foster youth

One City. One Hope: Who is the Mother to the Motherless?

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On November 7th, we hosted a night that brought 15 churches and 100 people together to pray for and unite on behalf of the kids in DC’s foster care system and those at risk of entering.

That’s the meat and potatoes. But as we all know, the details never do it justice. For me, November 7th was a reflection of the heart of DC127. People from churches all of over the city came together because of their love for Christ and their commitment to the children of DC. And that’s kind of beautiful.DC127-0013

If you weren’t able to make it, we’ve uploaded the video of our main speaker, Robert Gelinas, below (and it’s posted here).

The whole thing was quite powerful, but there was one question in particular that Robert posed that struck me. He said that if we are the Bride of Christ, and if God is the Father to the fatherless, then who is the mother to the motherless?

I hadn’t thought of the church in this sense before. I’ve prayed over and over that as the Father to the fatherless, God would move in Washington, DC on behalf of the children without homes. I’ve prayed that as the Father to the fatherless, God speak to each child so they knew they weren’t alone. And I have prayed that the Church in DC would reflect this trait of Christ and take up the reputation of caring for the orphan that the Church has heDC127-0056ld since its founding, but understanding the Church as the mother to the motherless gave a name, role, and new light to our responsibility as Christ’s Bride, Body, and People.

Our goal is to see Washington, DC be a city where every child has a home and families get the support they need, but there are many ways we could do this without taking the time to create a network of churches. There are many wonderful initiatives in our city, but it would be a sin if the foster care wait list was reversed and the church wasn’t part of that success. Inherent to this vision of a city that cares for its children is the leadership of the church in DC ensuring the success of each child.

There are about fifty other points in Robert’s talk that made me stop and think, so I’ll just let you watch the video instead of parsing them all out here. The last point, for me, is if God is the father to the fatherless and if that does make us the mother to the motherless, then that truth eradicates any doubt that God is with us, strengthening us, and moving us forward.

-Chelsea, Director

P.S. If you want to see more photos from One City. One Hope, click here. And we’d like to thank Andrea and Renata for capturing the evening through pictures, and Nathan Cronk, Raphael Derungs, and InterMotion Media for recording the evening and creating the video below. And if you want to hear more from Robert, check out his new podcast.

One City. One Hope. – Robert Gelinas 3 from DC127 on Vimeo.

Foster care initiative to launch in New York

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Mark Morales, Children’s Ministry Director at Full Gospel Christian Center in Suffolk (Long Island), New York, is leading the newest 1.27. Mark and his wife, Linda are adoptive parents and recently received approval from Full Gospel for the launch. Today, we’re excited to talk with Mark about the initiative.

What inspired you to launch a foster care initiative in New York?
I have always had a heart for kids and have been involved in children’s ministry in some capacity for almost 20 years. My heart’s desire has always been to help children to reach their potential in God. In 2006 while living in Texas, [my wife, Linda, and I] went through the process to become foster parents and then, through divine intervention, we were chosen to adopt a 2-year-old boy who was in Texas Child Protective Services. He became our third and youngest child and has changed our lives. During that time I felt that, while it is incredible to adopt a child from another country, we can’t forget the children in our own backyard that need families. Eight years later I went on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic to build a house and minister to kids. I left there feeling that I did a wonderful thing, but again I wondered why I needed to go to another country to minster to children when so many kids in my city needed help. It was then that I started researching how we could help New York kids in distress. Through that research we founded Project 1.27 and I knew that we were called by God to start a ministry to reach the children of the Big Apple in foster care.

What will the launch entail?
Our launch is going to be November 2, Orphan Sunday. We plan to roll this out to our church family. Our pastor has sent letters to area pastors to let them know what we are doing. We hope to have a guest speaker that day, and we have partnered with a foster agency, an adoption agency, a mentoring ministry, and The Long Island Heart Gallery with the expectation that they will all be with us that day for our launch with tables set up in our lobby to answer any questions and to show their support of our ministry.

