I would like to create a "Foster Closet" that can be utilized by local foster families to help them secure the items they may need for foster children who come into their care. A foster family may be given as little as 30 minutes to prepare for a new foster child to be placed within their home. Many foster families have a wide age range of children they will open their homes to, which makes having essential items difficult to always have on hand. We discovered this when we accepted our first foster child on New Year's Eve 2019. I had an hour an a half to prepare for my foster son's arrival and chose to spend it baking some cookies to welcome him and prepare my biological children for his arrival. My husband and I spent the next day at Target getting diapers and clothing, pacifiers and bottles and a few special toys and blanket for him. Any items a foster child needs comes out of pocket; with the anticipation that the $20something a day rate you get in subsidy is utilized for these items. Many foster families spend a lot of $ out of pocket to make sure foster children are well cared for. The next few weeks I spent arranging pick ups for the items we still needed by local families who answered my plea on local Mother's page on Facebook. The time it took us to track down donations to help us defray the cost and to secure the items was precious time that took away from much needed bonding time with our foster son. Many other communities have a "Foster Closet" where they store purchased or donated items that foster families can utilize upon getting a foster placement, or once their current foster child has outgrown items and have new needs. It is a one-stop shop that allows foster families to provide a list of items they need and have their order filled and often times delivered right to them. It offers financial help for foster families, many of whom are faced with a child arriving with nothing, or 1 days worth of items. Subsidy can take up to 2 months to be paid.
Funded by Gloucester, MA (September 2020)