It's National Foster Care Month, and here in Hawaii there are about 1,500 children in foster care. 

According to Partners in Development's program, Hui Ho'omalu, there are about 1,000 foster families statewide, but still a growing need for more. 

Allene Uesugi has fostered over 300 children in Hawaii. 

"I have children at 9 months right now in my house.  So I have a sibling group of three.  I had four but the fourth one was transitioned to the biological father," explained Uesugi. 

With three biological children of her own, Uesugi tries to create a sense of normalcy in children's lives by taking them into her home. 

"Children come into the system for a variety of reasons, but as most understand, it's because they've either been physically, sexually, emotionally abused, or there is a threat of harm," said Stephanie Helbush, Hui Ho'omalu Project Director, a program of Partners in Development Foundation.

The four basic requirements to foster a child are:

  • Being able to support reunification between the child and their family
  • Passing a criminal background check
  • Having adequate space in the home
  • Being financially stable

"This is a commitment. A life long commitment.  You don't just take the kids and then it's over and done with. The kids will put an indelible mark on your heart so, you'll always have the longing to know what they're doing, where they're going, what their future is all about," said Uesugi. 

"Even if it's a temporary situation, the kind of connection that resource families can provide is invaluable and sometimes it makes the difference in their lives," said Helbush. 

If you're interested in fostering a child, click here