May is Foster Awareness Month
- 57.5% of foster children in LA are under the age of 9.
- Upon aging out of foster care system and without a family, many will face 5 paths:
- Homelessness – 40% of teens who age out of foster care will be homeless in 2 years.
- Incarceration – 80% of current prison inmates have spent time in foster care.
- Human trafficking – 85% of youth recovered in sex trafficking raids in Southern California were in the foster system.
- Early Parenthood – 56% of 21 year old women who were formerly in the child welfare system are mothers
- Poverty – 69% of teens who age out of foster care have been out of work at some point in the last year. *Source: https://lovehasnolimits.com/
There are many different ways to get involved in foster care.
Parish: Host a Foster Speaker!
The Archdiocese can provide speakers for Masses and meetings who will speak to parishioners about fostering and how they can get involved in becoming a foster family, or how the parish community can support foster children as a group. We’ll help you find a speaker for after Masses, provide you with prayers and resources, and introduce you to agencies you can invite to speak and help your parish get involved in foster. Call The Office of Life, Justice, and Peace at (213) 637-7632 to book a speaker today.
Bring the Heart Gallery to Your Parish
The Heart Gallery is a collection of beautiful life-size portraits of children waiting for adoption. It’s a great visual for parishioners to see the children they can help. To request the Heart Gallery display at your parish, call Yesenia at (213) 257-7007 or email Galvey@dcfs.lacounty.gov
- Organize a blessing at Mass for foster and adoptive families in the parish. – English, Spanish
- Include Intercessions for Foster Youth during Mass.
- Ask your pastor to read our report on Foster and tie in foster and adoption in his homily. – English, Spanish
- Place our bulletin insert so families learn about fostering. – English, Spanish
- Place posters in the back of the church. – English, Spanish
- Order our prayer card to St. Jerome Emiliani, patron of foster children.
- Download flyers for CASA, Olive Crest, and Foster All
Schools & Religious Ed Classes: Host a Drive!
Youth in foster care often lack the basic clothes they need and have to carry all their belongings in trash bags. Collect something practical and fun like jeans for teens, pajamas on Pajama Day, socks with a Crazy Sock Day, prom dresses, backpacks around Back to School, or duffel bags. Donate the items to Love Gives Foster Closet or James Storehouse.
- Send flyers home with the kids – Send this bulletin insert home to families and include a little blurb on why you’re hosting a drive.
- Invite a speaker – after you collect the items, to present to your school students and parents about the need for foster families.
Educate Students with Respect Life Week Curriculum
Our annual Respect Life Week includes information for TK-12 about fostering and adoption, including a high school handout.
Families: Become a Foster Family
Is your family called to be a foster family to children in need? Learn more about what it takes, find real answers, and hear other foster/adoptive families about their experiences by visiting the complete list of organizations.
If your family does not feel called to be a foster family, you can support foster youth in other ways:
- Bringing meals and material needs to families who foster.
- Mentor foster kids through Big Brothers, Big Sisters or KidSave
- Host a family brunch for kids in group homes at the parish.
- Host drives for duffel bags or clothes for foster youth.
- Volunteer as a family with one of the organizations.
Individuals: Become a CASA or Foster Parent
Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs) are trained volunteers who represent and advocate for youth in the dependency court system. Each CASA represents the best interests of the child and makes a life-changing difference. Learn more HERE!
OTHER WAYS TO GET INVOLVED
Educate Yourself on Foster and Adoption
The Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) has regular orientations and expos to help prospective families begin the process to foster or adopt. For more information, call 1-888-811-1121
Join the Catholic Legislative Network
Sign up for the Catholic Legislative Network’s email alerts so you can raise your voice for children and youth in foster care in the California legislature.
Join the Los Angeles Faith Alliance
The Los Angeles County Faith Alliance (LACFA) is a network of interfaith communities united to serve LA County for the greatest impact. Partner. Advocate. Inform.
LACFA gives the faith community a unified voice and provides the framework to link together for the greatest impact.
Private or International Adoption
- Call Bethany Christian Services at 1-800-238-4269 or visit Bethany.org
- Visit Holy Family Services (through the Episcopal Church) at hfservices.ladiocese.org
- Visit BraveLove.org to find more adoption resources and stories.
- Watch this beautiful video “Embraced” to learn more about adoption.
Become a Safe Families Church
Safe Families is an innovative collaboration between area churches, volunteers and childcare professionals to support at-risk children and parents in need – with the goal of keeping children out of foster care. The parish community would support a family in crisis, whether the parents are facing sickness, hospital stays, homelessness, job loss, jail time, drug addiction, or another crisis. Trained families from the parish would welcome children under 18 years old into their homes free for as long as the family needs. The average length of stay is about six weeks and the biological family maintains parental rights. Visit Olive Crest to learn more about their local Safe Families program and watch this video about Safe Families.
Educate Yourself and Your Parish with Angelus News Articles:
- LA’s Foster Hero: A Mother of a Hundred Kids
- Fostering hope: L.A. churches part of growing foster care movement
- How to foster a culture of life: A suicide survivor’s miraculous witness
- Considering the options for infertile couples
- Wholly family: The joy of foster care
- Why women aren’t choosing adoption – and how pro-lifers can change that
- The perfect gift of adoption
- Johnny, Felicia, and Soren: An adoption story
- Life after foster care: How young adults are winding up on the streets
- A Plan That is Always Good
- Adoption and a Pro-Life Anthropology