Improving Foster Care: It Takes a Village

There is a saying that it takes a village to raise a family, meaning it is very helpful to surround yourself with support and guidance. This is also true, probably even more so, for families and children who are a part of the foster care system.

The foster care system has many moving parts. There are the children, their biological parents (and siblings, grandparents, etc), the foster family, judges, social workers, CASAs, just to name a few. While the intent is to provide for the child’s best interest and well-being, what is the best way to get all the parts to work together? The foster care system will improve if all these groups can work together, if roles are clearly defined, and if support resources are made readily available.

These issues were addressed at a summit meeting in Georgia. According to this Times article, many agencies came together for the summit meeting, including representatives from juvenile court, non-profit agencies, and churches. A Juvenile judge stated, “Working together, these stakeholders can send the ‘tidal wave’ of changes through the system.”

This summit’s goal was to get the foster care players together, in one room, to share their set role and to know each other’s role, so each can serve families to the greatest extent. This was important because It helps caseworkers learn about community resources available for families. It helps foster families become aware of resources available for the foster children. It helps agencies spread their resources to as many families as possible. For example, “If three nonprofits collect Christmas gifts for the same foster family, that family may feel overwhelmed with toys while grandparents with limited means who are caring for a child through the foster system are left with little to give their child.”

But how can you get involved? What if you want to help? Most states and counties are desperately looking for foster care families. This guide gives you step by step information about how to become a foster parent. Foster care families will make a difference in a child’s life; is it a role for you?