You may think that the only way to help children in the foster care system is to become a foster parent or to adopt them. While these are certainly worthy acts of helpfulness and kindness, they are not the only things you can do to help these children in need. Perhaps you don’t have the resources to foster or adopt, or maybe you have a soft spot for these children, but that doesn’t quite extend to becoming a parent, whether permanent or temporary. For those who have a desire in their heart to help these children, there are actually a few simple but hugely effective ways to help children currently in the foster care system.
Helping someone else is never done in vain, and even the smallest actions can make the biggest change. Whether you choose a more hands-on approach to helping foster care kids, or something with a bit more distance, but just as much love, there are ways to help these children that can truly impact their lives.The following are five simple ways you can help children in the foster care system that will positively impact them throughout their lives.
Offer Respite Care
If you don’t feel you are able to foster or adopt a foster child, you can provide respite care. This entails being cleared by the state, acquiring a foster care license, and offering yourself as an extra pair of hands when a foster family is overwhelmed and in need of some help. It can be as simple as babysitting when a foster family is in a crunch, or acting as an emergency foster care parent. Respite care is like being a trustworthy backup parent, sibling, or friend for a foster child when an emergency arises, or their foster parents need some time. This could mean going over to a neighbor’s house to look after their foster child, or hosting the child in your home for a while. In the case of doing emergency foster care, you could host a child for as little as a few hours to 30 days.
There are various volunteer opportunities when it comes to working with kids in foster care. Whether you choose to work directly with the foster care agency either as a receptionist, office assistant, or as a worker at events and fundraisers. You can also work directly with the kids as a mentor but volunteering in foster care can be done in many ways. You may also tutor foster children, read to them, teach them basic living skills such as how to drive, or simply spend time with them playing and getting to know them. This is one of the simplest ways you can help a foster care child, but it usually has the largest impact.
Become a Driver
Many foster care agencies need drivers to get children to various appointments. Whether these are doctor’s appointments, visits with their birth family, dentist appointments, or even school functions so offering a ride can be a huge help. It is important to note that some trips may cover very long distances, meaning this helpful opportunity may require a bit more time and resources. If you feel you can handle it, call your local agencies and see if they provide this aid option near you.
Become a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate)
A CASA worker is someone who volunteers with the court and foster homes to ensure that children are always accounted for. It is incredibly easy for children to get lost in the system, and these children are often those who end up living the hardest, most unfortunate lives. As a CASA worker, you will help keep these children visible and heard in the system, ensuring that their needs are met and they are never forgotten.
Provide Honest Work
For some older foster children, nothing could be more helpful than an opportunity for work. If you are in position to offer a foster child an honest job or internship opportunity, doing so may make a major difference in the child’s life. Unfortunately, kids in the foster care system often have a hard time finding work due to the stigma attached to their situation. By reaching out to these kids and giving them a chance, you can get them work experience, which can only result in a positive domino effect.
As you can see, helping foster care children go far beyond opening your home. Your time, resources, and kindness are enough to care for these children in a simple yet effective way.