Recently I was asked to write a plan that includes ideas for how to involve a city council of a large Midwestern city in National Foster Care month. I'm sharing it here because it may give some of you ideas for driving more awareness for foster youth in your city for either National Foster Care Month or National Adoption Month.
Important Dates to Keep in Mind
Every year, May is National Foster Care Awareness Month and November is National Adoption Month (with much emphasis put on adopting out of foster care) in the United States. November 19 is the official “National Adoption Day” for 2016.
City Council Program Goals
• Raise awareness of the plight of children in foster care
• Encourage people to become adoptive parents, foster parents and foster youth mentors/CASAs
• Encourage social worker students to consider a career in child welfare/foster care support
• Promote programs and events happening around the city with existing foster care and adoption agencies in conjunction with foster care/adoption awareness month
• Create a fundraiser with the proceeds going to support local organizations
Potential Initiatives (Change May dates and "foster care" themes for November and "adoption themes" for National Adoption Month)
• Early or mid-May, City Council Passes a Resolution recognizing May of every year as Foster Care Awareness Month in [city]. Invite foster children, foster alumni, foster parents, DFS and other prominent foster care organization reps to come celebrate passage of local resolution. Invite local media
• Create Foster Care Awareness Month page on City Council website
• Invite city foster care-related organizations to submit/list their information and also their Foster Care Awareness Month events on the page (such as walk-a-thons, Foster Parent Info sessions around city, etc.)
• Pull information about Foster Care Awareness Month from this national info page https://www.childwelfare.gov/fostercaremonth for [city] page
• Create t-shirt fundraiser program via DoingGood.works. If you do a t-shirt fundraiser, have foour foster youth submit designs for t-shirts. Can put citylogo and any other logo on it as well.
• Have a T-Shirt fundraiser to put 100 kids through Seal'd for Purpose, an online training program for foster youth developed by Navy Seals. Advertise fundraiser on city council website and mention it during Resolution day. Goal is to sell 20K shirts to put 100 area current/former foster youth through the year-long Navy Seals online training program. The training program focuses on Courage, Honor, Respect, Responsibility, Communication, Confidence, Perseverance and Innovation and prepares them for future success—Seal’s Style! For more info, visit DoingGood.works.
• Have a Heart Gallery Exhibit in a prominent city location and promote on resolution day. Heart Gallery is a traveling photographic and audio exhibit created to find forever families for children in foster care. For more information, visit Heart Gallery of America.
• Create/advertise adoptive/foster parent/mentor information sessions. Provide an informational session and Q&A session at a local University with a school of social work to educate social worker students about working with foster youth (this is a non-paid session but you help sell fundraiser t-shirts)
Good luck. Contact me with questions. Keep on advocating!!!