By Susan Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
BIRMINGHAM—On Monday, Former First Lady Dianne Bentley spoke at an event at the McWane Center about the importance of foster parenting.
Hosted by Gateway, the event’s theme was “The Elements of Foster Care” and recognized 106 foster parents. The group is also seeking an additional 94 therapeutic foster homes to welcome children into their families.
According to their website, Gateway is the oldest social services agency in Birmingham, established as Mercy Home in 1891. “By partnering with families, Gateway supports their development and restores their pathways to wholeness through therapeutic foster care, family counseling, financial coaching transitional living, and crisis intervention.”
As the mother of two adopted children, Mrs. Bentley is a advocate for strong families supporting multiple organizations concerning this and many other advocacy groups.
“Our children are looking at the most frightening present and future any American generation has ever faced. Just look at what happens on television or even in their own homes. Today more than ever our children need all the encouragement we can give them, and we can encourage them with positive, focused attention. Seek their potential instead of their problems,” said Mrs. Bentley.
While the adults attended the banquet, more than 100 foster children visited the McWane’s ScienceQuest exhibit, many for the first time.
The McWane Center gave families tickets for future events. Other gifts were provided for foster parents by Publix, Hoffman Media, Birmingham Zoo, DeSoto Caverns, Chick-Fil-A, Tazikis, Vulcan, Splash Adventure, Civil Rights Museum and Dream Land.
President and CEO Kate O’Day said, ”Gateway’s Therapeutic Foster Care program is truly unique. We have a strong community of dedicated foster parents who are fully committed to the growth and development of the children in their care. Each and every day, they are changing lives for the better – forever.”
Mrs. Bentley continues to attend speaking engagements at numerous events around the state in support of families in all situations.