Create a Foster Care Community in Your Area

Welcome! If you are reading this you want to improve the lives of children and families involved in foster care. Thank you for that! A Foster Care Community is one that works together to reduce the stigma associated with foster care and unite as a community to help children and youth maintain their dignity during their time in care.

So, how can we work together as a community to provide normalcy for any child or youth living with someone other than his or her parents? There are many ways to make a positive impact on young lives. One of the easiest and most impactful is to exercise a little mercy and compassion when a child acts out in a way that is unacceptable for the current situation or circumstance.  When telling their “story,” every adult we’ve spoken with who spent any length of time in foster care has mentioned some sort of negative behavior on their part as being what began the downward spiral for them. Whether this negative behavior was as simple as a verbal outburst or perhaps something more serious, such as fighting or destroying a toy or something similar, without exception, each one cites this “behavior event” and the reaction of the adults around them as precipitating a succession of “behavior events” that led them deeper and deeper into despair over their situation and feeling less and less normal among their peers. In almost every instance, they use the word “mad” to describe their feelings at the time of the outburst. In each instance, there were consequences, of course, ranging from some sort of reprimand at school to being moved to a new foster home.

What if, as a community, when we encounter unacceptable behavior, we recognize the need for positive impact in the child’s life and then take the time and make the effort to contribute positively to that child. There are many ways to contribute. Let’s seek to understand what lies behind the behavior and then realize that kindness, empathy, and encouragement will all go a long way toward making a positive impact on a child. Communities are made up of individuals. If enough individuals within a community make the choice to be a positive influence to the most vulnerable children and youth within their community and also choose to educate and enlighten others, great strides will be made in helping children heal as well as maintain their dignity and lessen the impact of feeling “different.”

Within every community, there are educators, medical professionals, first responders, members of law enforcement, and childcare providers. Each of these have direct contact with those affected by foster care. People serving in these occupations can be leaders within their respective communities with regard to educating and enlightening others. How would one get started, you may ask? Develop community outreach groups. Put together programs or events to create awareness of the need. Work to understand children in care and the importance of responding in a way that will result in a positive outcome. Peter Senge said, “Sharing knowledge occurs when people are genuinely interested in helping one another develop new capacities for action; it is about creating learning processes.”  It is time to talk about foster care. It is time to reduce the stigma associated with living with extended family or foster families. It is time to bring normalcy to the children who are so desperately seeking it.

Over the next few months, we will be sharing stories as told to us from former foster youth who either aged out, reunified, or were adopted from foster care. Each is unique in perspective, but all maintain the common thread of desiring normalcy, feeling unheard and what they remember wishing was different during their time in care.  Each has ended up successful in adulthood; the common thread being at least one adult who took an interest and cared about them. What if an entire community of adults cared?

If you would like more information on establishing a Foster Care Community in your area, email your contact information to and we will work with you on getting started.

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