Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Desperate Need For Foster Parents

According to the most recent Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) estimates as of July 2015, there are 415, 129 children in foster care. Forty-six percent of these children are placed with foster families. Others are placed with relatives, in group homes, in institutions, or are trialing home placement. Therefore, ~190, 959 children in the United States needed a foster home in 2014. This equals out to a need for at least 38,191 needed foster homes. This does not include relative care.

When there is such a huge need for foster homes, kids often have to move away from their communities and be separated from their siblings. In addition, kids may have to move foster homes several times until a long term placement is found. This causes more trauma for a child, who has already endured more than people endure in a lifetime.

These children endure neglect, physical abuse, emotional abuse and/or sexual abuse, are ripped out of their homes, and sometimes due to the lack of support are also ripped away from their siblings and out of their communities. We cannot make their parent's decision for them, but we can prevent additional trauma caused by a system that is supposed to keep them SAFE.

How can you help?

1.) Pray for these children. Pray for peace. Pray for strength. Pray for understanding. Most of all, pray that these children are placed in homes that provide them the love and care that they were designed to provide.

2.) Support foster families the weeks following a new placement.  Make a warm meal. Offer to do a load of laundry. Anything is helpful when the whirlwind of a new placement is full force with daily appointments, shopping trips, and sleepless nights filled with night terrors.

3.) Donate any clothes, shoes, or blankets that you are not currently using to a foster parent you know or if you want to find a program that serves foster children do a google search for somewhere in your neighborhood. Hygiene products, such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, brushes, and deodorant are also helpful.  This has been a huge blessing throughout our journey.

4.) Offer to babysit. Foster parents need a break every now and then. Having a generous list of people who have been approved by completing a background check is very helpful when babysitters are needed.

5.) Become a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate). Spend quality time with a child and become their voice in court. For more information you may visit http://www.casaforchildren.org/site/c.mtJSJ7MPIsE/b.5301295/k.BE9A/Home.htm

6.) Become a respite care provider. If you are not able to make a full time commitment to fostering, but still want to help, respite care is for you. It's temporary care consisting of a couple of days to a few weeks. The following link shares a little bit more info about respite care: http://familyrespite.org/respite-provider. Call your local DCS office for further information about becoming respite care provider in your county.

7.) BECOME A LICENSED FOSTER CARE PARENT! Be the caregivers for these sweet children until their relatives or parents can care for them in a healthier environment or until an adoptive placement is found. I can assure you that it will be the hardest, but most rewarding experience of your life. Please call your local DCS office for more information.

8.) Adopt a child through the Special Needs Adoption Program (SNAP). There are several definitions of special needs in foster care, which include being a member of a sibling group and being over the age of 2. Therefore, most adoptions through foster care are "special needs" adoptions. For more information please visit the following link: http://www.adoptuskids.org/for-families/state-adoption-and-foster-care-information/indiana.

Please consider helping in at least one way to ensure that children who have been through trauma are being cared for. Whether you are supporting a family who has been called to foster or you have been called yourself, you will make a huge difference. Matthew 25: 14 "And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me." 

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