May is National Foster Care Month and it’s not too late to make a difference. While becoming a foster parent isn’t for everyone, there are endless ways to support foster kids, their [biological] families, foster parents and all of those underpaid and overworked child welfare professionals.
The first step is to find a foster child or foster parent to share your time, resources or skills with. This can be the biggest obstacle! Most foster care systems don’t have a volunteer coordinator- they are too swamped with emergencies and have limited funds. These days, even the non-profits focused on supporting children in foster care may not have staff available to field your interests and help match you to a child. Instead, I recommend connecting directly with foster parents. They can be your liaison to a foster agency and are in tune with the rules and true opportunities to be useful. Look for foster parents in your town via Twitter, Facebook, blogs and at foster parent support groups (Just show up to one, I’m serious, they’ll LOVE you for it).
Here are real people who have contributed to the quality of my foster children’s lives: