If the challenge of finding loving adoptive parents for any child is great, in Los Angeles County, finding a home for children of Korean descent is even greater. There are nearly 800 children of Korean descent waiting for a home but none of the thousands of available foster families are Korean.
For children accustomed to speaking Korean, eating Korean food and being immersed in their community and culture, living in a non-Korean home can be extremely difficult. And so, the county’s Department of Children and Family Services and Korean organizations have launched a campaign to recruit more Koreans and Korean Americans as foster parents. The outreach includes a new public service announcement on Korean-language channel LA 18, a new bilingual hotline for foster care inquiries and information sessions with Korean community groups and churches.
“The idea of foster parenting is a totally unfamiliar concept to most Koreans because there was no such thing in Korea,” said Connie Chung Joe, of Korean American Family Services, the organization spearheading the effort. “Also, most Koreans have no idea that there are even any Asian Pacific Islander or Korean foster children in LA County; they’re also shocked to find out there’s not a single licensed and active Korean foster parent.”
The need is great, said Philip Browning, director of the Department of Children and Family Services.
“Every day we get about eight or 10 calls from the Asian-Pacific community,” said Browning. “We need your help to place these children into loving homes, even if it’s temporary.”
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