What Can Be Done to Help Children in Foster Care?
Close to 56,000 children are in the foster care system in California, a number that has unfortunately remained relatively steady since 2011. In the greater Bay Area, between two and seven of every 1,000 children are in foster care.
The fate of these children affects us all. Compared to their peers, foster youth are more likely to be incarcerated, homeless and unemployed, among other concerns.
But, there are ways to help children currently in the foster care system! Here are a few options for you to consider.
1) Become a Resource Parent
One of the best things you can do to help the more than 425,000 children in the foster system nationwide is to sign up to become a Resource Parent (official name for foster parents) yourself. This path is not easy, but it is enormously rewarding. Plus, we here at AFS are available to provide help. Be sure to check out a wide variety of resources before determining if becoming a Resource Parent is the right next step for you.
There is no right or wrong way to become a Resource Parent. Some families will take in children for just a few months until reunification can occur, while others decide to eventually adopt a child they initially were fostering. Government agencies and dedicated foster family nonprofits will also provide assistance if needed.
Loving and stable foster families can go a long way towards ensuring that youth in the foster care system succeed later in life. Plus, many children and foster parents have positive things to say about their fostering experience. Close to 75 percent say the parent-child relationship is “very warm and close,” and 95 percent of foster parents said they would do it all over again.
2) Donate to Worthwhile Organizations
If taking a child into your home is not right for you or your living situation at the moment, then know that you can still go a long way towards supporting youth in your community. Many great organizations are hard at work helping children and families in need, and are always in need of monetary help.
Even if you aren’t able to donate a lot of money, a little bit can go a long way towards helping a child. Here is just a small sample of what a donation can provide:
- $10 gives a child a new notebook plus pens and pencils for the school year.
- $13 provides a child with a brand new book.
- $25 can ensure a child has a clean, new school uniform.
- $30 provides a foster youth with a new backpack for all their school supplies.
- $50 gives a child a new pair of shoes.
- $100 can go a long way towards defraying the costs for haircuts, hygiene and first aid/medical supplies, to keep a child clean and tidy.
- $200 can help cover the costs of a week of child care at an accredited center.
- $250 can go a long way towards providing a family of four with basic groceries for the week.
3) Donate Your Time
Even if all you have is a few hours, that can make a big difference in the life of a foster child. Schools, youth job training centers, after-school programs and foster care organizations all have active volunteering opportunities. An hour reading with a child or phone banking for a foster agency is always time well spent.
There are lots of ways to help foster children in your community today, including opening your home to a child in need or donating time or money. To learn more about what you can do, be sure to reach out and get involved today.