Family is important for every child’s growth and development. Unfortunately, close to half a million children in the US are currently in foster care. About 19,000 foster kids are in Arizona alone. Unfortunately, life for youth out of foster care is not as bright. Statistics reveal that only 4% of this number attend college. In general, finding foster families is as hard. There are only 4,500 licensed foster families in Arizona. Becoming a foster parent, or adopting a child, may not be your options, but you can help. Each one of us should. Here are ways to help & support children in foster care.
Work with local organizations
In Arizona, organizations like AFFCF work to plug in the gaps in state funding for foster parents. The state does offer a stipend for child care and covers for basic expenses, and everything else is supported by local organizations. You can choose to donate to these organizations to support these kids, and if cash donation is not your thing, you can even choose to donate in kind. Foster kids often do not have some of the basic necessities of life, and they need personal hygiene kits, clothes, stationery items, notebooks, and other basic gadgets. You can also choose to volunteer with some of these organizations.
Help foster parents
Foster parents and relatives who take care of these kids are often overwhelmed with the responsibilities, and you can help them too. A good idea would be offer respite care, which basically means giving a break to the primary caregiver. Depending on the arrangement and what’s allowed, you can also volunteer to share some of the day-to-day work with the foster parents.
Mentor a teen
We started off by saying how teens out of foster care don’t get a life they deserve. In fact, many have an unfair adult life. Try and mentor a teen, especially if you have the skills to guide them towards a better life. You can teach them skills, enroll them in a course, or simply offer your support.
Be there for everyone helping kids in foster care. Arizona residents have been very forthcoming in that context, and that’s a great thing. All we need is some community support. It is hard to believe that a child would be abused, neglected or ignored in his own parental home, but that is the hard truth. The best we can do is offer our help, money and support.