5 Ways to Help Kids in Foster Care Without Becoming a Foster Parent4:48:00 PM
Ever wonder what do you need to become a foster parent?
Many people are not sure. They find that they empathize with the situation of foster children, but their lifestyle does not permit them to put all the time that is needed for helping foster kids or becoming a foster parent, yet they still want to contribute some time to helping foster children and foster families.
Here is how to help kids in foster care as well as foster care parents:
Respite CareThe majority of foster children come into foster care with a multitude of emotional baggage. This results in exhibiting behavior that can be a real challenge for foster parents on a daily basis; especially if foster parents have more than one foster child in their care.
So, you can only imagine how important it would be to a foster parent to have someone willing to take over for them for a period of hours or even days to take off the special needs of their foster children. The foster care agency that services the foster family will speak with you and approve you after you take some classes and attain a state license as a respite foster care parent or “short-term” care that usually is for no more than two weeks.
Foster Family SupportAs children enter foster family care, they are no different than any other child who has their own unique set of needs. With those unique needs come a lot of time that is needed to be spent with a foster child in understanding who they are and what they have experienced thus far in their life. Foster parents need to find the time to spend with their foster child to get to know who they are and what makes them feel secure and happy.
Helping a foster family with even the most mundane, day-to-day activities will give them free time to devote to their foster children on an individual basis. For example, reading to a foster child while foster parents take the time with another foster child seems simple enough, but it will give the foster parents time on a regular basis to develop a personal relationship with each child. Other activities that foster parents may need help with are:
• Doctor appointments
• School conferences
• Filling out reports
• Caseworker meetings or visits
• Counseling appointments
• Sports or other school activities
• Helping with cooking or laundry
It is really all about you asking the foster parent what their needs are and how you can help them to fulfill those needs that promote a better relationship between them and their foster child.
Be a VolunteerIndividual time: As a volunteer, spending time with foster children can help with gaining insight not only into the life of a foster child, but that information may help to inform the foster parents of the child’s personal need for counseling, school issues, or with other family members. This also will help to understand what the best type of permanent home for the foster child may be.
Local Big Brother, Big Sister Association: For those who live in the state, many foster children take part in the local Big Brother, Big Sister Clubs whose mission is to find a caring adult who will spend time with a needy child. With this organization, not all the children are specifically in foster care, but many of them come from the local foster care centers, and you will usually be paired with the same child each time you volunteer in order to develop a meaningful and trusting relationship with that child. You can donate several hours a week or even an entire weekend and spend time with a child who is in need of quality time with someone who can teach them a new skill or hobby, participate in a sporting activity, or simply read to them. Find out how you can join one of these clubs at http://www.bbbs.org/.
Donate Your TimeGiving items: Most foster care agencies and sometimes even foster care families will lack enough material items for all of the foster children in their care. Just donating things like children’s clothes, backpacks, coloring books, toys, school supplies, and even suitcases allow foster care agencies and families to give each child what they need.
Walk-a-thons: There are many fundraising walks around the country that needs a multitude of volunteers to organize and promote these foster care fundraisers to help with servicing the needs of foster care agencies as well as foster care families. There are tons of campaigns like Walk Me Home to participate, which is a great way to support children in foster care.
Be a Foster Care AdvocateIf you are more of an activist-minded individual and want to spend your time speaking with foster care children and families, then you can consider advocating on their behalf in the following ways:
Awareness through Media: Publish blogs, social media, writing articles, and calling local news agencies to promote fundraisers or to raise awareness about fostering.
Legislative support: Meet with local congressmen and school board members as well as representatives from Washington D.C. and speak to them about voting for legislation that will help foster care agencies and families
Encouraging activism: Through social media, keep abreast of the latest activities of the Foster Coalition on their social media sites and report as well as participate in their activities.
These are a few ways to help support foster care and foster care families. For more information on any of these ways to help, seek out a licensed foster parent in your area or contact a local agency. Through the national foster and adoption care agency website at.