Although many don’t have the option to become foster parents, there are still plenty of ways to help a child in foster care without becoming one yourself. From donations to simply befriending a child, the world of foster care knows no age limit or restrictions.
A lot of people may think that if they are not able to become an official foster parent, there is no way they can make a difference for the children already placed in the system. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Foster children need as much support and love as possible; providing them, and their foster parents with valuable help will enrich their lives more than you can imagine.
How You Can Help a Child in Foster Care
When you help a child in foster care, it can be just as rewarding as becoming a foster parent yourself. You can help by donating your time, talents, or resources to these families. No matter who you are or what you can offer, there is always a way to help a child in need.
With over 70,000 children in foster care and rising, there is never enough support or help given. There are many different ways you can help, but these 8 suggestions will ensure that each one of your donations is put to good use.
#1 Become an Advocate
The most significant impact you can make on children in foster care nationwide is becoming an advocate for change. Do your research and lobby for change. Contacting politicians, lawmakers, and publicity agents through alternate means of communicating provides continued attention to the need to improve the foster care system for all children.
#2 Bringing Resources to School-Aged Foster Children
Raising foster children takes a lot of money and resources, and providing them with essential materials can significantly impact their lives. Unfortunately, many aged-out foster children can not afford schooling or supplies. Setting up a foster scholarship fund or the ability to donate supplies can drastically help those wishing to further their education. Supplies can be anything from paper, pencils, and calculators to bigger items such as backpacks, tablets, and laptops. In addition, bookstore gift cards can be beneficial for those in college needing textbooks.
#3 A Community Clothes Closet
It is a sad reality that many children are placed in foster care with nothing more than what they have on them at the time. There are many organisations in place that help clothe foster children, and taking part in these organisations can help many children across the country. You can donate clothes of your own, donate money, or give you time to volunteer. Often the financial help given cannot cover more than the essential needs, and providing foster children their very first brand new set of shoes for school or a new dress can drastically improve their lives.
#4 Help the Foster Parent
Helping foster parents is just as important as learning how to help a child in foster care. Fostering can be extremely difficult, and the smallest gesture can go a long way. A cooked meal, running errands, helping out at important events or donating to a foster parents fund are all great ways to lend your support. There is no doubt that foster parents would greatly appreciate your help while they navigate the difficult task. If you personally know a foster family, offering to babysit biological children while the parents bond with new foster placements or take them to appointments can be extremely helpful and lessen the strain.
#5 Mentor a Teen
Foster care children have likely experienced extremely different things such as abuse, neglect, or family trauma. Once they age out of the foster care system, they are at a higher risk of homelessness, unemployment, problems with the law, behavioural issues and lack of education. Mentoring a teen in foster care can give them valuable support and life skills needed to succeed in life. You can help them learn vital skills such as budgeting, goal setting, time management, and other necessary vocational skills. Providing another caring adult to a foster child will have an impact greater than you will know.
#6 Assemble Welcome Boxes to Help a Child In Foster Care
Children often get placed into a new foster situation very quickly. Assembling welcome boxes for foster children can provide them with comfort and take the stress off foster parents. Boxes can include essential items such as socks, underwear, and personal hygiene items, as well as welcoming items such as cosy blankets, stuffed animals or activity books. This simple action can help reduce anxiety for a child newly placed.
Volunteering your time is just as important as donating financially. Many foster organisations are always looking for more help. You can sign up for programs in tutoring children, helping fundraising events or even providing internship opportunities if you own a business. There is never a shortage of ways you can help give foster children the best shot at a successful life.
Donating to foster care organisations is an excellent way you can provide help. However, if you don’t wish to support in a hands-on way, monetary support is always needed and appreciated. Your donation can go to various support channels, such as those helping foster parents with school supplies and clothing to help fund Christmas presents.
There are many ways you can help out foster children without fostering. Your time and resources are always appreciated and can provide life-altering opportunities. Reach out to Apple Fostering today to find out how you can help.