Foster Parent Appreciation Month April 24, 2017 WHEREAS, Alaska’s foster parents are remarkable people – they open their hearts and homes to some of our most vulnerable children; and WHEREAS, foster parents can provide the safety, love, and nurturing that every child deserves, at a time when that child needs them most. While foster parents can face enormous challenges, it is a worthwhile endeavor to help a child, and the experience can positively impact both the child and the foster family for a lifetime; and WHEREAS, foster parents help children whose families are in crisis, playing a vital role in helping children and families reconnect at the appropriate time. They help enable the child’s safe return to their parent’s care, and foster parents can help children heal from the painful wounds of abuse and neglect, prepare them for a healthy future, and keep children safe while building strong families; and WHEREAS, 3,056 Alaskan children were in out-of-home care in April 2017. This placement is the last option considered when reasonable efforts to protect a child in their own home have been exhausted. Alaska benefits from the selfless dedication and daily service provided by foster parents. Their contribution to our youth are incalculable; and WHEREAS, Alaskans who are able and willing to open their homes to children in need are encouraged to learn more about becoming a foster parent by calling 800-478-7307 or visiting the Alaska Office of Children’s Services online at http://dhss.alaska.gov/ocs/Pages/fostercare/default.aspx ; and WHEREAS, this month especially, we express our gratitude and respect to the many Alaskan foster parents, family members, volunteers, mentors, child welfare professionals, and other community members throughout the state who make such a meaningful difference in the lives of the children and youth in foster care. NOW THEREFORE, I, Bill Walker, GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF ALASKA, do hereby proclaim May 2017 as: Foster Parent Appreciation Month in Alaska, and encourage all Alaskans to recognize and celebrate foster parents in their communities and to consider whether they can help care for the most vulnerable members of our society when they need it most by being a foster parent.