The need for foster parents is great. Foster parents play a critical role for children, families, and agencies. Their primary task is to temporarily care for a child until the child’s permanence goal is achieved. Foster parents change lives – both the children’s and their own. Learn more about becoming a licensed foster parent here.
1. Become a Foster Parent
Foster Parenting is a hard, beautiful and worthwhile calling but not everyone is called to be a foster parent. You can still play an essential role in the lives of these children and families by being a necessary support.
While we are all not called to do the same thing, we are all certainly called to do something. Here are some simple ways the faith community can serve foster families:
2. Deliver Care Packages
Most children enter foster care on an emergency basis, which means they often arrive to their foster homes with little notice. There isn’t always time to run out for diapers and other baby supplies, or hygiene and wellness items for kids and teens. Dropping these and other necessities off for a family immediately after they receive a child can be a life-saver! It allows the foster family to put all their energy and focus on the child.
3. Build a Respite Care Team
To effectively work with children who have been impacted by trauma, caregivers must take time for themselves and find balance. Respite care provides temporary care for children in foster care so their foster families can take a break from the daily routine of caregiving. Unlike childcare, respite services may involve overnight care.
4. Create a Mentoring Ministry
Both foster and birth parents need support. Foster parents live in a unique world, full of state regulations, birth-parent visits, and licensing guidelines – not to mention the emotions that come along with loving vulnerable children. Birth parents also have a very challenging journey and can become overwhelmed by being separated from their child and healing from their own personal issues. They may need help getting to visits with their child and meeting the demands of court conditions. Give them a place to connect, share experiences and encourage one another.
5. Provide Hands-On Help
Anything to relieve the burden of routine tasks from a foster family can be a huge help. For example, organize a team of people who rotate in creating a meal calendar or even providing lawn care for a foster family upon placement of a child.
6. Nurture Self-care, Self-expression and Self-confidence
Find people in your community who are hairdressers, barbers or makeup artists willing to donate their services to make a youth in foster care feel special.
7. Celebrate Special Occasions
Special occasions are very important to children. It means the world to them when someone remembers them on special occasions. Throw parties for foster children or donate toys and supplies for those celebrating the holidays and special occasions such as birthdays, adoptions and graduations.
8. Support Teens Transitioning to Adulthood
Most teenagers in foster care are placed in group homes or have bounced around to many foster homes. When they turn 18, there are very few services available to them. There are a number of ways to support former foster youth. Learn more here.
9. Spread the Need
Spread the word about the need for foster care. Tell someone how they can be a blessing to a child in need. By helping a child, we are fulfilling our call to care for those most vulnerable.
Pray for the children entering foster care today, that they find a kind and loving foster family to care for them until their birth families or relatives are able to do so.
Pray that more singles, couples and families become foster parents. Pray that foster and adoptive families and their children receive the support and understanding of their communities.
Pray for healing and reunification for birth parents and biological family members.
Let’s Walk Side by Side
Although SaintA is no longer a faith-based organization, communities of faith and SaintA are both organized around the missions of healing, hope, and family preservation. Some of you will be called to bring children into your home and some of you will be called to serve and support those who foster. Either way, together, SaintA and the faith community can partner to carry the weight of brokenness and the hope of redemption in our hearts and actions for these children and families.