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  • The Bigger Picture
    Not everyone is immediately ready to become a foster family. Many people have to consider their personal and professional schedules. However, if you have a strong desire to give back to the community to make a lasting positive impact, you could start off with the following: Connect with Foster Care Agencies: Donate outgrown items to foster children in need. Suitcases, personal care kits, new stuffed animals and blankets are also greatly appreciated. Be an honorary grandparent, aunt or uncle: Children are always in need of positive individuals in their lives! Remember it "Takes a Village to Raise a Child." Be a big brother, sister, or mentor: Children are constantly being influenced by those around them. Positive role modeling provides support and encouragement while helping a child learn appropriate behaviors. Be that extra hand: Offer assistance to foster families with their needs. Maybe you could walk the dog or run errands or provide child care for birth children while the foster parents attend training sessions. Include: Welcome foster families into your community with acceptance and understanding. Support: Make donations or join local community groups that focus on preventing child abuse and or neglect. Become a CASA Volunteer: Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) serve as the voice of the child in custody cases and foster care hearings. Volunteer to be a Tutor: Does math, English, or a foreign language come easily to you? Volunteer to offer tutoring to a foster child who needs a little extra help. One hour a week can impact a child's life! Serve as an "advisor" for a young adult: Many youth aging out of the foster care system, between the ages of 18 and 21, are left to try to "make it" without any supports. You can be the support they need. These young adults would not necessarily reside in your home; however, you would provide advice, guidance, support and become part of their "network."
  • Are you ready to be a foster family? What's the best fit for you?
    Respite Homes: Respite homes are short term homes for children and adolescents. Respite homes usually have a child placed for a weekend, or up to three weeks depending on the situation. Respite is a great place to start if you are new to foster parenting, your schedule is busy, or if you simply want to ease into fostering a child. Guardianship remains with the biological family or the social service agency. Regular Foster Parenting: A regular foster home offers a placement for a child who is in need of a home placement due to an unsafe living situation in the child's home. Foster children have a wide variety of experiences and backgrounds before coming into foster care. Guardianship remains with the biological family or the social service agency. Therapeutic Foster Parenting: While being very similar to regular foster parenting, therapeutic homes provide additional structure and support to children who have emotional problems, behavioral challenges, or medical/physical conditions. It is also common for a sibling set to be placed in a therapeutic foster home in the interest of keeping all the children together. Guardianship remains with the biological family or the social service agency, which contracts with therapeutic foster care agencies to place children with trained therapeutic foster parents. Therapeutic foster homes receive more intensive training, have more frequent contact with Family Consultants, and receive a special needs stipend in addition to a monthly maintenance foster care payment. Adoption: When parental rights have been terminated, foster parents can be approved as adoptive parents. When a family adopts a child, they become the child's legal parent/guardian.
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