1. Become a Driver: Foster care agencies often need drivers to get the children in their care to various appointments such as doctor appointments, school functions, or visits with their birth family. It is important to keep in mind that volunteering yourself for this duty can mean time and monetary commitment, but if you feel as though you are prepared for that, contact your local agency to see if you can help in any way.
2. Offer Respite Care: You don’t necessarily have to adopt or foster to support children in the foster care system. If you feel as though you aren’t completely ready or just cannot foster or adopt due to circumstance, you can provide respite care. Respite care gives foster parents a break from caregiving and allows them time with their families and to themselves. This can mean babysitting or acting as an emergency foster care parent. This is the perfect way for anyone to evaluate whether or not they are ready for foster parenting yet staying actively involved.
3. Help Provide Work for Older Foster Youth: As there is a stigma for many foster kids, work can oftentimes be hard to find. Something as simple as providing honest opportunities for jobs or internships can make a huge difference in their lives. Reaching out to these kids gives them the chance at work experience and encourages them to continue taking steps to succeed.
4. Donate: Group homes, foster care agencies, and more are always looking for donations to help meet the needs of the children. You can donate new or gently used school supplies, toys, clothes, shoes, and more. You can also donate financially to foundations and organizations such as Court Appointed Special CASA and Together We Rise to accelerate our work of encouraging and supporting the lives of foster youth.
5. Become a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate): Being a CASA worker entails volunteering with foster homes and the court to ensure that children are continuously accounted for. It has been known that it is so easy for children to be lost in the system and as a CASA worker, you assure that their voices are heard and that they stay visible.
6. Become a Foster Parent: Many children in the foster care system are in need of a loving home to temporarily take care of them while their families work to get back on their feet to reunify with their children. If you feel as though you aren’t ready to adopt, but still are willing to provide a loving, stable, temporary home for a child, this stability might be for you. It’s healthier for children to live in family settings and agencies are always looking for more foster families.
7. Adopt: There are so many children in the foster care system that are looking for loving families and homes. Many children currently in foster care are no longer allowed to live with their families and are eligible for adoption. Through adoption, you have the opportunity to nurture and love a child who has only known temporary homes and bring goodness and light into their lives. To learn more about children in your area waiting to be adopted, contact either your local county or state Department of Children Services.
If you’ve made it this far you might be a great candidate to get involved to help children in foster care. Whatever you can do could go along way. Get involved in your local community today!
Written by: Jade de Perio