May is National Foster Care Awareness Month — here’s how you can get involved

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - "We don't want your children, DHR doesn't want to take your children, but if your home environment is unsafe then for the sake of the child, we need to take them out of the home," said Court Appointed Juvenile Advocate Laura Kovalcik.

According to statistics, more than half a million children in the U.S. are in foster care today.  That's more than double the amount of kids who were in the system in the mid 1980s.

"I think the drug culture is a big part of that," said Kovalcik.  "We see a lot of parents addicted to meth, addicted, right now, to heroin. You can't effectively parent when you're high."

"Sometimes, foster parents will deal with a CAJA: a court appointed juvenile advocate. Don't be afraid, it's a good thing. CAJA's are appointed by judges to advocate for the child for the safety and permanency of the child.

So what does it to take to help a foster child thrive? it's easier than you may think.

"A loving home," said Kovalcik.

A loving home doesn't have to mean a traditional home. Families who foster can be as unique and diverse as the child in their care.

"We have single men that foster, single women that foster, what we consider in fact traditional families, they may have biological children of their own they might not... if you have the ability to foster, try," said Kovalcik.

Madison County has a need right now for foster parents for teen boys.  For more information visit the Alabama Department of Human Resources website.

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