This Saturday we finished up our final training class. Next on our to do list is CPR/First Aid certification (which we have scheduled for this Saturday). Then we wait for a call from our adoption worker to schedule a home study. After the home study we will be fully certified and ready to go.
We have been told that as soon as we are certified we should be ready for a call. There are so many kids in the system that we could be certified and have our first placement in the same day.
The agency we are using has received over a thousand calls this month. Each call represents a child. A child who has been taken out of his/her home and has no where to go. The system is overloaded with kids. There aren't enough homes.
I don't know about you but the thought of the kids without homes keeps me up at night. If only there was something we could all do.
I've done the research, I've heard how hard this is. I know being a foster parent isn't for everyone. So say that you have thought about it (please think about it) and decided it's not for you. Not for your family. What can you do to help this huge number of children?
1. Be a respite home. Get licensed and be a home a child could be placed while they are looking for a more long term family. It is emergency foster care. You may have a child for 24 hours to 30days.
2. Volunteer at a children's home. Many children's homes are entirely understaffed with little help from the community. Go to your local group home, if your community has one, and see what you can do. It may be something as simple as reading or playing games with the kids.
3. Hire an older Foster child. It is so common for kids who come into the system at an older age to "aged out of the system". They are on their own and aren't prepared to survive alone. Make a conscious effort to hire teen foster kids and get them on the right path for survival alone. Keep in mind that it is estimated that 20-40% of todays homeless people were once foster children.
4. Donate. Whether this means donating items to a foster mom or group home or donating to agencies. Use the resources you have to give to the kids who do not.
5. Ask. If you don't know what you can do, call a state worker or foster agency and find out what they could use your help in doing. There is a great need for homes, support and loving people just like you.