According to a report by the Administration for Children and Families, the number of children in foster care is on the rise. This information lends itself to the idea that we all need to play a role in helping these most vulnerable children. But does that mean that everyone should run out and sign up to become foster parents? That is neither probable, practical, or ideal. Being a good foster parent is a major commitment. Coming to the decision to open your heart and home to children requires deliberate thought. If you’re not ready, or not sure if foster parenting is for you, but still want to help, what are some things you can do? Below are three ways you can make a difference.
Support / Encourage a Foster Parent
So, you haven’t made the decision to become a foster parent, but you want to help in some way. Why not help someone you know who is fostering? Below are a couple examples:
- If you are a decent cook (you don’t have to be a gourmet), offer to make dinner one evening. That is one less meal to have to prepare, and if there are enough for leftovers, even better!
- Give a foster parent an encouraging word, either face-to-face or in a card. You never know the positive impact your act of kindness may make at just the right time.
Donate Items to Those Who Serve Foster Families
Many times, when children are placed in a foster home, they come with only the clothes on their backs. There are several organizations that exist to meet the immediate and long-term needs of foster care families. Examples of items to donate are diapers, toiletries, infant car seats, backpacks, and of course, monetary donations.
Volunteer With Organizations That Support Families
By giving of your time with organizations that are working to strengthen families, you are helping to reduce the likelihood for the need for services. Organizations that offer services such as parenting classes, after-school programming, counseling, and other social service supports can be keys to fortifying families, thus avoiding entrance into the foster care system.
Learn More About Helping Without Becoming a Foster Parent
To find out more about how you can get involved, please contact us. Helping foster youth is not only about being a foster parent, although the need for those willing to make that commitment is great. Ask questions, become knowledgeable, and then make a decision. The greatest need is for those willing to do something.