Monthly Archives: January 2017

Help Children in the Foster Care System

Children of all ages and backgrounds are placed into the foster care system every day for a variety of reasons. The one thing that they all have in common is that their lives have been significantly changed, and that can be frightening for many of them. Every child deserves to feel cared for and safe, and that’s why the role of foster parents is so important. However, there are also plenty of other things that you can do to help foster children in your community, even if you’ve decided that foster parenting or adoption isn’t right for you. Take a look at some of the ways you can make a difference in a child’s life below.

Look Into Mentoring

Foster children don’t generally have a lot of stability in their lives, so having a mentor that they can look forward to seeing and spending time with on a regular basis will serve to provide them with some consistency. The support and encouragement that mentors offer are vital to children who desire to know that they’re worth someone’s time. Some specific programs use mentors to help with academics or life skills, or you may just spend quality time playing games, talking, sharing a meal, etc.

Provide Respite Care

You may have tossed around the idea of becoming a foster parent and came to the conclusion that it wasn’t the best situation for you and your family, but there are many types of foster care placements that don’t have to be long-term. Numerous children need people who will take them in under respite care, which is reserved for short-term, emergency situations. As a respite care provider, you may receive a child that has just been taken out of their home and must find a place to stay for 24 hours, or you may be a source of relief for a few days for biological or foster parents who are dealing with difficult situations.

Volunteer Your Time

Aside from mentoring one particular child, there are many other opportunities for you to volunteer your time to the foster care system. This may include driving children to and from medical appointments or visits with their birth family; spending time at a local foster organization and helping with meal preparation, reading to kids, wrapping presents, organizing donations, etc.; and/or taking professional-looking photos of children waiting to be placed in a foster or adoptive home.

Make a Donation

Foster children often leave their homes with very little to none of their clothes and personal possessions. There is always a need for donations in good condition in the form of clothing, toys, books, games, toiletries, luggage, and school supplies. You can contact child welfare agencies and children’s homes in your area to get a good idea of specific items that are needed. Organizing a donation drive or fundraiser is also welcomed.

Become an Advocate

There are a large number of children in foster care across the U.S. who need adult advocates to speak on their behalf and make sure they don’t get overlooked in the crowded system. Becoming a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) means taking on the responsibility of gathering information from all the people that are a part of a child’s life to present to a judge who will then use it to determine the best circumstances for the child to be in.

With so many ways to contribute, there’s no reason not to get involved with the foster care system and help to positively influence the life of a child.

Foster Care Placements

Numerous children continue to enter the foster care system every day, each with a different background and unique situation. In an effort to provide the proper care and accommodations for the multitude of foster care children that need a caring and stable environment, there are various types of placements that can occur so that all individual needs are addressed. If you are new to the foster care system, becoming familiar with the different kinds of placements can be helpful in deciding which one(s) would best suit you and your family as foster parents.

Emergency

Emergency foster care happens unexpectedly and on very short notice. Children removed from unsafe circumstances may need a place to stay for one night or for a few weeks, depending on the specific situation. Immediate relocation of a child may be due to something as extreme as abuse or as simple as a parent’s failure to follow court orders. Emergency foster families must always be prepared to provide food, shelter, clothing, and other necessities as soon as they are called upon as well as be able to handle the trauma a child experiences from suddenly being taken away from their parents.

Respite

Whether it’s because of a physical disability or behavioral problems, some children can be more challenging to care for than others, and respite foster placements offer birth, adoptive or other foster parents a break from the intensive nature of such responsibility. These short stays usually last a few hours, a weekend or from one to two weeks and assist in giving permanent guardians the support they need to continue caring for their children effectively.

Long-Term

Long-term foster care is needed when children are unable to return to their birth parents. This is a way of providing a more permanent home life for them until they reach adulthood without committing to an adoption. Oftentimes, older children in the foster care system prefer this type of placement rather than being adopted and will remain in touch with their birth family.

Specialized

Foster placements that are deemed specialized involve children with medical conditions and require families or individuals that have been trained to properly handle their needs. These can be very ill, emotionally disturbed or behaviorally difficult children that demand hands-on, experienced and time-consuming care in a home that promotes love, discipline, and encouragement.