With more children in foster care now than in years past, the foster care system is in need of your attention and, in many ways, change. While not everyone can be a foster parent, everyone can help a child in foster care in some unique way.
Want to make “fostering new beginnings” one of your new year’s resolutions? Great! We’ve got a few ideas to help you get started.
Become a Guardian Ad Litem Volunteer
There are a great many misconceptions and false beliefs about the foster care system. There are also not enough advocates for children in foster care. Perhaps the biggest impact one can make with those children placed in foster care is to become an advocate of change.
As a Guardian Ad Litem, you serve as their voice – to speak on their behalf in court. This gift of time and energy leads to one of the most rewarding experiences – to advocate for a foster child and help insure their well-being. https://guardianadlitem.org/get-involved/volunteer-gal/
Bring Awareness and Support Foster Care Education
Children in foster care face many challenges in the school system. Sadly, the majority are far behind in reading and math skills. Teachers and school administrators are not fully equipped to meet the needs of these children. More reform needs to be placed upon children in foster care while in school.
You can bring attention to these needs by contacting lawmakers and politicians via emails, letters, phone calls, and other means of communication. You can also get involved by tutoring a foster child.
Support an Aged-Out Foster Child
Each year, around 20,000 foster children age out of the system and attempt to begin life on their own. Of the 450,000 children in care in the United States each year, this is a large number and disturbing percentage. For many foster children, foster care is a temporary service before returning home to a parent, moving in with a biological family member, or even beginning a new life in an adopted home. Yet, for thousands who are not able to achieve reunification with family in their lives, leaving the foster care system when they age out can be not only a time of anxiety, but a time of tragedy.
You can help by mentoring a child, sponsoring a child for our Genesis Hopeful Haven Life Skills Summer Camp, allowing a foster child to intern at your business, sponsoring a child to travel outside of the state, inviting an aged-out youth to your home during the holidays or by financially supporting an organization like Genesis Hopeful Haven.
Become a Foster Family
With roughly half a million children in the foster care system (https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/systemwide/statistics/childwelfare-foster/) in the United States alone, the need is strong for good foster homes and foster parents.
By becoming a foster family, you can provide stability, safety, and hope for a child in foster care. You can give love to a child who may never have received it before. Not only will you change the life of a child, but your life will change as well. Contact OurKids of Miami Dade to register.
Be a Role Model for Change
The cycle of abuse and neglect is often a generational one. For many children in foster care, they come from a long cycle of family members placed in foster care before them.
You can be a part of breaking this cycle. Show them what a healthy, loving environment looks like. Spread the gift of giving. Whether it is by providing a cooked meal, helping out at Christmas time and birthdays, donating to a foster parent fund, or raising money for summer camps and field trips for foster children – there are a number of ways that anyone can help children in foster care where they live.
With the New Year, we have the opportunity to bring New Beginnings to the foster care system. We have the opportunity to bring healing to children who have very little. We have the opportunity to help children in crisis. Let us all make that a top resolution this year as we continue to build Genesis.