8 Ways to be a Part of Your Foster Care Community

By Rachel Mar

May is National Foster Care Awareness Month! Even though it might seem like it, this is not just a month to highlight foster families.

This is a month to tell the world how we can all be a part of something bigger than ourselves. There was a quote that I recently read that says, “It doesn’t take a village. It takes a state.” Those words could not be more accurate.

Not everyone can be a foster parent, but every person can help in a very tangible and meaningful way with the gifts and means they already have.

1. Be a CASA(Court Appointed Special Advocate): A CASA is a volunteer position that you can attain after going through training classes with your county. Your job is to be a friend and advocate for the wants and needs of the children you’re assigned.

2. Respite care provider: A respite care provider is a licensed resource home that can be a temporary caretaker for kids in foster care to relieve their foster family for an extended amount of time. This may be to give their foster parents a break for a few days or if they are traveling out of town. This is also a great way to dip your toes into foster care. You might not be ready to take on a child long-term but being a respite care provider is a perfect first step.

3. Bring a meal, send a gift card, order Postmates, or drop off coffee: Being in a family that bounces between 5-10 people in the home has made me appreciate the luxury of a meal I don’t have to prepare beyond belief. Many foster families are exhausted by the end of the day, but doing a small service like this means the world to them.

4. Help run errands: Ask your local foster family or nearby friends if you can help them by grabbing groceries, picking up medication, or any other miscellaneous things they might need.

5. Offer to babysit: Getting burnt out is one of the top reasons individuals quit foster care. To be the best parent, these kids need you to take care of yourself. Getting a babysitter now and then is the perfect way to give resource parents the self-care they need.

6. Donate: Get in contact with your local foster care agency. They are always in need of school supplies, luggage, toiletries, clothes, and bedding. Also, ask your foster friends if there’s anything they need for their kids. Every time a family gets a new placement, shoot them a text and see how you can help them get settled.

7. Share: We are on social media right now. It is so easy to share this wealth of information with every friend or follower. Before we immersed ourselves in the foster care world, we had no idea how large of an issue this was, and once we learned about the 440,000 kids in care, we couldn’t ignore it anymore. Awareness leads to action, and it’s something you can help with right now.

8. Be a foster family: If this has been an idea that you and your family have thought about, reach out to me, and let’s have a conversation. Resource parents are one of the most significant needs our country has, and you have the opportunity to make a life-changing impact on the life of a child. Foster care has turned into the most remarkable journey of our life, and I can’t imagine ever going back.

If you think of any other ways individuals can best help kids in foster care and/or resource families, comment below!