This is kind of a heavy topic for me.
I want to be real, but I also want to remain hopeful.....so bear with me. I'm going to attempt to take a more factual approach, but not without the reality of some of the emotions surrounding the situation.
According to the most current statistics, there are well over 400,00 children in the US Foster Care System. Children come into foster care for a variety of complex reasons, with the most common being some form of neglect or abuse. Many come from situations surrounded by alcohol and drug addiction. But regardless of the circumstances that bring a child into state custody, and regardless of their age, they are often experiencing an overwhelming flood of emotions that can include confusion, instability, fear, blame, regret, depression and anger.
Imagine for a moment a toddler removed from the only environment he/she has ever known.
Imagine a school aged child who went to school as usual that day, but was picked up by a caseworker.
Imagine a teen that was trying to get away from it all and is possibly even pregnant herself.
These are very difficult things to think about.
I'm sure you are like me in the fact that you want to believe the children you encounter in your daily lives or even pass in the aisles at the grocery store are all being raised in loving homes where all their basic needs are provided for. Sadly, this is not always true. Even in our own "back yards".
In most cases, the primary goal for children in foster care is reunification with their birth family or extended family if a safe environment can be established. This means that these children are most often not currently available for adoption and can live months and sadly, sometimes years in limbo awaiting the decisions of others.
Certainly a situation where a child needs every measure of HOPE possible.
One group within the foster system that offers support specifically to the child is CASA. CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates, and basically is what it states, an advocate assigned to the child by the court. CASA volunteers provide a voice for the child in a system where they can otherwise easily get lost. CASA volunteers are there to help protect a child's rights. CASA is an extremely valuable resource for a child in foster care. CASA volunteers can provide a safe, reliable, caring adult for a child that could really use some stability and unconditional love.
For the next 2 weeks I am going to provide a variety of suggestions for how you and your family can Give Hope to children in foster care. Many of the suggestions will be items you can of course sew yourself, while others will be for items you may already have on hand or regularly purchase that you can simply pick up an extra to share.
My hope is that many of you will seek out your local DCS (Department of Children's Services), DHS (Department of Human Services), CASA programs or even call your local Juvenile Court to find out where you can deliver your donations for children in foster care within your own communities. How wonderful it would be for you to make a connection this month that would allow for ongoing support of these precious children! (and save the $$$ of shipping!!!) :) :) :)
Otherwise, I will gladly accept any donations you'd like to send our way and we will include them with what we will be delivering to our local DCS office at the end of the month.
Thank you for allowing me to share this with you.
Thank you for caring.
Thank you for making a difference.