How you can help foster parents and children in foster care

June 4, 2020

During National Foster Care Month many people become more aware of the need for foster parents in our state, but they aren’t ready to make the commitment to fostering. Thankfully, there are a lot of ways to help young people and foster parents.

Become a respite care provider. 

Much in the way grandparents provide much needed time to breathe for parents and children, respite foster care providers offer foster parents and children in foster care a break from their daily lives and a chance to regroup and get away. Respite care providers receive the same training and certification that foster parents receive and are always in high demand. Many counties and child placement agencies offer respite training. Request information from a local county or agency at co4kids.org/learnmore

Support and encourage foster families by becoming a foster parent neighbor.

Foster Together is a non-profit organization that matches foster families with foster neighbors, volunteers who provide supportive encouragement and monthly meals to foster families in their community. Even under social distancing, they are continuing to recruit neighbors who will drop off food and groceries to foster families. They also have virtual neighbors who are providing support as well as grocery and meal donations to families from the comfort of their own homes. 

Learn more at www.fostertogether.co/apply.

Become a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA).

A CASA is a volunteer who is appointed by the court to make sure a child’s voice and best interests are represented in court. A CASA is assigned one case at a time and may visit anywhere from twice a month to once a week and often keep in close communication with GALs and caseworkers. Since social distancing began, CASA volunteers are creatively adapting by checking in with youth via video chat and phone and helping strengthen families by setting up food delivery and helping essential workers find child care. In addition to meeting with the children, CASAs also have access to case files, interview everyone involved in the case, and then present their findings in a written report for the court. CASAs frequently have lifelong bonds with the young people they serve offering support and guidance for youth as they are entering adulthood. Learn more at www.coloradocasa.org.

Support non-profit organizations that are providing support to foster families.

There are several Colorado nonprofits that offer support and training to foster parents. The Colorado State Foster Parent Association (CSFPA) provides education programs, support referrals and advocacy to foster, kinship and adoptive families throughout Colorado and accepts charitable donations. Learn more about CSFPA at www.csfpa.org

Foster Source was founded in 2016 by former Adams County foster parents Renee and Brian Bernhard to help foster parents foster better and foster longer. This organization offers continuing education, foster parent support groups, and helps foster families with needs and wishes. In addition to accepting financial donations, this organization also accepts donations of diapers, wipes and items on their Amazon wish list and gift cards in any denominations to distribute to foster families. Foster Source is currently offering all of its training and support groups online and is delivering prepared meals and supplies to foster families. Learn more at fostersource.org/.

Those who would like to donate clothing, suitcases and other items should contact their local department of human services to see if they are accepting donations.

Donate to children and families in need through CarePortal with your faith community.

CarePortal allows child welfare workers to uncover the needs of children and families they work with and request goods and services on their behalf. These real-time requests are then answered by faith-based organizations in the community who desire to help. CarePortal is active in El Paso, Teller, Mesa, Otero, Arapahoe and Fremont counties and will be expanding to Denver, Douglas and Weld Counties this summer. So far 7,650 young people in Colorado have been supported through CarePortal, and the organization is currently looking for an additional 25 churches to sign up to answer requests. Get involved by going to careportal.org/get-involved/

 

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