What ideas, if any, will you adopt from your predecessors, like CO’s Project 127?
We have adopted many ideas from Project 1.27. The very foundation of what I would like to see happen in my state at its core is the same as Project 1.27: “A Family for Every Child”. Our Mission Statement is similar: “To Inspire, Recruit and Support Churches and Families to Foster and Adopt Children in their own backyard.” Also like Project 1.27, we hope to have collaborative efforts with area churches.

What new ideas do you hope to implement with New York 1.27?
We will come alongside people who are already doing great things for kids, such as case workers and CASAs, and show our support through prayer and gifts of appreciation during Christmas time. They need to know that what they do for kids is incredible. We have also networked with some group homes in our area and will have the children from these homes come to our church events, such as Harvest party, Christmas party, and Easter celebrations.

How can we be praying for your team, specifically?
I know that this sounds cliché, but I feel we need prayer for wisdom, wisdom to know the steps we need to take and who we need to align with. We need prayer to have churches catch the vision. We also need prayer for funding.

Thanks, Mark! Please join DC127 in praying for this new sister initiative!

6 ways to help foster kids without becoming a foster parent

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We get it. Not everyone is in a place to be a foster parent right now. So what can you do to help kids in foster care? Quite a bit, actually. Adopt Us Kids offers several ways you can make a difference in the life of a foster kid—without committing to care for one full time:

  1. Train to be a court-appointed special advocate. We’ve written a few posts about this recently, and we’ll have more in coming weeks. You don’t have to be a lawyer or a social worker to speak up for a kid in foster care. You just have to be able to commit to seeing through a case, which typically takes one-and-a-half years. Advocating for a child involves gathering information from all the people in his life and presenting that information to a judge to help determine the best outcome for the child. To qualify, you have to go through training and a background check. Find out more here.
  2. Mentor a child. We talk about mentoring a lot here at DC127. That’s because it can have such an impact on the life of a child in foster care. As with a CASA, a mentor could be the only consistent adult in an itinerant teen’s life. Several programs offer opportunities to invest time in helping a child in foster care succeed. BEST Kids is one of many in the DC area alone. If you’re interested in getting connected as a mentor, send us an email at volunteer@dc127.org, and we’d be happy to help you find the right organization for you.
  3. Offer Your Photography Services. Do you take pride in capturing a telling expression on a face? Or taking fun, candid shots? Foster agencies need you! Often a parent’s first introduction to a child he or she might foster is a picture—and agencies need people to take those pictures! Use this database to find agencies that would benefit from your talents. Or contact the Heart Gallery of America Program, which uses framed photos in its expos and galleries to raise awareness about children waiting to be adopted.
  4. Become a Respite Provider. Foster parents need date nights, too! Do you love hanging out with kids and rue the fact that your nieces and nephews live so far away? Consider getting your kid fix by giving foster parents a break! You can provide temporary relief to a foster family by offering short-term child care. We would love to connect you to agencies and families in need of support- email us at volunteer@dc127.org.
  5. Donate supplies. It’s back-to-school time, and many foster kids won’t get anything new to start the year off right. Contact a local agency to find out how you can help make sure a child in foster care has some shiny new supplies.
  6. Sponsor a Foster Youth’s College Education.  Every year, tens of thousands of youth age out of foster care. They likely do not have family to help them transition to adulthood—or help with college expenses. Foster Care to Success ”connects the public to deserving college-bound foster youth” through a unique sponsorship program.

Book Review: Another Place at the Table

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Another Place at the Table
Kathy Harrison

Karen is a 7-month-old baby girl whose mother can’t kick her drug habit. Lucy is a sweet 8-year-old whose teen mom is too immature to care for her. Danny is a sullen 4-year-old boy whose special needs mom couldn’t care for herself, let alone him. Sara is a 6-year-old who has never known an adult who didn’t abuse her. Kathy and Bruce Harrison welcome all these children and many, many more come into their home, some for a night and some forever. But all are guaranteed a safe and loving home for the duration of their stay.

