Foster care

Getting Involved to Help Kids in Foster Care Here on the Suncoast

Foster care is an ever-growing problem in our country, impacting so many children. Here in Sarasota, Manatee, and Desoto counties alone, over 1400 children and climbing are in need of foster care services. Licensed foster parenting may not be something that you can do, but getting involved in other ways to better the lives of those in this system of care is possible.

Whether planning fundraisers such as 5K, clothing drives, or maybe just making a simple meal for a family fostering children can make an impact. Those called to help give their time, resources, and sometimes their home are touched in ways that maybe not be immediately evident but, over time, help make a difference in the lives of children for the long-term.

Foster Care – Facts and Why You Matter

  • There are more than 35,000 children in foster care in Florida today.
  • Sixty-six percent are under the age of 10, spending their critical early development years in an institutionalized setting.
  • Many children remain in foster care for three years or more.
  • Due to foster home shortages, children can be placed in up to 20 foster homes, until a permanent place for them is found. Many go to a different home each night, carrying their belongings in a garbage bag.
  • Siblings are often separated from one another indefinitely. The foster home shortage plays a large role in this unfortunate fact.

These can be staggering facts, but there is hope, and it starts with each of us doing something. The problem is so big that many people become overwhelmed and feel that their contribution won’t matter – it does! No matter if you attend an event to raise funds, help spread the word in your community, volunteer at an agency that supports kids in foster care or give a donation to an organization that speaks to your heart – it all matters.

We have all heard the saying, “it takes a village to raise a child,” and this is more true for those in foster care than most. They don’t have the benefit of parents to love, shelter, feed, mentor, and just spend time with them. Generational poverty, violence, and other negative outcomes will continue unless a village steps up to change that. This means there are many ways to get involved, from food, clothing, skills mentoring, special occasions, and a million other things every child needs. We encourage you to take a look at all the places below and see if these or other agencies out there don’t need that maybe you can fill today.

Places to Get Involved

Careportal – Whether you simply want to keep one child out of foster care, help one family in crisis stay together or rally your community, CarePortal connects you. This allows you to sign up and help tangibly with real needs from transportation, car seats, meal delivery, mentoring, or other means of support.

Bridge A Life – We understand the daily joys and struggles of parenting. Sometimes the number of needs and stress can be overwhelming. So, whether it’s providing meals, practical training, or safe and professional childcare for a night out, we support and equip foster and adoptive parents as they impact the lives of their children.

Fostering Hope Florida – The foster care system will never change if we don’t leave the sidelines and get in the game. We know that you can’t take all vulnerable children into your home, but we all can do something. Please join our team is working towards a day when EVERY foster child has a safe place to heal from trauma.

Heart Gallery of Sarasota – The Heart Gallery of Sarasota is working to change children’s lives by giving a voice to our community’s forgotten children through photographs taken by local photographers.

Safe Children Coalition – To protect children, strengthen families and build community by allowing all children to grow up in safe, stable, nurturing families and communities.

The Twig – We believe that the statistics for the average child in foster care are not okay. We want them to believe in themselves and their future. Our work is to empower these children with confidence so they can face their tomorrows with strength. Children that thrive in foster care grow to become adults that want to make the world a better place. So, by investing in them today, we are making a brighter tomorrow for everyone.

November is National Adoption Month, and we hope that every child that does not have a home is someday able to find one – whether through reunification with their biological family or an adoptive family. Fostering of children bridges the gap between unsafe conditions so many find themselves in and a brighter future. We hope that all that are called find ways to help this vital need in our communities. Thank you Suncoast for all you do to help every citizen here in our part of the world!

Photo courtesy of Deposit Photos

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