In our island’s foster care system, there are 675 children, some as young as newborns to 11-year-olds, even facing their 18th birthdays still in care. 

While the majority find themselves in the care of their relatives, over 70 kids reside in collective shelters, group homes, and treatment centers but these kids aren’t just numbers, they’re each a precious life with a unique story, each worthy of stability and love. 

Pamela Brewster is with the Department of Public Health’s Bureau of Social Services Administration. She oversees the section that licenses foster homes. 

“The need really is recruiting foster families. The number of children that come into foster care rises almost daily and so we really want to be able to meet the demand with the numbers that we have of the children in care,” said Brewster. 

While this need persists, efforts are underway to support the simple joys for kids in care like movie days or field trips, however, procuring funding proves to be challenging. 

DPHSS’s Joelyn Borja is spearheading public health’s first 2k/5k, recognizing Child Abuse Prevention And Foster Care Month.

“Last year, we actually had a kid from our shelter graduate from high school, and so we were able to buy a cap and gown, we can buy the ring, we can buy whatever makes them feel like a regular kid in an actual home. And it just brings light to their life,” said Borja. 

The superhero-themed event will have everything from a mini carnival and will serve as an outreach to learn more about the different types of foster care. 

“People say all the time, ‘I want to do something to make a difference–’ and this is your chance to really make a difference in a child’s life and really be there to be that support and be that healing for a child that’s come into care,” said Brewster. 

The 2k/5k kicks off this Sunday, May 19, at the CHamoru village.