GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A Grand Rapids nonprofit is using Foster Care Awareness Month to encourage more people to open their homes to children who need fostering.

“What our children have experienced is devastating,” D.A. Blodgett-St. John’s President and CEO Mary Muliett said at the WOOD TV8 Live Desk Wednesday.

D.A. Blodgett-St. John’s is offering educational sessions on fostering and a stipend to families willing to temporarily take in teens during the placement process. The sessions include:

  • “Stand for Teens” on Sunday, May 22 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Wyoming High School.
  • “The Realities of Foster Care” on Wednesday, May 25 from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. This session will take place virtually.

Registration is required.

The stipends will be $245 monthly for each bed per child awaiting stable placement. An additional $100 will be offered per day when a child is in a home.

Muliett hoped the programs will help the community understand the needs of foster children.

“We really need a circle of support for those kids and their families,” she said. “The goal of foster care when a child comes into care is to circle around the parent or parents with resources and support to try to reduce the barriers that brought their child into care.”

Muliett said the ultimate goal is to try to unify kids with parents.

“We believe that children are best off with their family whenever they can be safe. When that can’t happen, foster care comes along side to make sure that children are safe,” Muliett added.

If you are interested in fostering a child, go to D.A. Blodgett-St. John’s website to learn more.