Fostering Great Ideas improves the experience for every child in foster care. Knowing that losses multiply, and stress amplifies the longer a child stays in care, our goal is to provide support throughout the foster care journey, ultimately resulting in lives back on track. Partner with us in your community – and change the life of a child.
Children in foster care need to know they matter.
- Operation Bear Hug®
Donate bears for children when they experiencing the trauma of separation.
- Making Memories®
Donate crafts for families trying to reconnect.
- Thanksgiving Grace®
Host a Thanksgiving meal for children in care and their birth families.
- Carry On®
Donate luggage for children moving from home to home.
Healthy relationships are key to long-term well-being.
- Moms Matter™
Encourage birth moms to reach goals on their treatment plan.
- Stable Home™
Provide foster family support during placement to prevent disruption.
Connect siblings who are in different foster placements.
- Life Support®
Mentor youth to become confident, successful young adults.
- Foster Parent Workshops
Help foster parents navigate through stressful family situations.
Reform is possible when caring individuals come together.
- Life In Limbo®
Explore the needs of vulnerable children through interactive role play.
Be inspired, learn, and become a foster parent.
Launch or refresh faith-based foster care ministries.
- Speak Up: Voices for Foster Care Reform®
Join a movement to reform foster care.
Full program implementation guides, success measurement tools, and live consultations provided with each program. Contact Us today about launching one or more of these affordable programs in your community or organization.
Operation Bear Hug®
The moment a child is removed from her home, due to severe neglect or abuse… The moment a child waits to see his parents again… The moment a child says goodbye forever to his family… For these painful moments, we give bears to hug, to comfort and to lessen the trauma.
Operation Bear Hug is powered by donations of new and gently used, huggable bears.
When children enter foster care, the “family visit” provides a venue for broken families to begin healing.Nationally, improving these family visits is a priority, as healthy family bonds are critical for child development. Providing crafts for family visits gives parents a tool to re-engage with their children. Statistically, half of children in foster care go back to mom or dad, so positive connections are critical.
On the Saturday before Thanksgiving, birth families reunite with their child(ren)for a Thanksgiving meal, providing positive memories at this difficult time. Fostering Great Ideas partners with area churches to host several families who are working to reunite with their children. Volunteers bring the turkeys and the fixin’s for a family-style meal. At the end of the meal, birth parents go home and children in foster care return to their foster families and group homes, but each take a meaningful memory back with them. Thanksgiving Grace offers a compassionate way to touch families in crisis.
In the U.S., 400,000 children live in foster care. When a child moves, trash bags are often used to carry the child’s possessions. A simple suitcase says “you count.”In partnership with Social Services, new & gently used luggage is collected and distributed, so children can “carry on” to their next placement with dignity.
Losing a child from the home (and the conditions that led to that moment) can be devastating; but families can recover and heal. Ultimately, every child wants to go home. Over half of children in foster care go back to their birth home or to relatives. Birth parents can, and do, heal. We believe the most important component of healing is support. Some parents get angry, others depressed, some stay in denial, others start quickly on their Court Ordered Treatment Plan. For moms, a free, peer support group is available. A trained facilitator guides the discussion and encourages each participant to break down treatment plan goals into smaller tasks. All moms want their children back. “Moms Matter” helps them on their journey.
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A child’s foster placement is important. When a child stays in a home, relationships can form and the treatment team can work on helping a child to heal instead of working through the crisis of further loss and trauma. Nationally, 37% of children in care between 12 and 24 months will move 3 or more times. Can we do better? How? The best model for foster placement stability is the “Therapeutic Foster Care (TFC)” model. Medicaid funds in-home therapists to enter a foster placement twice per month or more, providing family therapy. Fostering Great Ideas believes this family therapy should be used for every child entering care, resulting in less chance of placement disruption, and stronger foster family units.
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When the case management team believes more sibling contact is needed, Sib-Link orchestrates additional visits at regular, monthly intervals. Sibling bonds grow. Anxiety related to loss and isolation lowers. Child well-being increases, as the foundation for a life-long connection is laid.
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Teens who age out of foster care at ages 18-21 have rocky statistics. Only 33% have a driver’s license and 56% have a high school diploma. We believe our community can reverse these bleak statistics by matching teens with adult mentors to provide ongoing emotional support and guidance.Life Support mentors commit to visiting a youth in foster care twice per month, and this is often a multi-year commitment. Mentors actively listen to hopes, fears, and dreams. They become an important part of the child’s journey towards better outcomes.
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Our Foster Parent Workshops provide support where we see a need:
Now What?!®– Support for families who struggle with fostering a child. Now What?! provides a basis for discussion with other foster parents and professionals.
Our Common Loss® – Training where foster families learn to grieve the loss of a child who has left their home, either to go back to family or because there was a “disruption” in the foster home setting.
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Life in Limbo ®
What’s it like to live in foster care? How does it feel when your child is taken from you? How do foster parents cope? Explore these and other questions as a participant of Life in Limbo. As a participant, you choose to be a child in care, a foster parent, or a birth parent. Emotions run high as the children feel anxiety, anger, and hope. Foster parents do all they can to provide a stable environment. Birth parents get real – how badly do they want their child back, and are they able to “get clean” and meet their treatment plan. Discussion is robust and follow-up is provided for those who want to do more.
View our Life In Limbo video to preview the experience:
Life In Limbo from Fostering Great Ideas on Vimeo.
How can I become a foster parent? How can I help my community? Fostering Great Idea’s vision is to create a national online resource to house information about foster care and connect those who share a common interest. Visit Care2Foster.org.
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This step-by-step process helps your church or organization reach out to those who need care and support.Steps for S.O.A.P. include:
(S) Support– Develop a Foster Adopt Support Team whose sole purpose is significant support to the congregants who foster and adopt.
(O) Options– Once foster and adoptive parents feel congregant support that is ongoing and meaningful, others in the ministry will see the Spirit’s work and ask to serve. Provide a range of options.
(A) Awareness– Now, the ministry team has grown and each member has purpose and understanding. At this point, it is time to reach out to the broader congregation, making them aware of the need, so they can join the work.
(P) Perseverance– No time to relax. Moving folks from awareness with events and celebrations into a commitment to the ministry’s difficult work is a critical, all-encompassing task.
Speak Up:Voices for Foster Care Reform®
A grass-roots effort relying upon the collective voices of passionate volunteers working together to bring about policy change. Learn more here.