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Art exhibit held in Bristol in honor of foster care awareness month

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BRISTOL--May is national foster care month, and an art exhibit in Bristol was erected in honor of raising awareness.

Children presented their artwork depicting the foster care experience at an event at the Artist Tree Tea House, which was hosted by the Department of Children and Families.

"I believe that kids that have been dealt a rough hand should be given the best opportunities and the best homes that they can thrive in," said Jennifer Hartley, a current foster parent. "And I think that many children can do that if they have the right environment to do that in."

In a press release, Gov. Dan Malloy said that he is proud of the advancements the state has made in the DCF system.

“We’re working today to build a brighter future for children tomorrow, and we have made real advances in partnering with and supporting families – including birth families, relative and kinship families, and traditional foster families,” Malloy said. “We all recognize that families of all types are the most essential resource for children, and that’s why we are supporting them in their unique and irreplaceable role in delivering a brighter future.”

DCF Commissioner Joette Katz added that the state is "truly fortunate" to have traditional foster families "standing ready to care for these great children."

For more information on the Connecticut foster system, click here.

As of March 1 of this year, 4,012 children are in foster care in Connecticut, but 35 percent of those kids live with a relative or someone they already know. That is in comparison to 4,780 just four years ago--a 16 percent reduction--and 7,600 in 2000.

Of those kids, nearly 80 percent live with a family versus in a home, compared to 67.5 percent four years ago.

According to a press release from the state, one of the key improvements in Connecticut foster care is that DCF holds meetings with families whose children may be taken away to try and prevent that from happening if possible.

Being a foster home means that you will receive a monthly stipend to cover the costs of caring for the child, as well as free health insurance for the kid and access to physical, mental, behavioral and other services. There is also a program set up to allow kids to get a degree after high school.

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