Michigan Department of Human Services, Department of Natural Resources host family event to thank and recruit foster and adoptive parents

Contact: Christina Fecher, media relations coordinator 517-373-7394

 Sept. 10, 2011

WATERFORD, Mich. - The Michigan Department of Human Services teamed up with its nonprofit agency partners and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources today in a family fun event to recruit - and show appreciation for - foster families who care for the state's most vulnerable children.

 "You don't have to be perfect to be a perfect parent, but these individuals truly deserve to be recognized for going above and beyond in the name of caring for a child," DHS Children's Services Acting Director Steve Yager said. "The Fostering Family Fun event is a time to thank these generous families, and raise awareness of the need for more dedicated families to care for a child in need."

There are currently an estimated 14,500 children in foster care, of which 3,081 have a goal of adoption because they are state or court wards after parental rights were terminated by a court for abuse or neglect. Additionally, there are about 7,200 licensed foster homes in Michigan.

But there is always a need for more families statewide to open their home to a child in need, especially siblings, older children and those with special needs.

Karen Liverman attended the event to help educate those considering foster care and adoption, and applauded DHS for efforts to not only recruit new parents but retain those currently opening their homes to children in need. The Oakland County woman has fostered 10 children and adopted 7 children throughout the past 39 years.

"These events are very valuable because foster parents need to network with other foster parents," she said. "Fostering is very demanding, but it's very rewarding. If I had to do it all over again, I would do it in a heartbeat."

About 300 foster and adoptive parents attended the Fostering Family Fun event at the Pontiac Lake Recreation Area in Waterford that featured fishing, mountain biking and a nature program. DHS' agency partners were also on hand to educate about foster care and adoption.

The DNR also encouraged family fun by donating a $10 Recreation Passport to each family to put on their vehicle for entrance to any of the 99 state parks and 1,000 boat launches.

"The Fostering Family Fun event is a great way for us to promote outdoor recreation and partner with another state agency to provide a safe, enjoyable way to spend time as a family," said Ron Olson, chief of the DNR Parks and Recreation Division. "We are proud to offer an array of programs at this event that will teach introductory skills to children, designed to build their confidence and help them with physical fitness."

For more information on DHS, please visit www.michigan.gov/dhs. Follow DHS on Twitter @MichiganDHS. For more information on the DNR's Recreation Passport, please visit www.michigan.gov/recreationpassport.