These children “deserve every opportunity that their non-foster peers receive”
On any given day in the United States, there are more than 450,000 children in foster care. Through no fault of their own, these kids have been removed from their parents as a result of abuse and/or neglect. Once a child has been removed, a team of caring adults secures a safe and loving place for the child to live until or unless they can return home. This is foster care. As the largest nonprofit provider of intensive foster care in Massachusetts, HopeWell’s mission is to enrich the lives and expand the opportunities of individuals and families in need of love, support, and a safe place to grow and thrive.
Founded in 1964, HopeWell supports approximately 1,100 foster children a year throughout Massachusetts as well as in the Hartford, Connecticut, area. HopeWell began by creating the first community-based residential program for boys and launched its Intensive Foster Care Program (IFC) in 1975, which serves the most difficult to place children in a family-based setting. In the early 1980s, family support and stabilization services were added to enable HopeWell to partner with intact families involved with the Department of Children and Families (DCF) to avoid out-of-home placements. HopeWell also provides residential and shared living services for 50 adults with developmental disabilities. Through its My First Place program, the organization supports youth who have aged out of foster care by providing them with stable housing as well as education and employment services.
During the month of May, HopeWell celebrates National Foster Care Month, a time to acknowledge foster parents, family members, volunteers, mentors, policymakers, child welfare professionals, and other members of the community who help children and youth in foster care find permanent homes and connections. Speaking about the network of foster families who work in partnership with the organization, Shaheer Mustafa, HopeWell president and chief executive officer, states, “Children who come in to foster care deserve every opportunity that their non-foster peers receive. Whether it’s reading a bedtime story, helping them with their homework, or simply celebrating their success, our foster parents offer children a consistent, safe, and predictable environment that helps them heal, grow, and thrive. They’re some of the most remarkable people you could ever meet, giving unselfishly of themselves to provide a home to a child who has experienced tremendous loss. During the month of May, we work to celebrate and recognize our kids in care and their foster families for the amazing work that they do all year long.”
There are children in every community who need foster care. In Massachusetts alone, there are more than 10,000 children in foster care. Children of all ages are living with foster parents who have unselfishly opened their hearts and homes to support them, often when they’re most vulnerable. With more children in need of care than available homes, HopeWell is looking to expand its network of foster parents. HopeWell knows that fostering a child is a chance to impact and change the life of a child. Children who come into foster care have experienced loss and trauma that can impact their physical health and cognitive functioning, as well as social and emotional wellbeing.
However, the impact of this trauma can be positively influenced by the type of foster placement, the stability of the placement, and the access the foster child has to services and supports. HopeWell’s network of foster parents will tell you that they are not alone in caring for their children. Our extensive team of social workers and family resource specialists work in partnership with foster parents, offering training, wellness programs and ongoing support and assistance 24 hours a day. At HopeWell, we recognize it takes a village to support kids in foster care, and we take pride in the level of support we offer our incredible foster parents.
Interested in becoming a foster parent? Learn more by visiting hopewellinc.org or call 1-800-592-0400.