Some families may not be in a season of life where becoming a foster parent is an option. If that's the case for your family, there are still many ways to be involved and make a difference for our children in foster care! Here are a few ways you can help.:
1. Duffels for Kids – Right now, The District Church is teaming up with Duffels for Kids to collect duffel bags for children in foster care. Imagine you are a child that has just been told you are moving today and you have to pack all of your belongings in trash bags. The feelings of rejection and being thrown away are reinforced by having to use trash bags for your belongings, simply because you do not have any other form of luggage. While a duffel bag does not change the circumstances, it can give that child some dignity back by allowing them to carry their belongings in normal bags like any other child would.
2. Become a Mentor – All kids in foster care have more adults in their life than they can keep up with. From foster parents to case workers to therapists, there is always another adult making decisions for them that they may or may not have a relationship with. There are very few significant adults in a child's life that they can just talk to or hang out with. That’s where a mentor comes in. Children with healthy positive connections are more likely to rise above their circumstances and break the cycles of dysfunction. Do you remember a significant adult that made a positive impact on your life? Why not be that positive adult for a child in foster care?
3. Guardian Ad Litem – Volunteer Guardian Ad Litems (GALs) play a vital role in a child’s life through the court proceedings. A Guardian Ad Litem is a court-appointed child advocate and their primary goal is to ensure the best interest of the child is represented in front of the judge. They interact with the children, parents, and foster families to make recommendations to the court based on those observations. Training is involved with this program and speaking to the judge in open court is part of it. Don't be intimidated! Being in this role could make a huge difference in a child's life.
4. Respite Care – Like biological parents, foster parents just need a break some times. That’s when they look to a respite care home to provide short-term care for the child in their home. Whether the foster parents are getting away for the weekend or recovering from surgery, a respite home offers support the same way Grandma does. Caring for a child on a short-term basis could be just the right role for your family to be involved with the children in foster care!
So which role can your family play? Family Support Services is always in need of wonderful foster parents and adoptive parents, but if you are unable to become one of those right now, you can still make a difference and be involved. The children in our own city without families and positive connections need us! How can your family share the love of Jesus with these children?
“Every child is one caring adult away from being a success story.” –Josh Shipp