The holiday season is soon upon us, and with the season comes a raft of issues that extend to foster youth. To whose home might a foster child be invited for the holidays? Is it the best choice for the foster child? How do blended families offer a holiday welcome to foster children?
Families with long-held holiday traditions can make special cases for foster kids. It’s all about bringing them in and letting them soak in the holidays around loved ones. After all, since foster care is a temporary parenting situation, parents should bring as much joy as possible to foster kids. Read on to get some ideas for a joyous holiday season with foster kids and foster parents. But first, a little background on the most current state of foster care.
How many children are in foster care? The good news is the numbers are declining, but they are still too high for those involved. The Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) and the Children’s Bureau Administration for Children and Families showed that as of September 2011 there were slightly more than 400,000 children in foster care. That a 22 percent decline from 1999’s 67,000 children in foster care. The most recent report showed that from the estimated 400,540 children in foster care on September 30, 2011:
- 45 percent of children – less than a year in care
- 23 percent – 1-2 years
- 11 percent – 2-3 years
- 10 percent – 3-4 years
- 10 percent – 5 years or more
While numbers are declining, there are still opportunities for parents wishing to become foster parents.
Holidays for Everybody
When the holidays come around every year, it can cause stress for family travel and family rituals. Tensions between parents and their natural children may conflict with needs of the foster children. Parents need to show a little grace during the holiday season. It may include more trips to the local bakery for holiday-infused treats for foster kids or helping trim the family Christmas tree come to life. Stick with traditions that can involved the foster children every step of the way.
Families can bring holiday joy to foster children in other ways around the holidays. There may be foster children whose presence is warmly remembered by a foster family, but are no longer living with the family. If the child has a current mailing address, the family should design a customized Christmas card. Sending a card around the holidays can mean so much to a foster child. Minted has great cards for that, so click here for card styles and design options.
Share in the Season
When was the last time you saw a live stage version of “A Christmas Carol,” “The Nutcracker” or “Christmas on 34th St”? In many towns around the U.S., there are generally fun holiday entertainment options to pursue. Bring your kids and foster children to an excellent reading of some of the country’s most cherished live plays.
Holiday Light Shows
Bring the foster children on a car tour to designated holiday light shows. You might even try driving on your own around neighborhoods that show off with lights, statues and holiday extravaganzas in front of their homes. Most town news sites offer information on holiday hot spots.
If you can share the holidays in these ways with your foster kids, you’ll find extra meaning in the holidays for everyone involved.