Ways to Help Children in Foster Care

Ways To Help Children In Foster Care

Anyone can help children in foster care. I mean anyone. Even if you’re young, even if you’re broke, you can make a difference in a child’s life. To prove it, I’ve compiled a list of ways that you can help foster children. Some of these things, like donating used children’s clothes, require little time and sacrifice. Other options, such as fostering a child, require a lot of time and sacrifice. Ways to help are divided into three categories: Donate, Volunteer, and Open Your Home.

Donate:

(Donations should be given to your local Department of Human Services)

  1. Give gently used items such as clothes, toys, and baby gear.
  2. Give school supplies (especially backpacks, those run out first).
  3. Give suitcases. When most foster children change homes they have to carry their belongings in trash bags. Their valuables are not garbage and should not be treated as such. Giving a child a suitcase helps them to protect what few belongings they have.
  4. If you’re into sewing, you could also make bags for kids to carry their belongings in.
  5. Make blankets for younger children to use as comfort items.
  6. Sponsor a child for the holidays (gifts will be under $30).
  7. Give food for holiday meals.
  8. Make Blessing Bags.
  9. Give money. Your local Human Services department most likely lacks the funding to help every foster child and family adequately. Help stretch their budget further so that these children can get the resources they need.

Volunteer:

  1. At your local Department of Human Services. No, you won’t be working with foster children. You will most likely be folding clothes and organizing school supplies. The reason I put this one on the list is because case workers need volunteers to do these tasks. Otherwise, the workers will have less time to meet with the children, make appointments for them, and so on. By helping out with the little things, you enable an understaffed department to help every family adequately.
  2. Driving kids to appointments. This is also through your local Human Services department.
  3. As a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate). CASAs help foster children by getting to know them and other people in their life. Then they inform the judge of what they believe is in the child’s best interest. Because it is the judge, not the case worker, who decides where the child gets placed. http://www.casaforchildren.org
  4. As a Big Brother/Big Sister. Although the Big Brothers Big Sisters program is not exclusively for foster children, many of these kids are enrolled in the program. Having a good role model can make a world of difference for any child, but especially for a child in foster care. http://www.bbbs.org

Open Your Home:

  1. Become a Respite Care Provider. Respite care providers temporarily care for children when they are between homes or when their foster families need a break. http://www.adoptuskids.org/about-us/adoptuskids-respite-program
  2. Become a Foster Parent. http://www.adoptuskids.org/for-families/how-to-foster
  3. Adopt a foster child. Many foster parents go on to adopt the children that they have fostered. However, you can also adopt a waiting child. Waiting children are already eligible for adoption and waiting for a forever family. http://www.adoptuskids.org

As you can see, there are many ways that you can help children in the system. Go to any of the links posted above or contact your local Department of Human Services for more information on how to get involved.

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photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/59532782@N00/5629084376">Girl with Teddy Bear</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/">(license)</a>

7 comments

  1. We chose options two and three. I would like to say that all foster children are not equal. We already knew the children we fostered and later adopted and always treated them as if they were our own children, and spent our money on them to buy much more than the payments covered. They also had blood grandparents who visited them on birthdays and holiday time to bring them presents. They really did not need extra from the county’s limited funds. They already had plenty of presents. I observed many other foster parents who did as we did and spent much more on the children that the county payment covered. I wish the county’s presents had gone to children who needed them more.

    1. I am so glad you chose to help children and make them part of your family. I am going to school to be a social worker and am learning as much as I can about foster care because I think that is the field I want to go into. I hear of so many sad stories that it is wonderful to hear of foster parents who genuinely love those kids. I admire you for opening your home and loving them like your own children.

      1. It was a hard journey, since both children were older and were natural siblings who had been in separate foster homes. They were lost in the system, but our son was in a foster home next door, we fell in love, and when it became clear he would go up for adoption he moved in with us. We had to initiate making things happen. My neighbor know we belonged together so she told us to apply for the license. We had one good social worker and some very bad ones involved in our lives during our journey. I’ve have written our stories on HubPages on my BarbRad account.

        Jason was pretty normal considering what he’d been through, but he had been only neglected, not abused, before foster care. He was five when he came to live with us. His sister Sarah had been molested by her birth father and was very disturbed when we got her at age nine.

        Have you read In Between by Jenny B. Jones? I review it on my book review site. It shows pretty well how foster children feel as they approach a new home. It’s great reading for future foster parents — especially of preteens. It also shows the relationship of the child to the social worker. It’s fiction, but matches some of what I experienced. I wish our story had ended as happily. Another great book for foster children, foster parents, and social workers is The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson. If you haven’t’ read these books, you might want to.

  2. I was not aware of most of these ideas…..and I love them. I would also like to be a respite parent…thanks for sharing the link!

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