The local foster care system needs loving individuals to get involved and to make a difference. It can be overwhelming trying to figure out how to start, so we’ve compiled a list of several ways that you can get involved and improve the foster care system.
If you are passionate about working to improve your local foster care system, the first step is to begin learning from those that are actively involved. Reach out to your local foster care agency or child welfare agencies to learn more about your local foster care system. They may also be able to direct you to support services programs or nonprofits.
If you already know a foster family, sit down and talk with them. Ask them about their experience and truly listen to their heart.
In addition to talking with those involved in foster care, you can read articles and blogs to help you learn more about foster care.
2) Become a secret Santa or “adopt” a foster family
Look into local programs that help to provide Christmas gifts or allow you to “adopt” a child in foster care or every child in a particular foster home. Some programs allow you to provide gifts and/or physical needs for children in foster care throughout the year.
Ask your church or local foster care agency if there are any programs like this in your area. If there aren’t any programs like this near you, you could start one or you could find a foster family to support in this way.
In addition to showing a foster family love with gifts and physical support, you can offer to be a prayer warrior. Offer to be a safe space for the family to call with their needs or set up a regular time to check-in. Never underestimate the power of prayer.
3) Offer respite care
If you’re interested in getting involved in a larger capacity, look into the laws and the process to become a respite care provider in your area. Oftentimes, a foster family can’t leave their children with just any babysitter or family member. If a foster parent has an appointment, has to go on a trip, or simply needs a break, they have to facilitate care through their case manager and they have to leave their child with an approved foster care provider.
After completing the necessary paperwork, background checks, training, and home evaluations, you could become a safe place for a child while their foster parent is away.
4) Think about becoming a foster parent
If you’re passionate about impacting your local foster care system, it may be time to think about becoming a foster parent. This is a big commitment that would take lots of research, prayer, training, and planning. But, if God is tugging on your heart, you may want to begin to pray about this.
5) Become a mentor
Another impactful way to impact your local foster care system is to become a mentor. Look into local agencies that offer mentorship programs. In the State of Georgia, Connections Homes provide mentorship to young adults that are aging out of the foster care system.
The transition to adulthood is often slow and filled with bumps in the road. However, youth that age out of the foster care system often need to become an adult in a day. They enter adulthood without anyone to call for support when they need help changing a tire or applying for a job. The foster care youth that age out of the system often lack financial, emotional, and social support. This is an area of the foster care system that is often overlooked.
Connections Homes seeks to impact the foster care system and to bring change by providing support for young adults emerging from foster care into adulthood.
Reach out to Connections Homes today if you know of a young adult that needs stable, loving support or if you’re interested in becoming a mentor and making a difference in a young adult that has recently left the foster care system.