You don't have to become a foster parent to support fostering.
Protecting children and strengthening families is the responsibility of every member of the community. Fostering and adopting a child may not be an option for you. However, there are many ways to help a child or family in need in your community.
All of our community-based care partners work closely with individuals and businesses in their communities to support children in foster care. If you would like to support children in foster care, find contacts in your area.
Here are some examples of how you might be able to support these families:
- Free haircuts, dental care, clothing or transportation.
- Free services based on your business: construction, home furnishings, family dinners at restaurants, mechanic services.
- Scholarships or free lessons for summer camp, sports teams, dance, art or music.
You can help children and their families by:
- Providing school supplies (books, pencils, book bags, paper)
- Providing jobs for older youth
- Mentoring a child
You or your organization can contribute money or donate goods:
- For scholarships, summer camps, field trips or music lessons
- For holidays, birthdays and graduations
- Other items such as car seats, high chairs, toys, luggage or clothes
You can support agencies and the court system by:
- Recruiting foster/adoptive parents in your community
- Hosting social events for foster/adoptive parents (picnics, parties, bowling)
Florida State Foster/Adoptive Parent Association
The Florida State Foster/Adoptive Parent Association (FSFAPA) is a statewide membership group for all foster, adoptive, relative and non-relative caregivers in Florida. Membership is free for all caregivers.
The Florida State Foster/Adoptive Association aims to:
- Foster a spirit of cooperation and teamwork among all entities involved with child welfare.
- Promote quality education and training for families with the system's children, both prior to placement and as continuing education.
- Advocate improved funding of human services for the benefit of all of Florida's most vulnerable citizens.
- Advocate for legislative changes for protection and welfare of Florida's children at the local, state and national levels.
- Educate our parents regarding the needs of children to make them more effective advocates.
- Increase community awareness, support and participation in foster parenting and adoption.
- Provide a forum for dialogue and communication among our parents, the department, agencies, and other interested persons via our newsletter, meetings and website.
- Educate foster parents regarding the risks of foster parenting and the steps they can take to reduce those risks.
- Educate adoptive parents about issues affecting children, promote realistic expectations of the needs and behaviors of children being adopted, advocate support services for adoptive families to reduce stress, strengthen the family unit and reduce or eliminate adoption disruption.
For more information, please go to www.floridafapa.org.
Florida Guardian ad Litem
The program provides volunteers who are trained as child advocates to provide a voice for the child in court.
The State of Florida Guardian ad Litem Program is a network of professional staff and community advocates, partnering to provide a strong voice in court and positive systemic change on behalf of Florida's abused and neglected children. There are 21 local Guardian ad Litem programs in 20 judicial circuits in Florida.
The Guardian ad Litem Program (GAL) provides children who enter Florida's dependency system with quality advocacy that includes the monitoring of their safety and welfare; pursuing their legal and best interests; and obtaining them a permanent home. Program attorneys, volunteer supervisors, and volunteers facilitate this advocacy acting as a team. The program's advocacy team is critical in being able to effectively represent the children's best interests. When a child is taken into state care and the GAL program is appointed, the advocacy team takes on specific legal and operational responsibilities for the child. The advocacy team meets regularly to review the child's safety and well-being; they assist the child in navigating the dependency system.
Find more information about the Guardian ad Litem Program in Florida.