Kathy and Bruce didn’t set out to become foster parents. They took the training and became certified because it was required in order to adopt two sisters, one of whom Kathy fell in love with when she was a Head Start teacher. When the adoption was finalized, they felt that five children (three biological sons and the two adopted daughters) was enough. But social services kept calling. At first Kathy and Bruce said no. But the sad stories broke their hearts. Kathy knew she could offer what so many of these kids needed. So they started saying yes. And eventually, Kathy left her Head Start job and devoted herself full time to parenting children in foster care.

In this page-turner, Kathy describes in detail what foster parenting is like. She shares the stories of many of the children who have passed through her home, she reveals the inner workings of the foster care system, and she offers nuggets of wisdom learned through trial and error—and certainly not taught in foster care training. She also relates how her children have taught her many truths about the reality of foster care. For example, when Sara arrived on her doorstep, she learned children coming into foster care don’t always have a toothbrush. Or even underwear. And when 3-year-old Tyler is returned to a birth family that still needed so much help, she learned that often, to foster means “learning to be satisfied with giving Band-Aids to children and families who needed intensive care.”

“This book is not intended to shock, although it may do that,” Kathy writes. “It was not written to change public policy. I’m far too much of a realist to expect that. It is only the story of one family’s journey through the maze of a social service system and of the children who unwittingly led the way.”

Kathy pulls you so thoroughly into her world that you’ll find yourself clutching the cover of the book, anxious to learn the fate of her children. And when you turn the final page, you’ll  shake your head in gratitude that foster homes like hers exist to care for the children who so desperately need them. You may even be inspired to join their ranks.

If you’re interested in becoming a foster parent or supporting a foster family, email us: info@dc127.org. 

 

Foster care in the news

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This is a monthly roundup of news and blog posts about foster care and all things related. Come across an interesting article we missed? Email us: info@dc127.org

  1. Removed: a short film about foster care. (video) Originally created for the 168 Film Festival, ReMoved follows the emotional story through the eyes of a young girl taken from her home and placed into foster care.
  2. Every time foster kids move, they lose months of academic progress. When 12-year-old Jimmy Wayne’s parents dropped him off at a motel and drove away, he became the newest member of the North Carolina Foster Care system. Over the next two years in the foster care system, he attended 12 different schools.
  3. Jesus, the judge and the orphan. As lawyers, case workers and court clerks scurried around the court room, we sat waiting – ignorant of the process but eager to see it end. We assumed our role would be minimal, more as a silent presence than an active participant. We were wrong.
  4. San Diego resources available for college-bound teens aging out of foster care system. (video) About 6,500 foster children in San Diego County, and many of them spend years moving from home to home. Each year, 300 will leave the foster care system when they turn 18.
  5. California schools get billions to track, boost foster children’s performance. California is embarking on a first-of-its-kind attempt to improve the academic lives of foster youth by giving schools more money to meet their special learning and emotional needs and holding educators and administrators accountable.
  6. Program helps L.A. foster youth become high school grads. Unlike most of her classmates, Alicia Rodriguez’ birth parents and siblings weren’t there to see her walk across the stage. Instead, her foster mother and sister were in the crowd, along with Aguayo and Hernandez, the Los Angeles County social worker and tutor who had helped her make it to graduation.
  7. They would hide their purses. It’s as if you get a card. It comes with the garbage bag full of your clothes. It’s the result of being a part of something so abnormal that most people don’t know anything about it. It’s not a physical card or stamp on your forehead but it’s always there. It’s always front and center. You’re scary. You’re dangerous. There must be something off about you. After all, you’re a foster kid.
  8. Why you should be a foster family. 9-year-old Ema shares why you should open your home to children in the system.
  9. Fostering failure? A look at the US foster care system. (video) Ronan Farrow meets with three young adults, who have recently “aged out” of the foster care system, as part of larger investigative report on the frightening reality that our foster care system may be setting up hundreds of thousands of young Americans to fail.
  10. House passes adoption incentives package; Senate expected to act soon. The House passed by voice vote last night a bill that could usher in significant reform of the federal role in the adoption of youths in foster care.
  11. Foster care forum highlights barriers to effective programs. A bureaucratic debate over sentence construction is denying health care to young adults who were once in foster care, a round table on child welfare learned Monday.
  12. My journey in foster care: The second most devastating day of my young life. Foster care was never explained to me. At least in a way I could understand at the time. I didn’t know that foster care was a temporary home, and not a permanent one.
  13. A safety net. Who helps local foster children when they age out of the system? No home. No money. No one to show them the way. Standing at a crossroads, with their few belongings packed into a bag, not sure where to go or what to do, is the spot that many local foster children find themselves in when they turn 18 and “age out” of the foster care system.
  14. Want to make a difference? Try foster parenting. Let’s face it: We all fare better with a little stability in our lives. For children whose families are in the throes of crisis, foster families can provide that firm footing.
  15. Across borders, foster youth ask: What’s missing? Alumni of foster care in Seattle and Tokyo believe systems in each country could gain from the voices of young people.

