May may be known for warmer weather and the onset of bikini season, but actress Lynn Whitfield is on a mission to raise awareness that the month is also known as National Foster Care Month. And with her new movie, King's Faith, which tells the story of a foster family, releasing this month, she tells ET about what it was like to step into the shoes of a foster parent.
"Finding out more about the reality of being an aging-out foster child and then being a parent who sees the importance of it and taking that responsibility on and seeing the fruit of it makes me feel very honored that I was apart of telling a story that has a moral, that says we are our brother's keeper," Whitfield says.
King’s Faith tells the story of a family who fosters a young, reckless adult who has outgrown the foster care system. Whitfield's character recently suffered the loss of her son and is resistant to taking on the responsibility of another child.
Known for her roles in Eve’s Bayou and Madea’s Family Reunion, Whitfield spent time with some real-life foster parents and their adult foster children, who like the main character in the movie, had outgrown the foster care system, but were fortunate enough to find loving homes and parents.
"Meeting these families today was very, very meaningful," Whitfield said. "It drove it all home as to what King’s Faith really means."
According to the Child Welfare League of America
, every year 25,000 young Americans "age out" of foster care and are at risk for homelessness, unemployment, incarceration, teen parenting and lives of poverty. The foster families Whitfield met with were treated to a preview of King’s Faith
and said that the movie resonated with the struggles and issues that they had to deal with.
"We should never give up hope. Everybody can have a second chance," Whitfield said. "By taking these foster kids who were aging-out of the system, and the kind of love and admiration I saw each of these foster kids have for their moms, is just- anybody who has love and admiration looking at them like that has to feel rewarded.”
King's Faith hits theaters on April 26. For more from our interview with Lynn Whitfield, check out the video.