Wednesday, May 16, 2012

foster care awareness month

I was complaining explaining about some of the frustrations of working with DCS with a friend today.  Much of the frustration -regarding confused scheduling, unreturned emails and phone calls, failure to keep us in the loop- is due to overloaded caseworkers. (and the same can be said for the state court system.)
My friend mentioned that going through a private foster care and/or adoption agency (and there are plenty here in Nashville to choose from) rather than the state system would surely be a better experience.  Better customer service, per say.

I say sure, the privately contracted agencies could possibly be better organized with a better case load and more one on one attention for us and our situations.  But these kids?  The ones in the state system?  They would still be in the state system being shuffled around by overwhelmed state workers, being cared for by often under-appreciated, under-supported resource families.  IF there are enough families to go around in the first place (which there are never). 
This baby would still be here, even if we weren't.  And someone else would be dealing with this crap.  Or they wouldn't, and there would be one more kid without a place to go.
Why not us?

I've been meaning to post about this, but May = crazy in our house, so here we are already halfway through the month.  But I wanted to highlight that May is Foster Care Awareness month.
There are between 400,000 and 700,000 kids in foster care in our country in any given year.
And nowhere near enough families willing to give them a good place to stay and be safe and be loved.
I know not everyone can or wants to be a physical resource family to these kids, but there are countless other ways you can help.  Here are just a handful...
  • Becoming a CASA advocate.  As a CASA advocate you are assigned to kids in the system and help to advocate for them in the court system.  GREAT program.
  • Becoming a respite provider in order to give foster parents needed breaks.  To be a licensed respite provider you take the same classes as a foster parent, but kids only come to stay with you for a few days at a time, maybe an overnight, maybe for a weekend.  In some states you can babysit for foster parents simply by having a background check done.  To learn more, contact your local state agency.
  • Donating clothes, bikes, stuffed animals, hygiene supplies, school supplies, books or new toys to your local fostering agency.
  • Being a Birthday Buddy!  Lots of times birthdays of kids in the foster care system get overlooked... and sometimes they've never known what it's like to be celebrated on their birthday at all.
  • Adopt!
  • Tutoring a child, or sponsoring a child through Big Brothers/Big Sisters of America.  Your local agencies probably have specific programs or opportunities as well.
There are so many ways to help these kids!  What’s your gift?


Anonymous said...

I agree with you but would also like to say that the state DCS workers are also under-appeciated and under-supported.

heather said...

Oh, I 100% agree... the workers are very under-appreciated and under-supported, which is kind of what I meant by overloaded; emotionally and physically. And often burnt out.
I do not fault them for my frustrations at all... it is what it is and they are, for the most part, doing all they can.

K.M.L said...

Thanks for sharing this info!!!

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