There are thousands of children waiting in the foster care system for a loving family and a forever home. This distressing statistic has led many people to look for ways to help and support these children and the adults who work with them. What follows are some ideas for how you can support foster care children in your local area.
Become A Foster Parent
One of the most obvious but best ways you can support local children in foster care is to become a foster parent yourself. You do not have to own your own home to foster, but you do have to pass background checks, go through the training process and be at least 21 years old. Fostering allows you to directly support and influence the lives of children in the foster care system.
Adopt A Child From Foster Care
If you are interested in adopting a child, consider adopting from foster care. By adopting a child out of foster care, you relieve some of the pressure on foster parents and allow them to help more children in the foster system. Even if you already have biological children or are not married, you can adopt. Adoption from the foster care system is not even typically that expensive: in many cases, it costs nothing at all.
Volunteer For CASA
CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocate. It is a national organization of volunteers who help support and advocate on behalf of foster children in the legal system. As a volunteer, you get to know a child and their situation in order to advocate on behalf of the child’s best interests. There are nearly 950 CASA programs throughout the country, meaning there is almost certain to be one in your area. If you have questions, you can contact your local branch for more information.
Help Youth Transition Out Of Foster Care
Minors transition out of foster care when they turn eighteen years old. Local residents can help them through this process in a number of ways. The LifeSet Network, for example, is a resource for helping young adults who were formerly in foster care. It allows you to buy wanted items off a registry and offer advice or encouragement for young adults leaving the foster care system. You can also help create internships for foster youth at your company, which provides them work experience and references which make it easier for youth transitioning out of the foster care system to land a job.
If the plight of children in the foster care system concerns you, there are many things you can do to take action and get involved. Consider the methods outlined above to help give these kids the best opportunities in life. Your support will not soon be forgotten.