The Importance of Supporting Children in Foster Care
Some question the importance of supporting children in foster care. They are in a system and that should be enough, right? Thankfully there are people like Danielia Donohue Reidy, the Senior Community Engagement Office at Forestdale, Inc., who understands the fundamental needs of children go beyond foster care.
Danielia is a long time advocate for children in care, this August will mark her 6th year with Forestdale, Inc. For over 166 years, Forestdale has served the community assisting foster families and offering preventative support for at-risk families. Through a partnership with Together We Rise, Forestdale helps gift comfort items to children as they move into new homes. Danielia acknowledges the need for this work stating,
“Not every child can verbalize their needs, especially in upsetting situations, but what they can do is read a book, wrap a blanket around themselves, and hug a teddy bear! These items do a great deal to help a child process their situation and feel relaxed in their environment.”
A Community with Urgent Needs
The foster care community is diverse and the needs vary from tangible items to emotional support. Working with this community is a choice and because of her firsthand experience seeing the urgent need, Danielia continues to help. She also mentions being inspired by the collective good accomplished by her Forestdale colleagues.
Identifying the Need
When it comes to tangible needs diapers are always at the top of the list. Danielia jokingly mentions them and stresses,
“But seriously, foster children need what every child needs– nutritious food, a safe place to play, structure, dental and medical care, and adults that nurture them and accept them. Basically, every child just wants to feel “normal” and have access to the same experiences as any other.”
How can You Get Involved?
People are a huge asset to all foster care organizations. There really is a space for everyone to participate and aid in the needs within the community. Danielia suggests to,
“Contact the agency first to see what their needs are. This changes throughout the year. I know we are going to need backpacks very soon, and then after that, we will begin fundraising for holiday presents. We are always raising for something and love to offer suggestions to potential donors.”
As someone who is so involved with the foster care community Danielia has seen and experienced a lot. The greatest lesson she has learned is the transformative She shares the greatest lesson she has learned through her work stating,
“That treating people who have experienced trauma with respect and kindness does immeasurable good.”
We couldn’t agree more.
We are so grateful for people like Danielia and her Forestdale colleagues. For those interested in becoming foster parents Danielia offers some advice,
“Know that you don’t have to be perfect, you just have to be present. Foster parenting is a challenging and an adjustment, but you can do it!”
For those looking for other opportunities to help kids in foster care, please connect with Forestdale here. Also, consider starting a service project with Together We Rise here to help foster youth in your community.