For those of you who would love to become a foster or adoptive parent but don't have the room, time or resources to go through the process, please consider some of the following options.
Children in the system can use your help in other ways then becomeing a parent to them. Check out these ideas from About.com. I picked six things from the list that I will do in 2010!
Drive! Many agencies need people to drive foster 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.
Walk! Through a new walking event, Walk Me Home, teams can raise funds that will directly benefit local agencies that work with foster children and the families that serve them.
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.
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 a children's home or foster care agency. 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.
There are many ways to help children in foster care. Call your local foster care agencies or children's home and see what needs you can fulfill.
Until next time...