May as Diné Foster Care Awareness Month on Navajo Nation

Navajo Nation President Begaye signed the proclamation declaring May as Diné Foster Care Awareness Month on May 4.

Published May 8, 2018

WINDOW ROCK — President Russell Begaye proclaimed May as Diné Foster Care Awareness Month to recognize, recruit and license more families into the Navajo Nation foster care system.

“It’s great to have foster parents,” President Begaye said. “Being a mom, being a dad is a tremendous sacrifice that needs to be made. Thank you to all those who choose to offer this kind of help and to those working in foster care.”

The Indian Child Welfare Act was enacted in 1978 to promote stability and security of Indian tribes and families. It provides protection for Native American children, demonstrates respect for tribal sovereignty, and helps retain culture and tradition.

“It is unfortunate that some of our Navajo children are placed into our foster care, however, we encourage our people to open their homes and hearts,” Vice President Nez said. “We need more Navajo foster parents to take in these children of all ages. Every child deserves to be loved and supported in every way possible.”

According to the Navajo Division of Social Services (NDSS) there are approximately 700 children under the Navajo Nation foster care system placed in kinship homes, licensed foster care homes, emergency shelters and residential treatment programs. About 90 homes are licensed at this time.

“We’re always looking for foster families who can provide safe, loving homes for our children,” said Terrelene Massey, director of NDSS. “We also look for families to help our children stay connected to Navajo culture and traditions.”

In Utah, there are 130 Native American kids in the state’s care with less than 20 native foster/kinship homes statewide, said Stephanie Benally from Utah Foster Care.

‘Utah Foster Care is committed to ongoing recruitment to try to find foster homes for our kids so they can stay culturally connected,’ Benally said. ‘We need to keep our kids within our communities. It’s not as simple as taking them to a powwow or reading them a book. It’s the everyday living, the food, music, and the humor. That’s why it’s important to keep them in native homes.”

The contact information for Utah Foster Care is (877) 505-5437, More information can be found at https://utahfostercare.org.

For those interested in becoming foster parents, please contact Diana Haven-Woody from Navajo Department of Family Services at (928) 871-6556 ordhavenwoody@navajo-nsn.gov.

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