“I could never do what you do,” or “I’d love to foster, but I could never give the kids back,” are two of the most often phrases heard by foster parents. While not everyone is qualified to be a foster parent, there are numerous other ways you may help these children and the family who care for them.
Become a CASA volunteer
CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) volunteers can make a big difference in the lives of children in foster care. They often are the only voice in court that speaks out for the children.
Become an approved respite provider or babysitter
Background checks, fingerprinting, and training are all required, and it can be difficult to find someone who is willing to go through all of this. If you know a foster family, chat about how you might help them as a babysitter or respite provider. If you don’t know anyone who fosters, get in touch with a local foster care organization or ministry to see if there is a family you can help.
Donate new or good condition used items
Too often, children arrive with few or no worldly belongings, and what they do have is packed in garbage bags. Pick up an additional duffel bag and a cuddly animal for a youngster in foster care the next time you’re out shopping. If you have a spare room in your house, you might take it a step further and dedicate it to storing donated products for families to choose from.
Provide a meal
When a baby is born, relatives and friends come together to feed the family while the new mother recovers and the family adjusts to the new addition. While a foster mother is not physically recovering from childbirth, the circumstance is quite similar. When new children come, they may or may not sleep through the night, or dislike the food served to them, or dislike the new school they must attend. These kids aren’t babies, but they have a lot of needs, and that takes some getting used to. Meals could be a lifesaver. Take a meal at least once a week or once a month.
Become a foster family’s prayer warrior
Make a regular commitment to pray for a foster family. While maintaining confidentially may necessitate being nonspecific with requests, find out crucial dates or situations that may warrant prayer. Fostering can be difficult for anyone. Children are adjusting to a new home and are unsure of what the future holds. Children who are already in the home, both biological and adoptive, may have trouble embracing the new child or sharing their home and family. Foster parents’ marriages may be put under strain as they learn to parent a child from a difficult background who has many needs. Regularly call, text, or email to see how you can pray.
Donate school supplies
There is always a push for donated school supplies for underprivileged youngsters and low-income schools when August arrives. When children are placed in foster care in the middle of November or the end of April, they must still attend school and may not have brought any resources with them. Offer to fill a backpack with school supplies for that child.
Consider being a foster parent
Not everyone is qualified to be a foster parent, but if you find yourself drawn to foster families and children, it’s possible that God is calling you to do more than just provide support. Prayerfully consider whether this is something your family could accomplish together. Yes, goodbyes are hard, behaviors are difficult, hugs aren’t always forthcoming, and rewards aren’t always obvious, but these children deserve loving homes who are willing to put their own needs aside and do what is best for these hurting children and families.
Kids First exists to help connect foster kids and families to love and support them in the Dallas and Fort Worth, TX area. Please contact us today and start the conversation. However you support kids in foster care, Kids First can help.