Do you help the unfortunate? Are you willing to do so but don’t know how to go about it? Children in foster care are among those in great need since they have no grown-up parents to take care of them adequately just like your childhood experience. May is the national foster care month so when that time comes, make sure you have something to show support or push forward the lives of all foster kids in your area of residence. As we will see, there are several ways to help these children even though you are not entirely into it.
We will discuss the following in this context:
- What is foster care?
- How does foster care work?
- Latest foster care statistics
- What you need to qualify for foster care
- Nine ways to help children in foster care
Table of Contents
- What Is Foster Care?
- How Does Foster Care Work?
- Latest Foster Care Statistics
- What You Need to Qualify for Foster Care
- 9 Ways to Help Children in Foster Care
What Is Foster Care?
It is a way of sharing your family life with children who don’t have proper families to turn to. It’s a practice done all over the world where foster parents accept children in need of mentoring and a safe environment to grow up in. Those involved in foster care duties do it temporarily in a bid to sort out the issues that such kids are facing. The primary activity consists of helping the young youth who are experiencing hell as they grow up.
Once the kids are stable, they can return to their homes once the foster parents are sure that they will be safe when they go back. In some cases, the children have an extended stay in foster care, become adopted or go on to have independent lives.
How Does Foster Care Work?
Depending on where you live, foster care placements are in a broad category. There are short-term cases and long-term ones. What you choose must be based on your schedule and how far you are willing to accommodate. There are customized options too such as Parent and Child placements which give information and guidance to young parents with the aim of helping them gain the necessary parental skills while caring for the foster children.
Latest Foster Care Statistics
A recent Google search revealed to us that in every two minutes, a child enters a foster care home in the US. So, how many children are in foster care programs? In the United States alone, more than 400,000 children were in foster care by the year 2016. This was drawn from the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System. More from the report indicates that in the same year, about 100,000 of them were waiting for adoption while about 57,000 had already been adopted and out of the foster care system. More than 20,000 youths are out of the system after attaining adulthood which implies that they grew up without having reunited with their biological parents or any other family members.
We are now in 2018 which is in its last phase so, the numbers are definitely higher. Without the needed family support, these children face massive trauma, feeling immured, nowhere to turn to and may become addicted to drugs among other things.
With the right support, these kids can become great if not having something to help them have fulfilling lives. Once you look at a football star who has gone through the same and achieved in life, take a step to give the next foster kid a chance to level or override the statistics.
What You Need to Qualify for Foster Care
For you to be a foster care parent, you may be single or married but meet the following:
- Be 21 years of age or above who is mature, responsible and financially stable.
- Complete the relevant paperwork with the staffs’ help.
- Provide information about your lifestyle and background.
- References to relatives and friends.
- Provide proof of being single, married or divorced if required.
- Confirm about a home study which will involve visiting your home with all family members available at some point.
- A checkup on criminal records to see if there is any form of abuse or neglect.
- Attend training to learn about what adopted children go through and what’s required of you.
Additional foster care requirements may involve:
- Having enough sleeping space and materials.
- Not allowing more than six children at your place, counting your own.
- Not disciplining them physically.
- Allow for inspection in your home when a need arises.
- Vaccinating any pets around.
- Know how to perform first aid tasks such as would cleaning, CPR among others.
- Attend at least 20 hours each year training in foster care.
Once you have all the requirements in check, below are the ways you can help these kids be what they wish for. Some of the ways to help do not require you to attain anything. If you can help, there are many ways to do it without having to be fully involved especially if your life is full of objectives to meet at the end of each day.
There are several ways to volunteer if you want to help the current foster kids or those ready to be out of the system. You can choose to become a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate). After going through the relevant training and passing the checks, you are now a ready CASA member to represent a child’s interest in court. You have a chance to know the children assigned to you as well as the people in their lives who are a factor in the case.
A CASA member informs the court about the best interests to serve the child and what they think about them after an overall evaluation. By doing this, you will be making a huge impact on the children that will gear them towards attaining a positive life in the future. That is why they will keep in touch with you even after they are long gone.
If you are not ready for that among other useful duties that you could pursue, you can find foster care agencies near me by performing a local search. This way, you can see a foster care that you can identify with their problems, and find out what you can do to make their life easier. Mostly, people go for foster walks in a bid to raise money for the foster children in their community.
