Ways to help
You don’t have to work in child welfare or be a parent to help children in foster care. There are lots of ways to put your valuable abilities to work for raising awareness and advocating on behalf of waiting children.
- Become a court-appointed special advocate (CASA)
- Mentor a child in foster care
- Offer free photography and videographer services to adoption agencies
- Become a respite care provider
- Fundraise or donate supplies to foster care organizations
As a court-appointed special advocate (CASA) volunteer, you’re empowered by the courts to advocate on behalf of a child in foster care. You don’t have to be a lawyer or social worker.
The work done by CASA volunteers involves gathering information from everyone in a child’s life, including parents, relatives, foster parents, teachers, medical professionals, attorneys, social workers, and others. This information will then be used to inform judges of what the child needs and what will be the best permanent home for them.
To be a CASA volunteer, you simply need to:
- Pass a background check
- Participate in a 30-hour pre-service training course
- Stay with a case until it’s closed (approximately 1.5 years on average)
The National CASA Association has more information on becoming a CASA volunteer.
Becoming a mentor or tutor for a child in foster care is a great way to make the difference of a lifetime for children in need of permanency. There are lots of different ways to mentor children of all ages.
- Help a teen in foster care succeed in college through Foster Care to Success.
- Volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters.
- Find mentoring opportunities in your area by using the National Foster Care and Adoption Directory to contact a local agency.
If you know of other ways to mentor youth in foster care, contact us.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, your photography and videography talents are a priceless gift that can go a long way toward helping children in foster care. Adoption agencies around the country are in need of high quality photos and videos of children that can be shared with prospective families.
Use the National Foster Care and Adoption Directory to find agencies where you live that could benefit from your services. You can also connect with the Heart Gallery of America program, which organizes expos and galas with framed portraits of children available for adoption.
Respite care workers provide parents and other caregivers with short-term child care services that offer temporary relief, improve family stability, and reduce the risk of abuse or neglect. Respite can be planned or offered during emergencies or times of crisis. Respite may be available to foster, kinship, adoptive, and birth families in need of support. Talk with your caseworker or use the National Foster Care and Adoption Directory to find local agencies in your state that can connect you with information on how to become a respite care provider where you live.
Many children in foster care have very little to call their own. Everything from back-to-school supplies, toys, and suitcases are needed by foster care organizations around the country. Whatever you can do will go a long way, whether it’s donating money or supplies directly to an organization in your area or organizing a fundraising or donation drive.
Use the National Foster Care and Adoption Directory to find a local agency to partner with to help children in foster care.
Have you ever considered adopting a teen?