Written by Washington Foster Team
We understand many families don’t commit to becoming foster parents because it’s scary. Sometimes, it’s the fear of not knowing what to do or how to act. Other times, it’s just a fear of the unknown. As someone considering foster care, it’s easy to think too much about what the child will be like, whether they’ll like you, and whether you’ll be able to give them the care and love they need and deserve.
Questions like these are only natural. It’s true; fostering is hard. But you’re never alone. A wealth of resources are available to support foster parents at every step in their journey.
We’ve compiled a short list of just a few of these resources, but know that there are many more. When you foster a child, you’re joining a community of people dedicated to making it work. Because when it does, lives change for the better.
“Treehouse provides academic and other essential support for more than 7,000 youth in foster care across Washington State each year.” — Treehouse
One of the biggest challenges for children in foster care is education. When youth have unstable homes or are forced to change schools and homes frequently, staying focused on their studies becomes nearly impossible. The result is tragic. According to Treehouse, less than 50% of kids in foster care graduate high school.
Treehouse is changing that. By providing everything from academic services to basic school supplies, they’re helping to close the achievement gap between foster youth and their classmates, a gap they intend to close for good by 2022. Treehouse helps children in school get services they need to let their education thrive.
2) Wishing Well
When caring for a child, foster parents are reimbursed for expenses they incur as a result of that care, including basic items like clothing. But sometimes, foster families don’t have the funds necessary to proactively buy those items. That’s where The Wishing Well Foundation steps in.
The Wishing Well Foundation provides “clothing, supplies, and experiences unavailable to most foster kids.” Based out of Pierce County, they help bridge financial gaps that would prevent incredible families from offering foster care.
Not only do they have clothes but they also offer essentials, including everything from furniture to diapers. Plus, their grants provide for experiences that children in foster care may not have had the opportunity to participate in, like after-school sports and summer camps.
3) Fostering Family
Led by non-profit foster care agency, Amara, Fostering Family connects other non-profit organizations and businesses to causes that support foster families in Washington.
The initiative has worked with groups including Target, Woodland Park Zoo, and Treehouse to host fundraising events, organize work parties, and lead clothing drives that directly help children and their foster parents and biological parents.
Through its work, Fostering Family aims to improve the daily lives of those in foster care, support reunification, and break down stigmas associated with foster care to encourage more families to become foster parents.
4) Agency Support Groups
Nearly every Washington State foster care agency has a special support group dedicated to families working within that agency. When you become a foster parent, your agency support system is the best source for finding answers to the most common logistical questions parents have.
Your support group can help with licensing, walk you through placement, guide you through reunification, and even assist you with setting up respite care.
Learn more about the support you’ll receive as you take your first step toward becoming a foster parent by checking out our free resource: Is Foster Parenting Right For You?