Baby showers, meal trains, gift cards to pamper moms-to-be and new moms: those are the ways we celebrate families welcoming a new baby, right? For foster families, this type of support doesn’t typically exist. Though friends and family might be excited about a family becoming licensed to be foster parents or taking a new placement, there are specific ways that communities can rally around a foster family to support them.
- Bring a meal. Organize a “meal train” of homemade meals or freezer meals to make dinnertime a little easier for the family. Consider giving gift cards for a family dinner out, or gift cards to fast food spots (bonus if they have a play area to keep the kiddos occupied!). Even a care package of kid friendly snacks can go a long way. Taking one worry away from the family can make it easier to transition to having another child in their home.
- Offer to babysit. Depending on your state’s respite requirements, friends and family may need to become certified to babysit. In the state of Missouri, babysitters do not need to go through respite training. Offer to watch the kids for a date night, or just an afternoon for errands. If a foster parent isn’t comfortable leaving, offer to just come over and entertain the kids while they take care of household duties or relax.
- Celebrate with them! Support a changing family in the way you would with the birth of a baby. A small gift for the child or family, as well as hand me downs or clothing gift cards are always appreciated. Remember that this is a big deal for the foster family – their family dynamic is changing and there is room to celebrate even though the situation may be painful or difficult.
Are there any ways that you would support a foster family with a new placement?