Foster care is an important part of the social welfare system in America. The foster care program provides children with positive, stable living environments when their own home environments prove unsafe or in need of improvement. Even if you are not a foster parent yourself, it is important to support the foster care system in your community. Let’s take a look at why this is so important.
Foster Care Facts
Currently, there are approximately 424,000 kids in foster care. Although foster families make a huge sacrifice to provide care and shelter for endangered young people, many of these young people find themselves homeless the day they transition out of care.
This is one of the many reasons it is important that communities provide stabilization for young people in foster care so that they can make a stable and safe transition from foster care to adult life.
The Importance of Stability
Stability is one of the deciding factors for a child’s success. Stability includes having a stable place to live, food stability, appropriate life skills for age, and a support system to provide the necessary information, training, and support to achieve basic adult accomplishments like finding a job, managing money, and finding independent housing.
How Can Communities Help?
It is important for communities to understand that foster families cannot do everything on their own. A foster family will provide a lot of what a child needs for day to day maintenance, but it is the businesses and community members that need to jump in to provide this outside of the home support that will create stable independent adults.
Possible types of support could include:
- Local businesses providing job placement for foster teens
- Community colleges and technical schools expanding enrollment options for kids who are graduating while in foster care
- Churches and civic organizations offering life skills classes like car maintenance, money management, child care, and home care.
- Local auto dealers providing special programs to get fostered teens safe transportation that they can afford
- Community health centers providing basic health care, contraception, and dental care for fostered or recently fostered young adults
- Transitional housing to provide a safe place to live after leaving the foster care system, with an intense focus on independent adult life skills
Community support of this kind could help foster care families better prepare fostered teens for their transition into adult life outside of foster care.
If you are wondering, “How can I support the foster care system?” think about the support mentioned above. Are you in a position to help provide or initiate any of these types of support in your community? Everyone can do something. How can you help?
One of the biggest ways you can support the foster care system is to become a foster family. Not everyone is able to contribute this way, but for those who can, the rewards are great. Foster care helps your community on so many levels, while also providing your family with a form of supplemental income as well.