Happy Foster Care Month!

It's hard to believe the month is halfway over already! Were you prepared or are you still trying to figure out some ways to spread the word about foster care? For those of you who were totally prepared and had your calendar full of events, congratulations and very well done! If you're still looking for some ways to celebrate and spread your message, keep reading.

Let’s consider two categories:
  1. Things we can DO now
  2. Things we can START now

Here are a few ideas of things you could do now to build awareness of the need for more foster parents. None of these ideas have to be overly expensive or time consuming, and you can certainly modify them to your specific needs.

  • Brat Fry – we Wisconsinites love a good brat! Once you fire up the grill, mouths will start watering and they will make their way to your booth. Perfect time to spread some information with well-placed posters and friendly foster parents staffing the event.
  • Announcements at church or synagogue - Speak to your church's leader about Foster Care Awareness month and ask if you can make a short announcement. Then, be available after the service for questions. It doesn’t have to be a formal setting, just have information for them and what the steps to becoming a foster parent look like.
  • Reach out to your friends and relatives – Can you put a quick blurb in their newsletter at their work with a link to FosterParentsRock.org? What about an email blast or hang some with a Turn A Life Around posters in their break room?
  • CHALLENGE THEM – don’t forget the #Handstandforfosterkids Challenge! There have been some great posts so far--search #handstandforfosterkids on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram to see what's already been posted. Then, challenge your pastor, neighbors, your child’s softball team, and teachers. Get everyone involved!

Now for a few ideas of what can we start working now for something just as important as recruitment . . . the other ‘R’ word: RETENTION. Retention efforts don’t have to be expensive or time consuming either! The coolest part is that, while you are dealing with the other thousand things that are piled high on your plate, this is something you can reach out to your Foster Care Champions for assistance with. Here are a few thoughts:
  • Hand written thank you notes to your foster parents. You could even break it down to sending notes on birthdays, anniversaries, newly licensed folks, or parents who just received their first placement. 
  • Gift cards for a cup of coffee
  • A Foster Parent Champion might make a call to a family with their first placement to check in on how they are doing. Or, better yet, bring them a pizza!
  • Start now for next year! Get the ball rolling with ideas on Foster Care Awareness month 2019! Start and keep a running list of ideas for how you can show your appreciation for your foster parents. Here are a few to get you started:
  • Appreciation banquets
  • A day at the beach
  • Family bowling night
  • Family picnic

The ideas are endless--we encourage you to think outside the box and have fun with it. For some additional ideas, check out these links: