Foster the Family DC is a local non-profit that launched this September to support local foster and adoptive families. They provide immediate, emergency support through resources and supplies, as well as ongoing, holistic support through community and care.
Abuse, neglect, and foster care are a reality for about 2,000 vulnerable children in the D.C. metropolitan area. The need for foster parents is huge in our area, especially in DC. However, statistics show that around 50% of foster parents quit after their first year due to a lack of support.
Foster the Family DC exists to ease the burden of foster and adoptive parents so they can continue the important work of caring for their children.
How does Foster the Family DC support foster and adoptive parents?
We bring practical support to the doorstep of a foster family at its most vulnerable time: the first 24 hours after welcoming a child into their home. To do this, we have a stockroom and volunteers who are on call every day of the month. They are ready to be deployed to deliver a FosterCare Package, home-cooked meal, and gift for the parents.
Then we commit to staying involved throughout the entirety of the placement/adoption. We provide support, care, and connection to other parents through our monthly support groups. We also provide much-needed breaks through respite care and fun family connecting events. Additionally, we provide valuable education and training to support families who have welcomed vulnerable children into their homes.
How did Foster the Family get started?
Foster the Family began in 2018 in New Jersey by Executive Director, Jamie Finn. As an experienced foster mom who has cared for 27 children through foster care since 2014, she understands not only the importance of this work, but also how isolating and overwhelming it can be.
Starting a branch in the D.C. area
I reached out to Jamie in 2020 to discuss the possibility of starting a branch in the DMV area. Within a few months, we got to work to launch the first branch of Foster the Family. We formed a plan, assembled a team, and found a location for the stockroom.
The DC Foster the Family Branch is run by three moms who are either current or former foster parents, representing three different counties in the DMV area (Montgomery, Fairfax, and Prince William). We are passionate about bringing foster parents together to create a community of support and care.
What is included in the FosterCare Packages?
We have a stockroom FULL of items so we can pack and deliver a FosterCare Package specific to the age and gender of the child entering foster care. We pack duffle bags and backpacks full of hygiene items: hair products, two outfits, two pairs of PJS, underwear or diapers, formula/baby bottles or water bottles, comfort items, toys, books, and activities. So many times children come into a foster home with just the clothes on their back or very few of their personal belongings. By providing these basic needs, we can save the family a trip to the store and the stress of figuring out dinner. This allows them to put all of their focus on the child. There are enough items and products to get the child through at least the first two weeks.
Providing quality items
All the items in our FosterCare Packages are brand new for a really good reason. Children entering foster care have experienced so much trauma. We may not always know what their life was like before entering the home of their foster family, but we do know how scary it is to be removed from the only life they’ve ever known to go live with strangers. Brand NEW items tell a child that they are WELCOME, they are WORTHY, and they deserve nice things that BELONG to them. We hope the gift of our FosterCare Packages is one tool foster families can use to make a child feel SAFE and LOVED.
We have an Amazon Wishlist that we keep updated with the current needs for our stockroom.
How Can the Community Get Involved?
Foster the Family not only exists to support and encourage foster and adoptive families; it also exists to mobilize and equip the community for foster care and adoption, as well as advocate for vulnerable children.
The work we do is driven and supported by volunteers and donations. There are regular volunteer training for those who want to join our Delivery and Childcare Teams. Volunteering in this way is an incredibly rewarding experience and really shows children in foster care and foster families that they are not alone. It also shows them that who they are and what they’re doing matters, and that there are so many people that want to help!
Partnering with the community
There are also many ways the community can get involved. We have lots of different types of groups, churches, and businesses that partner with us. These include but are not limited to girl/boy scout troops, schools, youth groups, playgroups, gyms, breweries, rotary clubs, small groups, sports teams, etc.
Four simple ways to get your group to help:
- Host a Meal Prep Night
- Organize a Supply Drive
- Host a “Baby Shower”
- Host a Fundraiser.
Stay tuned for this upcoming community event
One community partnership we want to highlight is happening in October at a local brewery. Be sure to follow along with Aslin Beer starting October 4th to participate in their donation drive for Foster the Family DC. This will take place at both of their locations in Herndon and Alexandria.
If you would like to volunteer or get your group involved, contact us at [email protected].
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