Foster Care Month: How You Can Help!

In our final post regarding May as Foster Care Awareness Month, we continue with excerpts from the website FosterCareMonth.org.

“No matter who you are or how much time you have to give, you can help create permanent, lifelong connections for these children and youth and Change a Lifetime.

IF YOU HAVE A FEW MINUTES…

  • Wear a blue ribbon during May in support of National Foster Care Month. Attend a local ribbon-tying ceremony to advocate on behalf of children in foster care in your state.
  • Spread the word by featuring the National Foster Care Month logo and website link on your personal and/or organizational websites.
  • Make a financial contribution to support the personal enrichment or education of a young person in foster care.
  • Learn the facts about foster care and gain a better understanding of the needs of those touched by the issue.
  • Learn more about achieving well-being for children and youth in care.
  • Listen to digital stories shared by former youth in foster care, social workers, child welfare supervisors, parents, family partners, advocates, judges and CASA workers to learn about the experiences and perspectives of those impacted by foster care.
  • Send a “Shout-Out of Encouragement” to a youth in foster care or alumnus of foster care.
  • Be inspired to make a difference by reading more about former children in foster care from all walks of life who are enjoying positive, accomplished adult lives, thanks to the relationships they shared with caring, committed adults.

IF YOU HAVE A FEW HOURS…

  • Child welfare supervisors can sharpen their leadership skills by applying to participate in an online leadership academy for supervisors.
  • Volunteer with a local foster care program to provide academic enrichment opportunities for young people in your community.
  • Recognize a person or organization supporting foster youth in your community by writing 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.
  • Help young people in foster care (and their caregivers) develop and improve their financial literacy and money management skills.
  • Join a youth-led effort to raise funds and public awareness in your community to benefit children in foster care and to fight child abuse and neglect.
  • Raise awareness through presentations to your faith-based congregation, civic group, PTA or other neighborhood associations. Encourage your community to come together to identify families and resources that help young people in foster care thrive.
  • Send a care package to an alumnus of foster care who is attending college or donate goods such as suitcases, books, games, computers, sports equipment, musical instruments, clothing and school supplies to young people in foster care.

IF YOU HAVE A FEW WEEKS…

  • Become a respite care provider to support foster families in your community.
  • Tutor a child in foster care. Too often, they must change schools (or have social/behavioral challenges to overcome), and would 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.
  • Help young people in foster care become leaders by organizing a youth leadership or support group.
  • Collaborate with National Foster Care Month partners and local child welfare agencies to develop marketing promotions for the month of May and throughout the year.
  • Encourage business leaders in your community to support young people in foster care. Ask your company to distribute the Change a Lifetime menu of ways to get involved for hang a Change a Lifetime campaign poster in your place of business to educate and involve employees and customers. The brochure and poster are available for order in limited quantities or download.
  • Help youth in foster care gain employment skills or find a job by contacting the Independent Living Program in your area or visit any of the websites below:

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.
  • Mentor a young person. Research shows that children and youth with mentors earn higher grades and improve their relationships with friends and families.
  • Make a Permanency Pact. Supportive relationships with caring adults make all the difference in the world, especially for older youth leaving the foster care system.
  • Become a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA). CASA volunteers are trained citizens appointed by judges to represent the best interests of abused and neglected children.
  • Dedicate yourself to a career that helps children and families. Become a professional social worker.
  • Stay informed year-round. Become a member of the National Foster Care Coalition and join leading child welfare agencies and individuals to improve the lives of youth in foster care.”
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