Children enter foster care for many different reasons, and when they do, Good Shepherd Children & Family Services is there to support both the child and the family who welcomes them.
We also rely on dedicated volunteers to want to make a positive difference in the life of a foster child without making the ultimate commitment of becoming a foster parent. Here are some ways you can help:
Volunteer to be a Respite Caregiver:
Good Shepherd connects volunteers with foster care families through our Fostering Faithful Families program. Foster parents need a break sometimes to rest and reset just like birth or adoptive parents do. You could volunteer to babysit while they do their shopping, be there as they take a needed break from responsibility and do something fun that doesn’t center on children or make a meal for a foster family and deliver it to them. Respite care also provides children in foster care with healthy connections to adults outside their foster family.
Mentor a Teen:
Not everyone in foster care is under the age of 9. Teens who age out of the foster care system are at higher risk for homelessness and are more likely to drop out of school and/or experience problems with law enforcement. You can help change these statistics by volunteering to support and encourage an older teen as they leave foster care and move into life as a young adult. Teens who have mentors are 55% less likely to skip school, 46% less likely to use illegal drugs, 27% less likely to start drinking. They are 81% more likely to get involved in sports and other activities during high school and 130% more likely to hold leadership positions. [source: MENTOR National]
Assemble Welcome Boxes:
Sometimes when a child enters foster care, he or she moves to the foster family’s home with nothing but the clothes on their back. On top of the anxiety of meeting a strange new family, they may have left their favorite toys or comfort animals behind. You could help by creating a welcome box with items like pajamas, a cozy blanket, stuffed animals, underwear, personal hygiene items, and coloring books and crayons.
Foster care agencies and families welcoming new foster children can always make good use of donations like personal hygiene items, school supplies, clothing, and toys. There is also a need for something to put it all in, such as a suitcase, backpack, or duffle bag.
Be an Advocate:
Learn about foster care, including the process that’s involved and the challenges foster children face, and then spread the word to your circle of friends, your church group, even your social media friend group. You can be that Facebook friend who always inspires others with an interesting tidbit about foster care! If you need information, be sure to follow Good Shepherd on Facebook and Instagram.
Raise Funds or Make a Donation:
If you have a great fundraising idea or just want to make a donation to support our Foster Care team, please reach out to our Chief Development Officer Walker Hill at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are so many ways to get involved and be a supportive friend to foster families and children. If you are interested, please contact us at email@example.com.