Foster care is an integral way for individuals and families to provide love, support, and security for children in their community. Today, more than 125,000 children in the U.S. have had parental rights terminated and are in need of the permanency of a family. There are also countless individuals and families who have committed their hearts and resources to being foster care parents. Most likely, someone in your own community is a foster care parent! Here are are five practical ways to help support foster families:
Prayer is a vital component to supporting families impacted by foster care. A great way to do this is by checking in with the family regularly and praying specifically for the needs they share with you. Place prayer reminders on your refrigerator, mirror, in the car, or wherever you look most often. Invite others to pray with you also!
As any parent knows, a new addition to the family involves some specific gear. See if you have car seats, toys, or clothes to lend to a family in need. Many times, a child can be quickly placed with a family as he or she awaits adoption or reunification with his or her family by birth. Regardless, the family that is fostering may need some extra help gathering the appropriate supplies to care for these children. See what you have or what you can gather for these families.
ORGANIZE PLAY DATES
Check with the family first, but there are many opportunities to show up and be supportive. If you have children around the same ages, consider arranging playdates! This gives the children time to play and also allows the parents an opportunity to connect.
PROVIDE RESPITE CARE
If the option is available in your state, look into the process of becoming a respite care provider for foster care families in your community. This will give parents an opportunity to rest and recharge.
BRING A MEAL
As with all busy families, finding time to cook and clean can be difficult. Check with a foster care family to find out what they like to eat, when they typically eat dinner, and bring them something that they can enjoy together! This frees up the family for quality time with one another.
To learn more about the complexities and challenges facing families impacted by foster care and adoption, we encourage you to check out Show Hope’s Hope for the Journey Conference, and also consider sharing this opportunity with your community!