INDIANAPOLIS — It could be as simple as making a casserole dish, answering a phone call or buying a gallon of milk to make a foster family feel supported which in turn means a safe place for a child in need of a home.
"That gallon of milk is huge," said Shenay Golden, who has been a foster parent for more than six years.
She said support from strangers is what got her through.
“I always say you don't need to wear a cape to be a superhero to offer support, so that community commitment on a very small level is huge,” said Golden.
"I hear people say, 'I can't be the foster parent, so I can't help, and it's like well, no, there's a lot that you can do,'" said Suzy Roth the executive director of Hands of Hope.
Roth said there are dozens of ways to get involved in foster care without being a foster parent.
"We have what we call 'toe in the water' opportunities, which are very simple opportunities like creating toiletry packs for when kids first enter care,” said Roth, “One foster family told me that they had two boys that came to them and they were like, 'Wow! We each get our own toothbrush?'"
They also have what’s called a Care Community.
“What it does is it puts 6-8 people all around one foster family, so you have his whole team around that one foster family, and they do things like provide meals, so the minimum commitment is just to say I'll do one meal a month, one time the month. I’ll drop the meal off to a foster family. But because you have four other people doing it, the foster family gets a meal every week. They have a meal coming to them,” Roth said.
She told me 50% of foster families quit after one year, but when a care community surrounds a family that failure rate drops to 10%. Last year Hands of Hope served more than 3,000 children.
"There's easy ways for people to get engaged, and so we try to provide those opportunities," Roth said.
You can learn more about getting involved in those “toe in the water” opportunities and Care Communities right now by clicking here.
If you think becoming a foster parent is right for you, you can find information about how to start the process at IndianaFosterCare.org.