Every day thousands of kids and young people suffer from abuse, neglect, or don’t have a safe place to call home. In most cases, when children aren’t safe with their parents, or they can’t be placed with relatives, foster care is the preferred option. It can help maintain family connections and cultural traditions that can minimize the trauma of family separation.
Out-of-Home Care: What If Kids Can’t Stay With Family?
Foster Care, or out-of-home care, is a temporary arrangement where adults, who have been approved by the State, provide care and shelter for kids who can’t live with their birth families. Foster programs are prepared to deal with a broad spectrum of child welfare situations including temporary arrangements that allow birth families to address problematic issues until they can be with their kids. The program also includes specialized homes with highly trained foster parents and caregivers for children who need constant care.
In 2019, there was an estimate of more than 450,000 kids and youth in foster care, where:
- 63,000 children were between the ages of 16 to 18
- 99,000 children were between the ages of 10 to 15
- 103,000 children were between the age of 6 to 10 years old
- 153,000 children between 1 to 6 years old
- 32,000 children were under one year old
You can take a deeper look at statistics and history by visiting our blog Foster Care: Where Have We Been and Where Are We Going?
Out-of-home care is a crucial part of the child welfare system, and it plays a critical role in protecting vulnerable kids. The goal of the foster care system is to help foster parents to become mentors, create natural support for foster families, and improve the welfare of all the children served.
See What Embrace Washington Is Doing to Help Kids in Foster Care
In Washington State, there are more than 5,058 licensed foster homes and 88 foster-care group-home facilities. In this article, Believe in Me highlights the important work of Embrace Washington. Their programs focus on eliminating any roadblocks that foster parents face to provide a happy life for a child.
Youth who lack stable, nurturing homes are at a higher risk for developing a wide range of social, cognitive, and emotional problems. However, these risks can be reduced by providing them with a strong support system in the form of guardians. For this reason, Believe in Me is on a mission to fund initiatives that provide this type of support.
This year the Foundation provided grants to Embrace Washington’s Education Success Program and the Sleep Safe program. Both fulfill our mission and provide additional opportunities and support to foster children and families in Spokane.
Embrace Washington is committed to providing, caring for, and supporting children in out-of-home care within our community. Raising awareness of vulnerable children’s needs, identifying how to meet those needs, and connecting individuals and organizations with a heart to serve the community are ways to do it. Some of their ways are helping children in foster care to eliminate roadblocks like providing a new bed, academic tutoring educational support, paying for summer camps, music or sports, and activities for foster kids and their families to build healthy memories and experiences. This holistic approach allows kids to feel loved and stable in an uncertain time in their lives.
Foster Kids Are Getting A Leg Up with Educational Support And Good Night’s Sleep
In case you’re not familiar with it already, Embrace Washington’s Education Success Program is a collaborative education program designed to increase academic achievement by providing additional opportunities for foster children. The program outcomes of this initiative are:
- Provide educational support to youth that is falling behind in school.
- Collaborate with Spokane Schools, Sylvan Learning Center, and other local organizations to identify participants
- Ensure that youth in care have achieved the learning standards for their grade and provide sustained support as they continue their education
- Remove the financial barriers for tutoring to increase educational access for foster youth of diverse backgrounds
We’re also excited to tell you about Embrace Washington’s Sleep Safe Program which provides safe sleep for the growing number of foster children impacted by trauma. The first goal of the Sleep Safe Program is to make sure that every foster child gets a good night of sleep in a safe environment. The second goal of this program is to ensure that no foster child goes without a bed. The Sleep Safe program makes sure that every foster family has access to beds, bedding, or bedding materials. This program collaborates with the Department of Children, Youth, and Families, as well as CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates), and Twilight Bedding. By collaborating with these organizations, it’s a great way to meet the ongoing demand for foster kids to avoid overnight stays in hotels, State offices, and a few other “placement exceptions”.
How Believe in Me Supports Children and Foster Parents
These two programs are examples of how Believe in Me is supporting children’s charities that provide marginalized kids with a safe place to call home and a family that loves them. This year, more than 130 children living with foster parents will receive services through Embrace Washington’s program. It is our hope that these precious children will find stability inside a loving home where they will flourish and grow.
With your generosity, Believe in Me has the opportunity to grant programs that are helping foster kids and families in our community. Our goal is to make sure that foster kids are matched with loving stable families and your support helps us to make the difference.