7 Ways to Help Foster Children Without Becoming a Foster Parent
Foster care is a big commitment. We understand that not everyone who has a heart to help vulnerable children is in a position to make that commitment right now, but there are still ways you can help P.R.O.M.O.T.E. foster care and have a lasting, positive impact on a child.
Provide childcare to a foster family
All families need a babysitter occasionally, but foster families have even more obligations such as court dates, meetings with caseworkers, service plan review meetings, and ongoing foster parent training. They may also need someone to watch their other children while they take a child to doctor’s appointments. Foster parenting can also be stressful, and giving foster parents the chance to take a night off to care for themselves is important too!
Respond to the need by donating new or gently used furnishings, clothing, school supplies and toys or brand new personal care items.
Children bring few, if any, personal items with them when entering foster care. A toy or new outfit can be a small thing to brighten the day of a child who is in an untenable situation through no fault of his own.
Most needed items:
• New/gently used clothing (all sizes) • School supplies • Toys • Sports equipment • Musical instruments • New or gently used backpacks • Board games or educational toys • Art supplies • Books
Offer tutoring to a foster child
Foster children often enter a new school when they go to a new foster home. In addition to trying to catch up with the rest of the class like any child who moves, the children are dealing with the trauma of whatever caused them to enter foster care and being removed from their families and would benefit from additional academic support.
Mentor a foster child
The more positive, adult role models a child has in her life, the better. This is particularly true for foster children who sometimes have been harmed by the people they look up to the most and need to see examples of caring, responsible adults whom they can trust.
Offer a meal to a foster family when they get a new child in their home
Foster children need extra care and attention as they adjust to their new home. Foster parents rarely get the support that other new parents get from their communities, and they may have only an hour or two to prepare before they meet the child. Providing a simple, child-friendly meal will allow the parents to have a little more time to spend helping the child transition.
Teach a skill like music lessons, art or a skilled trade to a child in need of support
Teaching a child a skill can help them express themselves and build confidence. Older children can especially benefit from learning skilled trades because those who become adults without a permanent family have little or no support when entering the adult world.
Educate others about the need for fostering by hosting an info session, posting flyers & yard signs or sharing via social networks
Even though over 500,000 children are in foster care in the US, the foster care is often a hidden crisis. Raising awareness is a crucial way you can help raise up people to meet the needs of foster children.
If you live in Virginia, visit our website for the Intercept office location near you or call 1-844-987-KIDS to connect with a Foster Family Trainer and coordinate a donation drop off or find out more about how you can be involved. Donations will go directly to local foster and adoptive children and their families. You can also download our promote fostering flyer as a reminder for yourself or make copies to give to friends and family.