Foster care affects hundreds of thousands of children and families. According to www.fostercaremonth.org child welfare issues arise in families of every race, ethnicity, culture, and age group. Children and youth are placed in foster care when their parents or guardians are no longer able to ensure their essential well being. These young people need stable, loving care until they can either safely reunite with their families or establish other lifelong relationships with a nurturing adult.
You don’t have to be a foster parent to help young people in foster care. There are many different ways to get involved and make a lasting difference in the life of a child, no matter how much time you have to give.
If you have a few minutes….
- Make a financial contribution to support the personal enrichment or education of a young person in foster care.
- Send a “Shout Out of Encouragement” to a foster youth or foster care alumni.
- Send a care package to a foster care alumni attending college.
Wear a Blue Ribbon during May in support of National Foster Care Month. Attend a local ribbon-tying ceremony to advocate on behalf of the children in foster care in your state.
If you have a few hours….
- Volunteer to help a foster care program in your state. Your contribution to these agencies will mean brighter and safer tomorrows for children and youth in your state and across America.
- Recognize a person or organization helping foster youth in your community. Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper in praise of someone making a difference in the life of a child in foster care.
- Make presentations to your faith-based congregation, civic group, PTA, and other neighborhood associations. Encourage your community to come together to find families and resources that help young people in foster care thrive.
- Become a virtual mentor for a young person in college. Expand the circle of support for a youth in foster care as an e-mail/online pen pal.
If you have a few weeks….
- Tutor a child. Because they must change schools frequently (or sometimes have social/behavioral challenges to overcome), youth in foster care may benefit greatly from extra academic support. Contact local foster care agencies, Boys and Girls Clubs, YMCAs and YWCAs to ask about how to become a volunteer tutor.
- Encourage business leaders in your community to support young people in foster care. Ask your company to distribute this Change a Lifetime menu of ways to get involved to educate and involve employees and customers. Collaborate with the National Foster Care Month Partners and local child welfare agencies to develop cause-marketing promotions for the month of May and throughout the year.
- Learn how to help a youth in foster care explore career options, acquire new job skills, and find employment or a résumé-building internship. Contact the Independent Living Program in your area.
If you have more time….
- Become a foster or adoptive parent. Caring families are especially needed for older youth, siblings and children with special needs. On Saturday, May 22nd, at 11:00 a.m., Bethanna, a non-profit social services organization will be holding a Foster Care and Adoption recruiting day at the New Covenant Church of Philadelphia. Bethanna is sponsoring this outdoor event to raise awareness about children waiting for foster care and adoption and to recruit prospective families. There will be free food, face painting, and children’s games.
- Mentor a young person. Research shows that children and youth with mentors earn higher grades and improve their relationships with friends and families.
- Stay informed year-round. Be a change agent. Become a member of the National Foster Care Coalition and join leading child welfare agencies and individuals across the country in improving the lives of youth in foster care.
For more information on how you can become involved download the entire Change a Lifetime menu from www.fostercaremonth.org in PDF format.