Caring for Kids In Foster Care Is Responsibility We All Share
It’s impossible to understate the effect of a child of aging out of foster care alone, without a family to belong to…and on the adult they will become.
The lifelong adverse effects are wide-ranging and staggering to the individuals and their communities. Foster care is a “root cause” of many of society’s deepest social wounds.
Behind these worrisome outcomes are hurting, vulnerable kids, who as young adults find themselves in hard places through no fault of their own. Every one of these kids has a name, a story, hopes and dreams–most of which will remain unfulfilled if no one stands in the gap to provide a stable home environment and family.
The challenges of today’s foster care system ripple into the vitality of our communities as a whole. Every child who ages out of foster care without a family will incur an average of $300,000 in social services over his or her lifetime. And that’s just the tangible cost.
Why Kids Aging Out Of Foster Care With Families Is An Urgent Community Crisis
Age out of the U.S. foster
care system every year
Lifetime social-service cost
What Does It Take To Become A Foster Friendly Community?
The mayor’s office endorses the vision to seed a Foster Friendly Community typically by issuing a proclamation.
The community prioritizes retention of foster and kinship families by ensuring they are seen, honored and supported in practical ways. They also commit to recruit new families to ensure every child in foster care has a safe place to belong for as long as needed.
The goal is for 10% of a community’s retail businesses to join the Foster Friendly App with services and discounts that help families thrive, from food and family entertainment to self-care and memory-making experiences.
The goal is for 5% of faith communities to commit to be Foster Friendly by meeting 2 of our 3 best practices. Faith communities often WRAP around families with hands-on care and support.
Foster closets, counseling and other nonprofit services and resources promote their connection with foster families by joining the Foster Friendly App.
Why Families Need Foster Friendly Communities
My husband and I have five children currently in our home.
I got a text from a local DCS office asking us to take in a very large sibling set in the middle of the night. I couldn’t get the picture out of my head of these kids being separated. I just put myself in their shoes, and after that, I couldn’t say no.
So we said “Yes.” It was super late at night, We were unsure how in the world we were going to manage it.
We did a real life trust fall, hoping that our community would say YES right alongside us.
How A Foster Friendly Community Helps Foster Families Thrive
Here are a few examples from the family’s story (above).
Someone dropped off a 15-passenger van for them to use while caring for the sibling group.
A WRAP team organized, prepared and delivered meals.
Friends took the kids shopping, to the movies and to the park.
Neighbors showed up to help rock babies, clean bathrooms and mow the yard.
Foster Friendly communities involve local municipal leaders, businesses, faith communities and nonprofits saying yes to supporting their amazing friends and neighbors who provide kinship and foster care. Together a community’s support lightens the load for foster parents of caring for traumatized kids (on a moment’s notice) and makes it more likely that they’ll continue saying yes, knowing they’re not alone.