Welcome to Las Vegas Sign Goes Blue for National Foster Care Month
The Welcome to Las Vegas Sign is going blue for National Foster Care Month.
From May 1 to May 7, the famous sign’s lights will change color to raise awareness about the need to support Clark County children and youth in foster care.
In May, the nation’s leading child welfare organizations partner to raise the visibility of foster care issues using the color blue as the nation’s signal to support the 400,000 children and youth living in out-of-home care throughout the year and the more than 3 million who could potentially enter the system.
Clark County commissioners are flipping the switch at 9 a.m. Wednesday, May 1.
“You can help change a lifetime for a young person in foster care,” said Commission Chair Steve Sisolak. “Thousands of caring foster parents in Clark County have stepped forward to fill a vital role in our community.”
On any given day, more than 3,000 Clark County children, from toddlers to teenagers, are in the foster care system. Most simply need a temporary home before they are returned to their biological families.
Many of those children cannot return home, because their own families are in crisis and unable to provide for their essential wellbeing. Foster and adoptive parents are a valuable resource for children, their biological families and the entire community. Like all young people, youth in foster care deserve and benefit from enduring, positive relationships with caring adults.
Youth from the department’s Independent Living Program, which helps transition children and youth into adulthood, will be on hand to speak about foster care issues.
In 2012, DFS issued more than 550 licenses for foster and adoptive care. The licensing process includes federal and local criminal background checks, more than 30 hours of training and a home study that documents and examines the family dynamic. Most everyone can become a foster parent as long as they meet the qualifications and have space in their hearts and homes for a child.
“If you cannot be a foster or adoptive parent, you can still make a difference in the lives of children,” said Commissioner Lawrence Weekly. “Be a Court Appointed Special Advocate, a coach, a teacher or a mentor. The impact is significant. This is about moments in a young person’s life. Your participation will impact a young person’s life and minimize youth from potentially entering the system.”
We are charged with caring for the community’s most vulnerable population, but we cannot do it alone. The department works closely with community partners, such as the Nevada Institute for Children’s Research and Policy at UNLV, Olive Crest, the Children’s Advocacy Alliance and Project WE, to ensure the wellbeing of our children.
“As a leader in the prevention and treatment of child abuse, Olive Crest is honored to partner with all the organizations represented here today,” said Doug Coombs, Olive Crest executive director. “We have seen the positive impact these partnerships have made on the children and families in our community. By working together and raising awareness, our goal of strong families and safe kids will continue to flourish.”
“This event provides an opportunity to shine a light on those who have touched the lives of children in foster care,” Sisolak said. “We recognize foster parents, attorneys, and others whose concern for our children is a testament to the power of selflessness and courage.”
“We owe it to this generation and the next to create a world where young people have the opportunity to dream big,” said Jeff Penix, Project WE founder. “Together we have the power to change a lifetime of a young person in foster care.”
To learn more about Clark County’s foster care program and how to get involved, visit online at www.ClarkCountyNV.gov or call (702) 455-0181.
Clark County is a dynamic and innovative organization dedicated to providing top-quality service with integrity, respect and accountability. With jurisdiction over the world-famous Las Vegas Strip and covering an area the size of New Jersey, Clark is the nation’s 12th-largest county and provides extensive regional services to more than 2 million citizens and 42 million visitors a year. Included are the nation’s 8th-busiest airport, air quality compliance, social services and the state’s largest public hospital, University Medical Center. The County also provides municipal services that are traditionally provided by cities to almost 900,000 residents in the unincorporated area. Those include fire protection, roads and other public works, parks and recreation, and planning and development.