North Shelby man awarded National Foster Parent AwardPublished 1:45pm Friday, February 17, 2012
By CHRISTINE BOATWRIGHT / Staff Writer
NORTH SHELBY – A North Shelby man was awarded the National Foster Parent Award for his role as a foster parent and supporter of other foster parents.
This past January, David Sharp traveled to Seattle, Wash., where he was given the award, among other winners of the annual Casey Excellence for Children Awards. Sharp was awarded in the foster parent category.
According to Sharp, the Casey Family Programs foundation awards “all the different stakeholders in foster care,” including the DHR director of the year, foster child of the year, birth parent of the year and more.
Casey Family Programs is the largest private child welfare organization in the country, Sharp said.
Sharp and his wife, Helen, have been foster parents for six years. Sharp sits on the legislative board of Alabama’s Foster and Adoptive Parent Association and as a public policy chair of the National Foster Parent Association. Sharp said he and his wife have fostered 30 children, ranging from birth to 15-year-olds. They also have one adopted daughter.
In addition to fostering children, Sharp decided to learn about the legal portion of the foster system and become a stronger advocate for foster children.
“It’s like a part-time job for me,” Sharp said, who called himself a “study bug” when it comes to researching advocacy efforts.
Helen Sharp nominated her husband for the foster parent award, and in her nomination letter, she said David Sharp recently initiated a new foster care ministry at the couple’s church, Briarwood Presbyterian Church, where he is the foster care ministry lay leader.
“He’s a passionate Christian, husband, father, coach, teacher, businessman and leader,” Helen Sharp’s nomination read. “But five years ago, something else caught his heart and won’t let go. That something is the children that fill our nation’s foster care system.”