Giving back by being a CASA

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When Ben Crouch retired, he decided he wanted to give back to his community. He found no shortage of options, but he narrowed the choices down by eliminating outlets that involved physical labor, like Habitat for Humanity. “I didn’t want to injure my hands—I’m a bluegrass guitar player!” he says with a chuckle. When he heard about the CASA program, he thought his background as a criminologist might lend itself to that role. He had taught related courses, had a PhD in sociology, and knew something about the function of courts in dealing with problems in society.

He went through the requisite 30 hours of training (and every year he completes a requisite 12 hours of training, as part of which he attends a victimization conference and other local offerings) and then waited to be matched. He initially thought he’d want to work with a young girl. Older children were a bit intimidating and he’d raised two girls, so he figured he knew a little something about them. However, when the agency called, they presented him with a case for a 15-year-old boy who’d been in the foster care system since he was 8 years old. The teen had been in three high schools in one calendar year and had been represented by several different social workers. It was a moment of decision for Ben. He was nervous about representing an older boy. But in the end, he reminded himself that he’d pursued this role because children need an advocate in court. So he agreed to take the case.

When he first began getting to know his charge (we’ll call him Jason), the teen lived in a residential facility because of behavior issues, and they corresponded regularly by snail mail. However, Ben successfully advocated for moving Jason from the residential facility to a foster home—and the responses to his letters stopped. So the teen is in a better place, but Ben doesn’t have nearly as much contact with him.

He does his best by him, though. He says he feels like an uncle toward Jason. He tries to see him once a month, taking him out to eat wherever he wants to go and trying to help the him think realistically. For example, when Jason talks about wanting to get an expensive car, Ben reminds him that pricey rides require good jobs. He talks to the young man’s foster father two or three times a month to check in and make suggestions for extra-curricular activities. And he regularly checks in with Jason’s teachers and counselors, to gather information that will go into the report he presents to the judge every six months, recommending what he feels is the best course of action.

Given his age, the teen will likely be in care until he ages out at 21. Older youth are notoriously hard to place for adoption. So Ben will work to keep him in a good foster home and encourage him to stay in school. He’s been the Jason’s CASA for two-and-half-years and estimates he’s invested 150 hours into the case so far. Despite the fact that permanency is unlikely for this youth, and therefore his case could last another six years, Ben is committed to staying the course with him. “I know the most about this child,” he says. “I hope he’s as prepared as possible to make a life, and a living.”

If you’re interested in being a CASA and making a change in a young person’s life, email us at info@DC127.org and we’ll make sure you get connected. Also, read our post about becoming a CASA.

Help a child in foster care: Become a CASA

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So you want to get involved with foster care, but you’re not in a place to provide a  home for a child in the system right now. And while your heart breaks for these kids and you want to do something for them, maybe you find the idea of mentoring a teenager—or even a first-grader—a little intimidating. There’s another option for you to have considerable impact on the life of a child in foster care: Become a court-appointed special advocate, or a CASA. These volunteers are appointed by a judge to present information in court on behalf of a child in foster care.

