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Foster Care Advocacy 101
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Foster Care Advocacy 101

A few ideas on how to change the lives of children – forever!

Not every person is wired to take in foster kids but every person can take a small step to  learn more about nurturing  healthy communities. Big or small, your participation begins in educating yourself. Thousands of hurting, vulnerable children are hoping someone will take the step to get involved and support families in their community. 

As I write these words today, 750 children in my community alone need a foster family; only 70 foster families are available70 families for 750 children. The same scenario plays out across every city, county, and state in the United States. Children need homes, but far too few people are willing to step up and say, “I’ll do it.“ (Now I Am Known, Chapter 11 Excerpt)

You can get involved in at least ONE WAY to advocate for children and families in our world. 

Here’s a list of 7 ways you can get involved in the foster care community:

Get curious. As an outsider, it might be easy to keep your distance and  judge parents, especially those whose kids go into foster care temporarily or permanently. One way to reframe your mindset as an advocate for children is to replace internal accusations with wonder about what those parents have been through.

I challenge you to notice parents around you who may need help. Meet those needs (if you can) for the people struggling around you. Offer to babysit, have a child over for dinner, purchase a few extra groceries, take Mom out for coffee and conversation, and bless that family in appropriate ways. Do your best to prevent the desperate circumstances that lead to foster care for children in the first place. 

A lot of individuals hesitate to come alongside people in difficult circumstances, maybe because they don’t know what to say or how to help. But you can journey with them and share in their heavy load. Sometimes being there is all the help they need. 

Become informed. Subscribe to email newsletters from publications, authors and speakers (like me), foundations (like NIAK), and agencies serving children and foster care families. What are the statistics in your city? What are some of the biggest needs when it comes to supporting foster care families? 

Anyone can go to their county agency and ask how to get involved with foster care. Even if the employees don’t know of volunteer opportunities, they will likely have a contact person for you to reach out to for more information. 

Support advocates and their mission. Seek out foster care families in your region. Are there families in your church community or school that could use a friendly face and an extra pair of hands to help? Maybe a foster family needs their lawn mowed. Maybe they’d love a meal once a month or baked goods on a Saturday. 

Follow along with me and other foster care parents, agencies, social workers, or other advocates making a difference on social media. Every “thumbs up,” like, comment, and share brings the message of helping foster care kids to the forefront of scrollers. Let’s rally up support together!

Be sure you're signed up for updates with me (scroll to the bottom to input your email, if you haven’t subscribed already!) 

Even foster parents need people to come around them and help them.… Just imagine the difference we can make by taking a meal to a foster family once a week or volunteering to help their children with their homework. (Now I Am Known, Chapter 11 Excerpt)

No help is too little! As a foster parent, I guarantee we will be grateful for whatever you’re willing to do with us or for our kids!

Get your respite care certification. Certified babysitters are God’s gift to foster care parents. Relatives of foster care families will often receive their  respite care certification, so they can monitor the children—but not every foster parent has the luxury of bio family support  in their lives. 

Foster-care certified temporary babysitters are very difficult to find. Respite care is a HUGE blessing, especially for single foster parents like me. Each state has different qualifications to become respite care certified.

Consider becoming CASA trained. Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs) and Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) volunteers are appointed by the court to advocate for a foster child’s welfare throughout their time in the legal system. These certified “buddies” will step into difficult scenarios right along with foster kids—going to court, standing before judges, and meeting with social workers to fight for the child’s best interest.


Children who come through the foster care system find themselves shuffled about, from one placement to the next.... When that reality becomes your life, no one has to tell you that you don’t matter and you don’t belong. You live that reality. You become invisible, a throwaway child no one seems to want, a child no one upon whom you can depend. (Now I Am Known, Chapter 11 Excerpt)

As a CASA, it’s an opportunity to show up and transform the story in the heads and hearts of these kids.

They need a place to belong. They need someone who sees them, who hears them, who not only says they matter but also treats them like they do. (Now I Am Known, Chapter 11 Excerpt)

Donate. As simple as it may sound, financial gifts to foster care parents are irreplaceable—and if you’re a parent, you know children are always outgrowing, replacing, and needing items!

Many times, children are in foster care due to financial difficulties in their bio parents’ home life. A child’s financial needs fall completely on me as a foster parent when they walk through my front door. Every dollar that goes to the Now I Am Known Foundation goes directly to help foster care children and teenagers aging out of care.

Consider becoming a foster care parent. Before you disqualify yourself or shake your head and say, “Peter, I had a rough childhood so I’d be a bad foster care parent.” 

Believe me, I understand this mindset—but what I have come to learn is that your challenges equip you to share in people’s pain. I would argue that you would be an especially good parent because of the things you have been through.

Open your mind. Have a  willing heart. 

Children do not choose to be born to drug-addicted mothers. Children do not choose to grow up in a neglectful family anymore than I chose to be born in a poor village to a father who did not want me. 

Children do not choose to go into foster care, but we have a choice. We can choose to make a difference in the lives of vulnerable children. Some people think it takes some sort of special call from God to become a foster parent. I disagree. All it takes is knowing there is a need to know when you can do something to meet it.

The world is filled with children who were just like I was. All it took to turn my hopelessness upside down was one brave step on my part and another man’s kindness. I found the courage to run away from the life of the situation and try the opportunities that presented themselves… The combination of bravery and love can make all the difference in the world.It did for me. There is a world filled with children waiting for you to make a choice. Their lives will never be the same. 

Choose to be brave. Choose to love. 

(Now I Am Known, Chapter 11 Excerpt)

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