Have you considered becoming a foster family and decided that it really is not for you or your family at this time. Yet, you still want to help kids in care. Here are 9 ways to do just that.
- Go ahead and get your foster care license and provide respite care to other foster families or do emergency foster care. Emergency care can mean having a foster child in your home for a short period of time. An emergency placement can last anywhere from 24 hours to 30 days.
- Drive! Many agencies need people to drive children to various appointments. Appointments could be visits with birth family, medical or dental visits, or to a new foster home. Some trips may entail long distances. Call your local agencies and see if this is a need in your area.
- Become a Court-Appointed Special Advocate/CASA worker. CASA workers are volunteers that work with the court and the foster homes to see that the children are not lost in the system and that their needs and wants are heard.
- Become a Big Brother or Sister. Spend 3-4 hours a week with a child and make a difference. Have fun! Teach them a new hobby or learn about theirs. Not every child in the Big Brother Big Sister organization is a foster child, but many are. Help make a difference by taking time for a child. Find out more at the Big Brother/Big Sister Web site.
- Provide a job and give a chance to learn and grow. Many youth in the foster care system have a difficult time finding work due to the stigma of being a "foster kid". You could help by reaching out to these young people and providing them with their first work experience.
- Volunteer at a children's home. Children's homes are usually one of the first stops on the foster care journey for many kids, or it could be a stop in-between foster homes. Children's homes are often looking for volunteers to do many different duties. Some may include wrapping Christmas/Birthday gifts, sorting through donations, reading to the children, or even playing games. Find out what your local children's home's needs are and see what you can do to help.
- Donate items to children's homes or foster care agencies. Many need school supplies, shoes, clothes, or even toys. Suitcases or bags of any kind are often needed. Did you know that many children go from home to home with their belongings in trash bags? Make sure you donate items that are in good repair. If you wouldn't let your own child wear it, don't send it on to agencies or homes. Some places prefer new items so call ahead.
- Capitol One offers a scholarship program for children in foster care or who have aged out of the foster care system. The scholarships will help foster children get into colleges, universities or trade schools. For more information on how to give to this program visit Capital One's Fostering a Future Web site.
- Buy a necklace! Yep, it can be that easy to help out a foster child. Net proceeds from the sale of the Tangled Heart Necklace supports the Tangled Hearts Scholarship for children from the foster care system. The fund is administered by the Orphan Foundation of America (OFA).
Information for this list was provided by the about.com website