Nearly 40 years ago, a judge in Seattle decided he was unable to make well-informed decisions on behalf of the abused and neglected children in his courtroom with only the information he received from the state. He thought these children would be better served if a volunteer advocate was dedicated to each case. Each special advocate would be committed to gathering information about one child (or maybe several, but not the 25 to 40 that each social worker was responsible for) to present to the judge and speak in favor of that child’s best interests. Fifty people responded to his idea and the CASA program was born. Today, 73,000 volunteers in 933 programs in all 50 states and the District of Columbia represent 238,000 children.

CASAs come from all walks of life—no need for a legal background. You need never have set foot in a courtroom before or studied law. You must be 21 years old, undergo a background check, complete training, and have the time to appear in court. To Become a CASA, you must go through 30 hours of training, learning about your role associal issues affecting families, child development, and the court process. You will then be offered a case that you can review and take on, or turn down if you don’t feel it’s a good fit. Once matched, you get to know the child, speaking with teachers, counselors, lawyers, social workers, and foster parents, and of course the child himself. You compile as much information as possible and every six months, you present a report to the judge, alongside the other officials working on the child’s case, making recommendations about the best course of action for this child.

As a CASA, when you take on a case, you commit to staying with the child until the case is closed, working to achieve permanency in a stable, loving home if possible. The average case lasts about a year and a half, but some can be shorter, and some can be much longer. You can expect to invest 10 to 15 hours a month on a case. And you can choose whether you want to take on more than one case.

A CASA’s role is different than that of a social worker. Like a social worker, a CASA is working to achieve the best outcome for the child; however, the CASA is dedicated to just that child. In addition to juggling many more cases, a social worker is also concerned with the child’s birth family, helping all members to find solutions to the crises that necessitated foster care to begin with. A CASA is also different than a mentor. Like a mentor, a CASA develops a relationship with the child; but, the CASA’s primary role is to gather information about the child in order to present findings to a judge, to better assist that judge in making decisions in the child’s best interest, and monitoring case plans and court orders, to ensure they are being implemented. The CASA doesn’t go on social outings with the child and doesn’t have a part in the child’s day to day life.

CASAs are effective. According to a 2006 federal audit, children with CASAs are less likely to spend more than three years in foster care, saving taxpayers close to $50 million annually—and more importantly, finding permanency with a loving family faster. Judges have reported that they highly value the presence of a CASA, and in fact, often the information the social worker presents was received from the CASA.

Like a mentor, a CASA might be the only consistent adult in the life of a child in foster care. Children in the system bounce from foster home to foster home, attend many different schools, and can be shuffled among several social workers and lawyers. A CASA can provide stability and the assurance that at least one adult cares what happens.

If you’re interested in becoming a CASA, check out the website.

Tune in Monday to read about a CASA.

Mentoring: BEST Kids

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DC desperately needs foster families, but we understand that not everyone is in a position to foster or adopt right now. And while you might be interested in helping foster and adoptive families in other ways, many of you don’t know any foster or adoptive families, so it’s difficult to contribute to meal rotas or buy clothes.

But there’s one thing most everyone can do, and that’s become a mentor.

Today, we’re excited to tell you about BEST kids, a mentoring program in DC that, according to their brochure, “promotes better futures for youth in DC’s child welfare system by developing supporting one-on-one mentoring relationships between the youth and caring, consistent adults.” Sounds like most mentoring programs, right? But BEST kids is unique in a few ways. First, BEST kids believes in early intervention, so the program serves children as young as 6 years old. Think the idea of mentoring an adolescent is intimidating? Hanging out with a first grader wouldn’t be, right? Also, while many mentoring programs are site based, with mentors meeting with their mentees at a group site, BEST kids is community based. Sites for the larger monthly group gatherings change each month, and mentors are encouraged to decide with their mentees where to meet during their weekly get-togethers.

BEST kids is also unique in that it only works with children who are in foster care. At Foster the City, District Church Pastor Aaron Graham spoke about how important mentor relationships are for kids in foster care. Many of these kids are bouncing from foster home to foster home and enrolling in one school only to have to leave and enroll in another and then another, and sometimes they even change case workers. Aaron noted that a mentor might well be the only consistent adult in a child’s life during that child’s time in foster care. (Children in foster care spend a median of nearly three years in the system in DC.)

