7 Ways to Help Children in Foster Care (During the Coronavirus Crisis)
March 2020 · Coronavirus
Provide respite as you’re able. As overwhelmed as the rest of us are, foster families must also ensure the health and security of foster children in their care. Drop off a home-cooked meal, shop for groceries, volunteer to play with the kids in the back yard or to take them for a walk around the neighborhood. Give them a break.
Kinship and foster homes care for multiple children at a time, and all those children are out of school and spending lots of time together inside the house. Consider donating gift cards, art and craft supplies, board games, bottled water, and snacks. You could also put together a “care package” with basic needs. Or make a financial gift to community providers like Saint Francis Ministries or through CarePortal, who need your support to meet the needs of foster families and children.
Do you speak a foreign language, play a musical instrument, practice a special hobby? How about sharing your knowledge, skill, and experience online by scheduling video lessons? Virtually engaging a child with creative or educational activities will help alleviate both boredom and stress.
Organize a community drive for household items, connect foster families with local resources, and help distribute goods and supplies to those who need them most. Support a local nonprofit by sharing their media posts and requests for donations. Help the child welfare community keep the needs of children, birth families, foster families, and social workers front and center.
Follow child welfare advocacy organizations like Saint Francis Ministries on social media and support their advocacy requests. Call your Senators and Representatives. Contact your state legislators. Ask for ongoing support for child welfare funding.
Explore becoming a foster parent. Child placement agencies are shifting as much training and information online as possible. Consider becoming a respite foster care provider, which will help foster parents who are under quarantine and need a break.
Check in often. Text and call. Mail a card. Foster parents, social workers, and children all need extra support, care, and compassion during this time. Just one text that says, “You’re not alone” can mean the world to someone dealing with anxiety and stress. Then, stay in contact. Be available, and don’t wait for them to ask for help. Be proactive. They may be too overwhelmed to even think of asking for assistance.
Support building communities of hope. Look out for each other. Together, we can emerge from this crisis wiser, kinder, better. Find more resources for support at saintfrancisministries.org.