2) Supporting a Foster Family
Those who are taking care of foster children have a lot going on in their minds. It is more than sharing the love since that is the easy part. There are daily hardships to cope with since the complexity of working with a kid that you still don’t know well is made more prominent by the community working around the issue plus all the government regulations that they have to meet.
If you are still wondering on what you can do, check the list below:
- Visit a foster family
- Take the children to appointments
- Assist in counseling the kids
- Training to be better persons in the future
- Calling and emailing
- Help them complete the required paperwork
- And much more…
You can also join a community that helps the foster children and families alike to help them with their current burden. Listen to foster care stories which will enable you to see and be in their world as you look for the best ways to help them. After looking at what these parents need, being in their position means accepting everything that comes your way, despite how your day looks like.
The problems in foster care environments do not require the most creative minds. Ask what you can do, and you will realize there some things that only need your presence and doing them just the way you do at home. So, if your friend offered to take care of the garden, you could go in to prepare a meal for the members around.
See, you don’t have to engage in mind-blowing tasks. Being there even once a week for a few hours is enough. It will make a difference in their lives especially if they are hanging in the balance.
If you have a collection of skills, expertise, and knowledge, you can share by mentoring a current or former youth. You can start by searching for foster care agencies near me that are in need of help and create awareness in a social network that you are inspired to mentor.
Some foster care nonprofit organizations cater for tuition among other services to former foster care youth who are in higher learning. You can assist in meeting these youth, talking to them and showing that there is a bright future at the end of their education. Furthermore, it’s an inspiration that they have already achieved this far despite their background.
4) Provide Respite Care
Respite care is essentially temporary care provided to someone (the sick or elderly) by someone else other than the foster parent, biological parent or the caregiver with the aim of providing relief to the usual caregiver. Since all children in foster must be under an adult supervisor cleared by the state, in case of emergency the foster parent can’t request a neighbor or her teen sister to babysit.
To provide respite care, you simply fill out a form and attach a copy of your driver’s license to foster and adoptive care coalition. After approval, you can work as an emergency contact for a foster home or nurse the disable. Another way, you can commit to temporary respite care by getting a license from the state or country to serve when foster parents need relief, or a kid needs a home to stay during a transition.
Foster care agencies near me process respite care license in a few days. The requirements, however, differ depending on the state or agency.
Donation can be a generous way of supporting foster car. You can do it by contributing money, or give out items such as cards, school stationaries, scarves, snacks, foster care stories novels, magazine and articles, and CDs with movies about foster care. These items are supplied to various foster children and youth to provide a sense of caring that fellow peers receive from their families. Make your care package by looking at what you have and get an agency that provides care to those in need.
Problems with foster care require physical, emotional and social support which includes prayer. Pray for the children who will sleep on an unfamiliar bed in a squatter home tonight. Pray for reunion and rebuilding of broken families and don’t forget the parents who removed their child today. Remember the kids who have lost hope for the future and those who were supposed to keep them safe. Call upon for the judiciary, social workers, leaders’ advocates, and activists who are entitled to making important decisions and recommendations for kids in foster care. Pray for voluntary foster homes opened to serve foster kids to broken families and most important pray for all caring hearts to sympathize with broken children and assist in providing care.
7) Voting for Politicians
Elect politicians who support and promote policies that cater solutions to problems in foster care to both current and former foster youth. You can gain more information about politician’s contributions to foster care by looking at websites for the organizations he or she has contributed to.
If you can’t provide foster parenting, you can stand up for the rights and state of living in foster care system by creating awareness on the current condition in foster care scheme. Firstly, understand the downfalls of the system. Communicate with foster parents, read foster care stories, listen keenly on the news about foster care and contact your regional agencies. Afterward, educate others about what you have learned by filming and producing movies about foster care to the general public. These voiceless children suffer as a result of our ordinary negligence, and they need us to advocate for them. If you have a beautiful spot in your heart for care and support of children in foster care, this is one way of strengthening them.
9) Become a Foster Parent
Every kid needs a home that provides both comfort and safety. They are supposed to be fed, motivated, clothed, educated, equipped with the necessary medication and cared for, but this is not always the case in many foster care homes. Several foster cares lack essential resources and vital services for months, years or even for the rest of their lives. You can decide to be a foster parent and sign with foster and adoptive care coalition to form a partnership which will help you fill in the gaps and challenges you are likely to encounter as a foster parent.