I mentioned last week how new clothing for children coming into foster care was a significant need, and I also said I would share a suggestion for hand-me-down or second hand clothing donations.
Well, here it is! :)
We've already covered the fact that children often come into foster care with very little of their own. What I want to talk about today is how a foster family prepares in advance for the placement of a child or children in their home. For comparison, this is very, very different from preparing for a new baby or adoption in many ways. Not only will you likely not know the gender of the child that will come to live with you, but you will not know the age either. Many foster families accept children in a particular age range, but that can be a very large range. For example, newborn-toddler, toddler-school age, elementary-high school....there is no way to be fully prepared.
Imagine if your home is approved to receive a child in the age range of newborn to 6 years or from 9 years to 16 years. And of either gender. See how overwhelming it can get real quick!?
Clothing in multiple sizes.
Bed/crib/toddler bed and bedding.
Carseats and boosters if necessary.
What about bottles, formula, diapers for babies?
And personal hygiene items for teens?
It's a lot to consider.
Most homes don't allow for the extra space to store a variety of supplies to meet every possible need. So, here's where my idea for a "Foster Closet" comes in.
This can be a single closet in your home or a donated space at a local church or business. A place where donations of clean, good quality, used clothing and general care items can be sorted and stored and made available to foster families as needed. Some fostering agencies have these already and will gladly accept your donations.
While most states provide a one time "clothing allowance" for a child in foster care, like many things, it can take a while to get. A "closet" like this can provide for immediate needs and lift that initial concern and financial burden for families providing foster care. What a blessing!
So, as you sort through clothing at the end of the season, consider how you might be able to offer the items in good condition to a family providing foster care in your community. I can assure you they will be grateful.
Thanks for caring!