Children in foster care face several unique challenges. Working and volunteering with them can be incredibly rewarding, but many people aren’t sure where to start. If you are looking for ways to help kids in foster care, try some of these ideas and strategies.
1. Mentor a Teen
Once they age out of the system, children in foster care are at much higher risk of homelessness, unemployment, or inability to pursue further education. They may also have less access to healthcare and a greater likelihood of negative interactions with law enforcement.
By mentoring, you can help turn around a teen’s life in foster care. Mentored teens, according to MENTOR National, are:
● 46% less likely to start using illegal drugs
● 27% less likely to consume alcohol regularly
● 81% more likely to get involved in extracurricular, including sports
● 130% more likely to get involved in leadership positions
● 55% less likely to skip school
Mentors can provide vitally-needed support for teens in foster care, guiding them through those difficult years and helping them excel in spite of their circumstances.
2. Educate and Advocate
Many people simply aren’t aware of the issues facing kids and teens in foster care. However, through education, you can spread the word about programs that can help give those kids the opportunities they need to excel. Programs like Keys to Success, for example, can help teens currently or previously in foster care identify their career goals, work toward employment, and develop independent living skills that can help them be successful.
3. Provide Respite Care
Respite care can help foster parents get a break while still ensuring that the kids and teens in their care are well cared for and supported. Respite care is usually a short-term option, frequently for just a night or a weekend. By offering respite care, you can decrease the odds of abuse or neglect in a foster home, reduce the risk of burnout, and provide children and teens in foster care with the opportunity to develop important relationships with adults outside their foster families.
4. Raise Funds or Make a Donation
There are several ways to help raise funds and make a donation, including:
The AFFCF Post-Secondary Scholarship
Designed to provide financial support to teens in the Arizona foster system when they turn 18, consider supporting this post-secondary scholarship. It can provide much-needed funding for both four-year and community college students.
The Bobby Edd Penson Fund
Specifically created to support students who may encounter emergency expenses as they move forward with their education.
IRA Rollover and Stocks
If you are over 72, you can send the funds from your required minimum distributions on your IRA directly to a qualified charitable distribution like the Arizona Friends of Foster Children Foundation. You can also transfer stock directly to the foundation.
What is the Arizona Foster Care Tax Credit, and How Do I Claim It on My AZ Tax Return?
The AZ Foster Care tax credit provides up to $500 for individual filers and $1,000 for joint filers in a matching tax credit for donations made to the Arizona Friends of Foster Children Foundation. AFFCF’s tax ID is 86-0468850, and our Qualifying Foster Care Organization ID is 10023. Contact your tax professional to learn more about taking advantage of this credit fully.
Learn More About Helping Foster Children in Arizona
There are multiple ways to get involved and help foster children in Arizona, even when you don’t want to foster yourself. Contact us for more information about supporting children in foster care.