Let’s tour the state of Wisconsin and look at what agencies did to show appreciation for their foster families during National Foster Care Month in May.
Starting in the Northeast . . .

  • One agency sponsored a celebration at the home of a family that has been doing foster care for 25 years. This is an annual event and the agency provides pizza and beverages for all their foster families. Gift cards as well as certificates to a local restaurant were given to families by the agency.
  • An evening bowling event for foster families was the plan for another agency. They solicited donations and gifts from the community and handed them out at the event. They served pizza and desserts to the families.
  • A cookout/picnic for foster families at one of their minor league baseball team’s games was on the roster for one of the larger counties. 
  • Another agency highlighted a foster family each week for the month of May. They featured them in their weekly emails, as well as on their Facebook page. Each family that was featured also receive a gift from the agency.

Moving on to the North . . .

  • One agency offered a small carnival held on the grounds of the agency. There was face painting, hair-feather braiding, carnival games with prizes, cotton candy and popcorn machine, and a small bouncy house. They also offered a date night for foster parents, utilizing a local PTO group and teens for childcare.
  • A picnic hosted in June will be the celebration for another agency. All of the foster families, as well as their CPS social workers and their families are invited to the event.

And in the West . . .

  • One agency held an annual Brat Barn event in May to raise money to pay for the incidentals that come up in foster care, such as basketball shoes, class ring, that upgrade on a pair of glasses, etc. They are hosting a family picnic in June, as families struggle with the busy-ness of end-of-May school events.

In the Southeast . . .

  • One agency hosted their annual Foster Parent Appreciation Banquet as a part of Foster Care Month. They provided child care and entertainment for the children in a different part of the banquet hall, allowing foster parents to enjoy an adult-friendly evening in another room. The County Executive provided a Proclamation of May as Foster Parent Appreciation Month, and they had several community leaders speak about appreciation for foster parents. They held raffles throughout the evening, so that each foster family in attendance won a prize before the end of the night. They also purchased and provided each foster family with a unique gift to go along with their corresponding banquet theme.
  • One agency partnered with many local businesses to gather donations and discounts on services provided. Each family received a thank you card signed by the County Executive and the Human Services director with a gift card for dinner. This agency also sponsors events throughout the year, which are low or no-cost activities, like Foster Care Day at the Zoo and Foster Family Saturday Skate.
  • Another agency kicked off Foster Parent Appreciation Month with their Yearly Event, “Call to Action” for foster families. Each foster family who attended received a gift. They had child care at this event and organized it around a set theme. This year’s theme was Shared Parenting, and, as there was a training component, the foster parents who attended also received ongoing training hours. The event is meant to help build connections between foster families while also empowering them with information and tools.

In the Southern region . . .

  • One agency had a family night at the Mallards game. They combined this with recruitment and had materials available for attendees of the game.
  • Another agency had a family dinner at a pizza restaurant. They had agency staff helping with the event. Outside of the restaurant, they had the handstand challenge going on, where they gave families the Turn a Life Around t-shirts and took pictures of them doing handstands.

Statewide . . .

  • The Youth Advisory Council had their 2nd annual Hands Around the Capitol event on May 23. YAC’s President, Tina Czappa, gave a passionate interview about the need for sibling connections and the need to support foster families so that they can provide consistent care for the children in their homes. There were former foster care youth who shared their stories of success and Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families, Eloise Anderson, spoke about the great need for more foster families for our children.

There were so many wonderful events to honor foster children and the families that care for them! Let’s all find ways to keep this going, keeping awareness on the need for more foster families. One way to do so, is by keeping the #HandstandforFosterKids challenge going! There is a pinned post on the Coalition's Facebook page with directions and even some suggested text.

Here are a few other ideas you might be interested in trying:

  • A foster family picnic
  • Providing passes to the state parks
  • Plan a holiday party
  • Set up a booth at large community events, such as county fairs, ball games, etc.
  • Meet with your Foster Parent Champions and brainstorm more ways to recruit more foster homes!