After watching HBO’s new documentary called ‘Foster,’ you might suddenly have the feeling to run out and become a foster parent. You might feel extremely overwhelmed and think that there’s nothing you could possibly do. Or you might fall somewhere in between.
At different points throughout the documentary, I felt it all.
But you don’t have to become a foster parent or social worker to help (of course, those ready and inspired to be foster parents — please do!!).
Here are 5 ways to help children in foster care (without being a foster parent):
1. Subscribe to a news organization that promotes coverage of foster care
As a journalist, I’m 100% biased on this one (but I’m not wrong). There are some amazing organizations out there working to cover child welfare and keep people accountable.
Where to subscribe?
- The Chronicle of Social Change
- Rise Magazine
- Los Angeles Times
- Check out your local papers (The Kansas City Star has been doing amazing work)
If you can’t subscribe, at least read their stories. That means actually click on them.
2. Donate your old baby and kids stuff
Imagine getting a call that a newborn baby needs a home. Suddenly, you’re required to find/buy a car seat, crib, clothes and more.
Instead of selling your crib or designer diaper bag after your children are grown, consider helping someone else. Find out if there’s a local organization near you that you can donate your gently used items for foster parents in this situation.
3. Donate money to a foster care nonprofit in your area.
There are a number of people across the country looking to do good in their communities. I guarantee that each one of them needs help.
If you’re in a financial situation that you can donate money, this is an extremely easy and fast way to help out those involved in child welfare.
Need an idea of where to go? Check out All Our Kids* in Western Massachusetts. They provide services and help foster parents in their area so they can be the best they can be for the kids.
*That was a completely shameless plug for an organization I’ve volunteered for and am on the board for.
4. Volunteer your time with local nonprofits
When I first moved to Massachusetts, I had a lot of extra free time but not a ton of money. I thought the best way to give back to my community was through volunteering.
I randomly found an organization called Sibling Connections/Camp to Belong. It changed my life.
Check to see if Camp to Belong is in your area. If not, broaden your search for local child welfare nonprofits that fit you.
Know a family with foster children? Babysitting biological or adopted children can be a huge help.
Children in foster care have court dates, therapy visits, meetings with social workers and visits with bio parents. It can be a lot of driving around for other children in the family and exhausting for foster parents.
Ask the foster parent in your life what they need — and do what you can.
How did the HBO’s ‘Foster’ documentary inspire you? Tell your story in the comments below!