So consider becoming a mentor. It does require a time commitment—BEST kids mentors must be at least 21 and must be able to commit at least 10 hours a month for 15 months—but you’ll be making  a difference in the life of a child who desperately needs to know he’s not forgotten.

Waiting foster parents: Shed the expectations and consider kids from juvi

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Last month, we posted a few things foster parents waiting for their first placement should know. Here are a few more:

  1. Your child in foster care will need time to shed negative habits and adjust to your rules and expectations. Says Ami, a military foster parent, “I feel like it is easy to believe that the children who end up in your home can be “deprogrammed” in a short time, and then will live up to our expectations and meet our standards without difficulty. We adopted a boy at 16 and thought that, with love and kindness, he would be a thriving young man. We were very wrong. Love, to him, did not look like the love we wanted to give him. Responsibility, accountability, following and living by biblical standards—our son equated all this with mistreatment. He had lived on the streets of Memphis and did what he had to do to survive. His life involved   abuse and neglect, little supervision, and different standards when he was supervised. Drugs, sex, and gangs were all normal things for our son to take part in. Then he moves into our conservative home and we expect him to follow our rules and adapt to our way of living? That’s a fairy tale! Does this mean that we should not have adopted him? Of course not, but foster parents need to be aware that they will face real challenges that will require more than an extra dose of love. Today our son is 21, and he lives at home. He is a happy young man and we are so proud of him. I don’t regret one minute of having him in my life, but there have been many sleepless nights, many tears shed, and many days spent asking God what I was doing wrong.
  2. Kids that are coming from the juvenile justice system, while intimidating, can be the source of the greatest reward. Says Ami, “We love the older ones who have been in trouble. These kids are the ones that most people are “afraid” of, but if you get involved in the foster system because you want to make a difference in the lives of those who have been abused, abandoned, neglected, consider these kids. They look different, act different, and some are just downright mean, but for the most part this is where you will make an impact. Be prepared, be cautious, but be there. This is where the rubber meets the road, and you will possibly be the last stop for them before they’re emancipated. They need people who will not give up on them.”
  3. You will need a strong support system, specifically friends you feel comfortable asking to meet tangible needs. Says Sunita, who recently adopted a baby boy through foster care and whose story we shared last week, “Whether it is babysitting, bringing you a meal, or shopping for you, you will need extra help. Any time you bring a new child into your home, you have a lot of extra work, and there are many extra tasks that come with foster care that make a support system essential.
  4. The first few weeks are crazy! Says Sunita, “The nature of foster care is that you will have social workers in your home regularly, but the first few weeks are the most intense as the social workers have a lot of initial oversight responsibilities in getting a child settled. When you add doctors appointments, counseling, physical therapy, getting a child registered for WIC [government support for women, infants, and children], etc, it is overwhelming. But it gets better!

And a few web pages with great advice: My advice to foster parents, Foster care 101: Tips for successful foster parents, 6 foster care skills you need to know before being a foster parent, My tips for new foster parents

Foster care in the news

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This is a monthly roundup of news and blog posts about foster care and all things related. Come across an interesting article we missed? Email us: info@dc127.org

