More Ways to Help Foster Children

In a recent blog,I wrote about helping foster kids prepare for life after they turn 18, when they will likely lose their outside support systems—both financial and emotional. In the next blog I wrote about how you might help by tutoring, mentoring, serving as a Court-Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Volunteer, becoming a foster parent or adopting an older child.

This blog will discuss a few more ways to help foster children. First, there’s my fellow blogger Kori’s great idea on donating your kids’ old things to the foster care system. This seems to me to be an especially good idea because foster care agencies are busy with too many other things to hold drives of their own, yet they need emergency supplies for children taken into care, and foster parents often find the subsidy for the children inadequate to cover their care.

If you wish to donate money instead of items, consider Treehouse. This organization helps with necessities too, but is especially devoted to helping foster children live an ordinary life by providing the little things many kids take for granted that aren’t covered by the foster care subsidy: a uniform so a kid can play Little League, field trip fees, a graduation gown, a session of summer camp, sometimes even music or dance classes.

Girl Scouts has troops specifically for girls in foster care. The girls are not embarrassed to talk about their home lives since they are with others who can empathize, and the groups are not neighborhood or school-based so that girls can remain with the same troop when moving to a new foster home. Contact your local Girl Scout council to see if this program exists in your area, and if it needs help. If not, ask for help in starting one!

Another way to serve may be in being a respite care provider. This is someone who gives foster or adoptive parents a break. This can involve anything from two hours during a meeting or doctor appointment to a week’s vacation. One foster care program I know of strives to have a respite family take a foster child for one weekend a month. This not only gives the foster family a break, but has often turned into a “cousin” relationship between the respite family and foster kids, one that can remain constant even when the foster family they reside with changes.

For adoptive parents, you may be able to volunteer to help someone you know. For foster parents, you will need a background check and may have to take a class on dealing with kids with special needs.

Please see these related blogs:

Adoptive Parents Need Rest

Finding Respite Care

This entry was posted in Foster Care and tagged , , , , by Pam Connell. Bookmark the permalink.

About Pam Connell

Pam Connell is a mother of three by both birth and adoption. She has worked in education, child care, social services, ministry and journalism. She resides near Seattle with her husband Charles and their three children. Pam is currently primarily a Stay-at-Home-Mom to Patrick, age 8, who was born to her; Meg, age 6, and Regina, age 3, who are biological half-sisters adopted from Korea. She also teaches preschoolers twice a week and does some writing. Her activities include volunteer work at school, church, Cub Scouts and a local Birth to Three Early Intervention Program. Her hobbies include reading, writing, travel, camping, walking in the woods, swimming and scrapbooking. Pam is a graduate of Seattle University and Gonzaga University. Her fields of study included journalism, religious education/pastoral ministry, political science and management. She served as a writer and editor of the college weekly newspaper and has been Program Coordinator of a Family Resource Center and Family Literacy Program, Volunteer Coordinator at a church, Religion Teacher, Preschool Teacher, Youth Ministry Coordinator, Camp Counselor and Nanny. Pam is an avid reader and continuing student in the areas of education, child development, adoption and public policy. She is eager to share her experiences as a mother by birth and by international adoption, as a mother of three kids of different learning styles and personalities, as a mother of kids of different races, and most of all as a mom of three wonderful kids!