Feeling Strange in the Neighborhood?
Why I Care About Foster Care & Adoption
YOU SHOULD TOO!
With the COVID Pandemic changing everything about how we go about our lives these days: kids in lock-down not able to physically attend school or see their friends. Life in the neighborhood is indeed strange — and strained. Many parents have to adjust their lives by working from home alongside their kids who are attending virtual schools.
Imagine doing this permanently?
There are nearly half a million kids who have to do it WITHOUT PARENTS…..Children placed in Foster Care!
Many children in foster care have been ripped from their homes due to neglect, abuse or abandonment. They are sent to different families, schools and even to other cities. They have to cope with these changes without knowing if it will ever end. They are facing these situations all alone. Many don’t even get to take their own clothes, toys or anything personal with them when they change homes!
Remember when all the COVID-19 chaos and family drama started for you? That’s how many of us Children from Foster Care have felt daily while other people around us lived “normal” lives. When my five siblings and I were placed in foster homes we were devastated that we were all split up. We were fortunate that we had clothes and a few personal items because we were sent to an orphanage first. The changes in schools, friends, and loss of family on top of being placed in a strange new environment caused us a lot of stress. The major change in your schedules and ways of doing things during the Pandemic are minor compared to being uprooted as children and placed in the foster care experience — sometimes multiple times.
At one point two of my sisters were being set up for adoption. My heart sank at the news. I felt a great sense of panic, fear and helplessness. Would I ever see them again? Could this happen to me? How would we celebrate all the holidays without them? Luckily, our dad was able to rescue all six of us and brought us back home. But, most foster kids are not that lucky.
Here’s the Problem.
According to iFoster.org:
On any given day there are nearly 438,000 children and youth in foster care
Nearly 110,000 are waiting to be adopted, waiting year after year for their forever home.
For children in foster care, the government invests less than 50% of what it actually costs to raise a child
Close to 30,000 will age out of foster care every year and have to be self-sufficient at age 18, 19, 20 or 21
It is not surprising then that within four years of aging out:
· 70% will be on government assistance
· 50% will be unemployed
· 50% will experience homelessness
· 25% will not have completed high school
· Less than 12% will every earn their college degree
Resulting in $1 Million economic burden to society for each young person we fail
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You may be asking yourself, “What can somebody like me do about this? How can I help these kids?” I’m glad you asked!
You might want to become a Foster Parent or Child Advocate yourself, if so, reach out to the Foster Care Institute to learn more about the requirements and processes.
If you cannot become a Foster Parent, there are many other ways you can help some of these kids in your own local community.
To help from a distance you can:
· Take some unused clothes, school supplies or other items to a local Foster Care Closet or other resource drop-off site.
· Call your local Child and Family Services office and ask them how you can help.
· Encourage your own teens reach out to Tudor or Mentor/friend some local kids in Foster Care.
· You can bring meals to Foster families that might be struggling with finances or schedules.
· You can become a Respite Parent and take in some fostered kids for short visits to free up some time for Foster Parents to take a break. Find out more at How Respite Care Works or Boardofchildcare.org/services/treatment-foster-care/respite-care/
By taking some time to help others less fortunate right in your own community, you are not only setting a good example for your immediate family, you may help your own teen have a larger sense of purpose, and most of all you will help the helpless children who are victims of circumstances beyond their control. You will be doing to others what you would surely want someone to do for YOU! I am grateful that strangers reached out to help us when we were in the system. They practiced the Golden Rule and we had a better life because of it. How about you? Are you a Golden Ruler? Reach out and help someone today.
Danny Vann, FCs
Foster Care Survivor
& Life-Hack Specialist
313 356 6740
For He shall give His angels charge
over you, to keep you in all your ways.
Psalm 91:11 and Psalm 119
“A story of hope and resilience…
the discovery of a cherished life”