  1. Siblings in care should be kept together. Almost two-thirds of looked-after children with siblings also in the care system are separated from them.
  2. What it takes to be a foster parent. (video) Being a foster parent is a serious commitment. It’s something Isaac and Alisha Guadalupe know well. To date, they have fostered 11 babies.
  3. Shane’s story of aging out. (video) Shane tells his story with honesty and candor, reflecting on his experience as a foster child and the profound impact it has had on his life.
  4. Bennett Chapel–Saving Children. (video) Pastor William C. Martin and his wife Donna, of Bennett Chapel Baptist Church in Possum Trot, Texas, began by adopting several hard-to-place children from the foster care system. The Martins adopted more children, and members of their congregation followed their example.
  5. For years a father figure to many at-risk kids, Russ Sullivan now hopes to adopt 3 boys. Over the years, Russ Sullivan has been a guardian to nearly two dozen teenage boys. He is now taking on the task of raising three young boys whose mother died.
  6. Wanted (and needed): Home sweet home, at any age. As CCAI continues to celebrate National Foster Care Month and highlight the stories of older youth in foster care awaiting adoptive families, they are honored to share the story of one adoption professional who also bears the title of adoptive mom: Susan Stockham.
  7. Child welfare agencies offer targeted care to troubled kids. It used to happen dozens of times each year. A deeply troubled child would rage uncontrollably, and staff members would ride out the storm with holds and restraints.
  8. From hardship to hope. “Foster care is not fun for anyone,” says 24-year-old law student Amy Peters, who entered Nebraska’s foster care system at age 12 and remained until she “aged out” at 19.
  9. Three things you should know about foster parenting. We all know that the orphan crisis is a worldwide issue, but did you know that it is impacting children in your own community? The United States foster care system cares for thousands of children every year and as a result, the need for safe, loving, and supportive foster families is greater than ever. If you are considering the possibility of engaging this need through becoming a foster parent, here are a few things to consider:
  10. Famous foster children. Here is a sampling of people who were fostered or raised by someone other than their birth parents and grew up to be successful and famous.
  11. Giving boys a bigger emotional tool box. Is America’s dominant “man up” ethos a hypermasculine cultural construct, a tenet rooted in biological gender difference or something in between? Educator Ashanti Branch doesn’t much care or, more accurately, doesn’t have time to care. He’s too busy trying to make a difference in boys’ lives.
  12. 8 phrases foster and adopted children need to hear. Abandonment, rejection, hopelessness and helplessness are profound voices in the minds of children who’ve suffered trauma and loss. These are the echoes in their minds that form their identity. During the very critical years when a child should feel the most protected, loved and nurtured these children experience overwhelming loss and upheaval. Instability breeds uncertainty which develops into deep-seated anxiety and fear.
  13. Six things I’ve learned about adoption. While I certainly can’t give ‘advice’ as (or to) an adoptive mother, perhaps a few things I’ve learned can help others whose lives have been changed, blessed, and enriched in some way through adoption – or those who aren’t quite sure how to respond to a friend or family member who has chosen to adopt.
  14. Soup kitchens and word of mouth have brought Sharon Lockwood 37 godchildren. Her godchildren aren’t part of a formal mentoring program. They didn’t come to her through a church or a government mentoring group or a grant. But somehow, in a soup kitchen or because a friend of a friend introduced them, Lockwood forged deep relationships with more than three dozen kids, many of whom grew up in D.C. public housing.

  15. Orange is the new Black’s trailblazing portrayal of foster care. From “The Blind Side” to “White Oleander,” foster care has been grossly oversimplified in TV and movies, until now.
  16. HUD report explores options for youth aging out of foster care. Even though we’re all legally adults in this country at age 18, most Americans experience a longer transition into “practical adulthood” and economic independence. And for most of us that transition is supported, often financially, by our families. Many youth aging out of foster care, however, have no family support to rely on. For them, the transition to adulthood just happens overnight when they exit the foster care system, whether they’re ready or not.
  17. Monroe Martin: Finding the funny in foster care. Comedian Monroe Martin doesn’t shy away from any subject, which includes his childhood spent in foster care. Instead of dwelling on his past, however, Martin uses it, like everything else in his life, as material for his work.
  18. Donated cars put SC foster youth on the road to independence. Frazier is one of more than 70 foster youths in South Carolina who have received a free vehicle in the past four years through the On the Road Again program.
  19. Kids who age out of foster care need ongoing support, study says. Ivery Castilloux, 23, says he might have ended up living on the streets, or worse, had he not had support from Aunt Leah’s Link program that helps young people from foster homes land on their feet after they’ve ‘aged out’ of government care.
  20. Program helps L.A. foster youth become high school grads. Unlike most of her classmates, Alicia Rodriguez’ birth parents and siblings weren’t there to see her walk across the stage. Instead, her foster mother and sister were in the crowd, along with Aguayo and Hernandez, the Los Angeles County social worker and tutor who had helped her make it to graduation.
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