You don’t have to become a foster parent to help local foster children.
By Allie Roth, founder and president, and Adriane Driscoll, board member, at With Love, a Portland-based non-profit organization.
We consider ourselves pretty lucky to live and raise children in the Pacific Northwest. We’re surrounded by natural beauty, great parks and rec, art, and world-class food and culture. It’s no surprise that we are ranked #8 in US News & World Report’s best places to live. However, not all of our families are thriving.
In 2018, more than 11,000 of Oregon’s children spent time in foster care, and at least 40% of them were under the age of seven. These innocent kids have been exposed to neglect, abuse or trauma. Without intervention, these experiences can snowball and have lasting negative consequences on children and our communities – which is why we need to promote safe, stable families for all children in our region. And for that, we must turn our attention to Oregon’s foster care crisis.
A Call to Action
Undoubtedly, one of the greatest gifts one can give a child in crisis is a safe, loving home. Throughout the past 10 years, we’ve been lucky enough to meet hundreds of foster parents, and they are nothing short of heroic.
But fostering isn’t for everyone – it’s a big commitment to open your home. Thankfully, there are other ways to help. An easy way is to simply become an advocate for these children – educate your kids, neighbors and friends about the crisis. So many people are unaware of the situation facing Oregon’s children and if they know, they likely don’t know ways to help other than becoming a foster parent. By spreading awareness, you can help make foster care more approachable.
There are also several organizations, including With Love, that would gladly accept the toys, clothes and books your kids have grown out of – these items make a huge impact to foster children entering a new home.
Whether you feel called to volunteer for a few hours, donate physical items, or make a monetary donation, here are ways you and your family can help:
- Alleviate the stress of new foster parents by donating items to With Love, who hand-delivers them at their doorstep.
- Become an advocate at CASA for children who have been abused or neglected.
- Schedule a time for your kids and their friends to sort donations at Project Lemonade.
- Sit with a child at DHS while they are awaiting placement through Every Child.
- Ensure birth parents and their children in foster care enjoy a healthy and fun visitation at The Family Room.
- Play with children at Foster Parents’ Night Out while their foster parents enjoy a much needed date night.
Help us spread the word and be a part of the support system surrounding these kiddos. Together, we can strengthen our community and help all Oregon families thrive.
About the authors
Allie Roth, founder and president, and Adriane Driscoll, board member, both work at With Love, a Portland-based non-profit organization. With Love serves foster families by providing safe, clean and quality clothing and supplies for newborns, babies and children up to age six. The organization’s mission is to help foster families change the lives of children ages 0-6 by providing resources that nurture dignity, hope and community. With Love strives to provide families with everything they may need, from clothes to car seats and toys to diapers, so they can focus on loving their little one.