Some people know that they are called to be foster parents, for a variety of reasons. Others aren’t so sure. Some people may think they are called to be foster parents, but not at their current stage of life. That’s okay. We believe that we’re not all called to do the same thing, but we are all capable of doing something. And there are plenty of ways to help foster children and foster families without becoming one.
Foster parenting can be tough work. There are endless appointments, people in and out of the home, and constant changing schedules. Studies have shown that over half of foster families quit within their first year of foster parenting. However, with a strong network of supports, the foster family is more likely to continue in their fostering journey. At Release, we want to ensure each foster family has people they can count on.
There are many practical ways you can support a foster family, depending your skills, interests and availability:
- Meals – Arrange to bring a meal to them once a month. This could be homemade or delivery. On busy nights filled with appointments, not having to worry about cooking is a huge relief!
- Errands – Pick up their groceries or supplies. If you’re already at the store, perhaps you could fulfill their list while you’re there, saving them an extra trip!
- Mentor – Be a support to children coming in to the home. Do you have a special skill or interest you can teach to a child? Could you help provide tutoring or homework assistance? Children benefit from the more positive adult relationships they have.
- Chores – Lend a hand around the house. Maybe you can offer your mowing skills or help out with laundry. If you’re handy, you could put together new bedroom furniture when a foster family is setting up their house.
- Babysitting – Give the foster parents a break. Parents can always use a little time to themselves, and foster parents are no different! Could you take the children for the evening or the night? Let the foster parents regroup and relax.
- Supplies – Purchase or coordinate donations. When foster parents get a new placement, they often need clothes, pillows, and hygiene items. Could you help gather these?
- Transportation – Help get the child to an appointment. Foster parents have to coordinate logistics of getting multiple kids to different places for appointments, classes and activities, often while balancing a work schedule. Perhaps you can help by picking up or dropping off a child.
You can do these things as an individual, as a family, as a small group or as a church. There are many ways to get involved and many ways to coordinate. There are opportunities for short term assistance, or long term support. If you’re interested in exploring these opportunities, we would love to talk to you.
No skill or ability is too small or too obscure. Everyone can do something!