proverb that highlights the communal responsibility of raising a child – “it takes a village.”

#### Rebuilding the Village 

The haunting memories of being abandoned in a sterile group home setting or a children’s facility in Brooklyn remain etched in the psyche, highlighting the void left by familial neglect.

Trust becomes a scarce commodity when one’s own mother willingly parts ways, and the extended family fails to intervene, leaving the child stranded amidst unfamiliar faces and surroundings.

It’s an earnest plea to parents, especially fathers, to exercise prudence and restraint in bringing new lives into the world without the means or capabilities to nurture them to their fullest potential.

For the able aunties, uncles, cousins, and grandparents out there, the time is now to step into the breach and offer support and stability to those in need.

#### A Call to Action

The staggering number of over 390,000 children navigating trauma or transitioning out of care underscores the magnitude of lost opportunities and untapped potential.

Each child left adrift represents a missed chance for the universe to witness a talent unfurl, a gift shared, or a life transformed for the better.

In conclusion, let us heed the call to fortify our familial bonds, embrace the essence of community support, and rekindle the spirit of collective responsibility towards the younger generation. For in doing so, we not only safeguard the well-being of our children but also pave the way for a brighter and more inclusive future enriched by the diverse contributions of all.

The blue ribbon is a symbol for National Foster Care Awareness Month.

About The Author – Tanya Copper: Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, Tanya’s early life was marked by the challenges of foster care.
Placed in the system at the age of 3 due to her mother’s struggles with alcohol and drug addiction, she found stability and a permanent home at the age of 7.

Despite facing abandonment, neglect, and later abuse as a child, by two older foster brothers, Tanya’s journey has been defined by her unwavering resilience and determination. Drawing
from her own experiences, she has emerged as a passionate advocate for foster youth and orphans, using her voice to bring attention to their needs.

With a strong educational background in communications from NYU and extensive experience
in youth counseling and education, Tanya has dedicated over 30 years to empowering young
individuals across diverse communities. She has harnessed her creative talents as a writer, artist, stand-up comic, and motivational speaker, touching the hearts of many through her work. Tanya’s popular podcast, “On The Town With Tanya,” serves as a platform for inspiration
and connection.

Currently, Tanya is focused on her upcoming book and documentary projects centered around foster care. Through these endeavors, she aims to make a profound and positive impact on thelives of children and youth, shedding light on their experiences and advocating for their well-being.

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