Show Up for Foster Care

In Utah, more than 2,600 children are in foster care because their families are in crisis. Through no fault of their own, they have experienced trauma, heartbreak and displacement. 

Every child deserves a safe home with a loving family. By becoming part of the foster care community, you can impact the life of a child immeasurably.

Here are 7 ways you can show support to foster children in our community:

Open your home to foster children.

Utah needs hundreds more families to open their homes to children in need. Have a conversation with your family about fostering in your home. 

Here’s a brief list of qualifications.
Learn about adoption through foster care.
You can also foster a child you already know, should the need arise.

Ready to take the next step? Utah Foster Care is Utah’s preeminent organization for training and supporting Utah foster families.

Mentor a foster child.

One-on-one mentorship. Many of Utah’s oldest youth in care have great need for lasting connections. You can build a relationship with a child in care that helps them become more successful and prepared to transition to adult life. If you are someone who would be a good fit for a one-on-one, long-term and carefully matched mentorship opportunity, reach directly to Kathy Searle at Raise the Future at kathy.searle@raisethefuture.org.

Become a CASA. Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) are community volunteers, just like you, who stand up and speak out to help abused and neglected children. Advocates are assigned to work with a child, and visit that child twice a month in order to advocate for services, gather information from the child’s family, teachers, therapists, caregivers, etc., in order to make independent and informed recommendations to help the judge decide what’s best for the child. Last year, 937 CASAs in Utah advocated for 1,549 children who were involved in child welfare matters. No special education, experience or background is needed!

Support Friends of the Children Utah, a special local organization that hires and trains professional mentors (usually young adults) to use a trauma-informed, long-term mentoring model to empower and support youth and their caregivers. These “Friends” spend three to four hours every week with or on behalf of each child.
 
Volunteer with Utah Youth Village. Utah Youth Village serves thousands of individuals every year in therapeutic foster homes, in-home services, homes for refugee families and more.

Support Foster Families in your neighborhood. 

Your family, business, faith community, or neighborhood can get involved quickly by serving the foster families who live in your own neighborhoods and communities!

Not everyone can foster a child right now, but everyone can become part of a child’s caring community. Utah’s Kids Belong can help connect you to families who you can serve. These families have taken on great burden, and often go unnoticed. By bringing a meal, mowing a lawn, or providing other simple in-home service to foster families, you are supporting Utah’s most vulnerable children. Email Brianna Bray for individualized ways you can get involved at bbray@utkidsbelong.org, or reaching out directly to your faith leader to learn about the families who are fostering nearby.

Talk to your faith group about becoming a “Care Community” or receiving trauma training. 

Parents who foster or adopt need to know they’ll be well-supported when a child arrives in their home. Children in foster care, as well as adopted children, have unique needs and require intentional focus from their new parents. Supporting these families in practical, hands-on ways provides a healthier context for a child’s transition into their new home.

America’s Kids Belong, a national 501c3 with a local chapter here in Utah, will work directly with you to assess the best ways your faith group can wrap around foster families, host a “Belong Sunday”, and much more. [Resources for Faith Leaders here.]

Promise686 empowers churches working toward one common goal: to care for vulnerable children. They carry out this mission by equipping churches to support local foster and adoptive families, and biological families in crisis. By training churches on how to create and lead successful Family Advocacy Ministries (FAMs), we can work together toward seeing every child in a safe and loving family, forever.

Many Show Up partner organizations also offer trauma-informed training. Reach out to kirsten@showuputah.org to learn more.

Learn about Utah’s “Waiting Children”.

In Utah, there are more than 400 children who are legally free and ready to be adopted. These children entered foster care through no fault of their own, and have experienced great trauma and loss. 

They are generally over the age of nine; members of a sibling group; children of color; and children with physical, cognitive, and emotional challenges. They deserve connections with adults who can provide them with non-judgmental, unconditional love and commitment to help them thrive throughout their lifetime.

You can get to know some of Utah’s waiting children, like Anika, through Raise the Future’s website and America’s Kids Belong’s website.

Become a Foster Friendly business partner.

We want Utah to become our country’s most “foster friendly” state! In 2021, the First Lady launched the“Foster Friendly” business app in partnership with America’s Kids Belong. 

While not everyone can be a foster family, everyone can do something to improve outcomes and experiences for these kids. Your business can help good foster families stay the course by showing them appreciation and helping their growing family. Offer a specific foster friendly discount today!

Watch this video to see how one business is making a life-changing difference in Tennessee. 

Contact bbray@utkidsbelong.org to partner with us!

Donate.

Donate to Utah’s charitable organizations focused on children in care. Donations made to the Utah’s First Lady Foundation are tax-deductible and go directly to support organizations. 

If you are interested in making a donation, reach out to kirsten@showuputah.org and we’ll work together to tailor your specific gift.

Thank you for engaging with us to Show Up for Utah’s children! We’d love to hear from you about your experiences supporting Utah’s foster children.

Utah is home to some of the greatest parents the world has ever seen. With lives rooted in hard work and strong ethics, they’re raising up solid, resilient children who will form the backbone of Utah’s bright future.

Outside these strong bonds, Utah is also home to less-fortunate children in dire need of our love and support – Utah’s foster kids. With proper care and attention, we can give these beautiful and deserving children a chance for a bright and secure future. We need Utah’s parents to Show Up for Foster Children, extending their loving arms outward to guide, provide, and show empathy for these kids and for the families who open their arms to them. Utah can be the first state where no children are waiting to find loving homes.
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