I have seen statistics stating that as high as 80% of trafficked youth have been in the child welfare system. To me, this says one thing: we need to do a better job of supporting foster agencies, foster parents and foster youth.
Children who have a sense of community, family and support are much less vulnerable to abusers and traffickers. So, how do we create that safety net? Here’s a list of ideas:
- Be a foster parent!
- Be a respite provider. You don’t have to be a full-time foster family. You can also provide occasional respite or emergency care.
- Serve as a foster care ambassador. (Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for info!)
- Be a support to a family that you know is fostering. (Provide meals, rides, babysitting)
- Throw a “Foster Shower” for new foster parents for items they will need. (Outlet plugs, cabinet locks, smoke detectors, etc)
- Send an encouraging note or small gift to a kiddo placed with someone you know.
- Call to check in with foster parents and ask how they are doing- let them vent if they need!
- Show up to games, concerts, events for fostering families- cheer LOUDLY.
- Host a donation drive for a foster agency for duffel bags, snacks, kids’ books or other items they need.
- Volunteer at an agency’s office.
The requirements to foster are fairly simple:
- 21 or older, married or single
- Complete MAPP training
- Pass a background check
- Have an additional source of income (outside of foster care reimbursement)
- Own or rent a suitable residence
- Be willing to work as a team member
There are several great agencies to work with in the Wichita area as well: