Monday, May 21, 2007

Making A Difference For Kids In Foster Care

This week you've read all sorts of things about foster care. Now, maybe you want to do something to make a difference in the lives of kids in foster care. But what can you possibly do? Today, we'll talk about several different things individuals can do to make a difference.

1. Send handwritten notes, postage stamps, or other goods to be included in care packages for kids from foster care who are going away to college.

2. If you are established in a career, you can be a Virtual Mentor to a youth in foster care. You'll correspond with them once a week about things like studying, goal setting, etc.

3. Give the gift of bedtime comfort... donate comfy, new pajamas and new books to children in foster care through the Pajama Program!

4. Donate luggage to kids in foster care! Kids in foster care move around a lot, and often their belongings are stuffed into large trash bags. Donate your gently used suitcases and backpacks to kids in foster care! You could even start a luggage drive and encourage people at your work, church or other organization to donate! This site tells you how to get something started.

5. Volunteer in a children's home or crisis nursery in your area. Children's homes usually use volunteers to do everything from send out mailings, to sorting donations, to playing with, tutoring, or reading to the children. Use a search engine like Google to find one near you, or call a local social service agency like Catholic Charities and ask for a referral to one.

6. If you have a few hours a week that you can spare, call a local foster care agency and see if they need volunteers to provide transportation to kids in foster care. You can drive kids to their medical appointments, case workers, birth parent visits, special activities, etc.

7. Over the summer, many foster care agencies have school supply drives to supply school supplies to kids in foster care. While you're hitting the back-to-school sales for your own kids, pick up some extras for a foster care agency!

8. Mentor a child in foster care. Kids in foster care spend a lot of time with foster parents, case workers, judges, teachers, therapists, etc, etc, etc... but it is nice for them to have one special person who can just enjoy being with them! To find an organization that matches kids with mentors, a good site to start at is here. You could also contact your local Big Brothers And Big Sisters Of America and request to work with a child in foster care.

9. Become a Court Appointed Special Advocate! CASA's get to know a child in foster care, and then go to the court date to speak on the child's behalf about what would be best for the child. You don't need to have a law background to do it... they give you all the training you need!

10. Provide respite care for foster parents! You may have to get a foster parenting license, because some respite programs place kids in respite homes for days at a time. Other respite programs provide a few hours a week of babysitting to foster parents. Contact local social service agencies to find out about this!

11. If you feel up to it, become a foster parent!

These are only a few of the things you can do to help kids in foster care. If you have special talents or interests, use your creativity to think of how your talents and interests can help kids!
Remember, kids in foster care are the responsibility of all of us... society... to help raise.

1 comment:

melody said...

As a former foster mother and one who worked closely with CASA, I just wanted to say these are excellent suggestions.