In Kentucky, there are over 9,000 kids in foster care. The need for foster and adoptive parents is great and may seem overwhelming, but there are so many ways you can change the life of a child in need. Maybe you’ve considered becoming a foster or adoptive parent, but you are not able to because of life’s circumstances. Maybe you don’t have the desire to become a foster or adoptive parent, but desire to help in some way. You don’t have to foster or adopt to make a difference in the lives of vulnerable families and children in your community. To help a foster youth, you don’t have to have a psychology degree or be a therapist. You don’t have to give up hours upon hours to help change the lives of those around you. We need YOU to do your part!
What Can You Do to Help?
Here are a some unique opportunities to volunteer either through OCA or in the community that maybe you have never even thought about, but could make a huge difference in the life of a child.
- Become an education surrogate. Did you know that some children do not have a parent who can be a part of their IEP team? You could stand in for a child.
IDEA was reauthorized in 2004. The purpose of this law and its regulations is to make sure that all children and youth with disabilities have available to them a FAPE. Another purpose of the law is to make sure that the rights of children and youth with disabilities and their parents or guardians are protected. One of the requirements of IDEA is to assign a surrogate parent to students who have no parents or guardians to represent them in educational decision-making. Why is the assignment of a Surrogate Parent necessary?
1. No parents can be identified.
2. The school district cannot determine the whereabouts of a parent after reasonable attempts to do so.
3. The child is a ward of the state, or
4. The child is an unaccompanied homeless youth (McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act)
Contact Lisa Batchelor at email@example.com if you would like more information about how you can become an education surrogate.
- Become a volunteer for the Citizen Foster Care Review Board.
More information can be found here: https://courts.ky.gov/courtprograms/cfcrb/Pages/default.aspx
- Volunteer to help watch kids during foster care training. We have an organization looking for volunteers to help on a bi-monthly or possibly a monthly basis on one Saturday a month. Contact us for more information. *must be over 18 and have a background check.
- Volunteer to answer OCA’s Safe Harbor hotline. We need people willing to answer the hotline from 4-8 PM on weekdays and Saturdays from 8AM to noon. We can set it up for you to answer calls from your own home and train you on how to fill out the intake paperwork.
- Volunteer to set up a support group around foster and adoptive families in your church or neighborhood. Did you know that many foster and adoptive parents feel isolated or overwhelmed? Set up a team of people to take them dinner a couple times a month, watch the family’s other children while a parent takes one child to a therapy appointment, or just to encourage and surround the family with whatever support they need. Every family is different, but I guarantee if you get to know a foster or adoptive family, you will find they can’t do what they do alone.
OCA also offers opportunities to volunteer through our Safe Harbor, Life Coaching, and Family Support ministries in Louisville, southern Indiana, Bowling Green, Elizabethtown, and Lexington.
If you would like more information about any of these ministries, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. It takes a community of care to surround the vulnerable children and families in our church or neighborhood.
Take some time to think about how you can get involved in this community and volunteer to make a difference today!