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You can make a difference in the life of a foster child! From Kids Matter, Inc. in Wisconsin comes this wonderful and inspiring list of how you can help.

We all care about children and we all have unique ways we can contribute. Here are some suggestions of how you can make a difference for children in kinship and foster care with whatever you have to offer. Perhaps once you take your first step, you will see what an impact one person can make.

if you have five minutes…

Register to give back when you shop. Pick n’ Save’s We Care program allows shoppers who use their Advantage Plus Savers Club card to send a percentage of what they spend on groceries to the non-profit of their choice. Contributing to Kids Matter Inc. allows us to help abused and neglected children in Milwaukee heal and thrive. Sign up for the card and/ or register to send your contributions to Kids Matter Inc. at your local Pick n’ Save. The Kids Matter Pick n’ Save – We Care ID number is 508925.

if you have an hour…

Learn the issues. Talk to a child in foster care about their experiences or hear stories online. Watch foster care alumni speak out about what matters to them through the Kids Are Waiting campaign and the National Court Appointed Special Advocate website. Take a free online class in the FosterClub library. If you have questions about what you learn, call Kids Matter Inc. at 414-344-1220.

Contact your state representatives. Milwaukee County’s child welfare system is run by the State of Wisconsin. Find out who your Wisconsin representative and senator are and how to contact them. Ask them about their positions on child protection issues. Let them know that you are a citizen who cares about child safety and well-being and challenge them to stand up for our children.

if you have an afternoon…

Put together a Fostering Hope Package. When children are removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect, their few belongings are often put in a garbage bag to be moved with them. A Fostering Hope Package gives children some dignity by providing an age-appropriate bag, blanket, stuffed animal and personal hygiene items. Your group of friends, scout troop, neighborhood, coworkers, classmates, church group or anyone can make a donation to the project or make up a personalized Fostering Hope Package. Ideas for what to include are listed on our Fostering Hope page.

Donate your talent. Whether it is building shelves, juggling or alphabetizing, everyone has a special talent that could help kids in care through Kids Matter Inc. or another organization. If you’re ready to share your talent contact Kids Matter Inc. and we will make sure to match your talent to a need for our children.

if you have a weekend…

Organize a donation drive. Once you see how good it feels to put together a Fostering Hope Package, get your whole neighborhood, school, office or church involved. Kids Matter Inc. also accepts donations of snack items for kids who have been detained, new or gently used baby clothes and new toys. Our Fostering Hope page has information on what to include in Fostering Hope bags.

Provide respite care. Sometimes foster parents are hospitalized, have a death in their family, or want to take a vacation out of state. Taking in a foster care child for a week or two provides foster parents the respite they need to take care of themselves as well as the children for which they care. To do this you will need to become a licensed foster care parent.

if you have a couple of hours a week…

Become a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Volunteer. Kids Matter CASA trains community volunteers who are then appointed by a judge to speak for a child in Milwaukee County Children’s Court. Click here to learn more and fill out an application for the Kids Matter CASA program in Milwaukee County. CASA is a national organization. If you do not live in Milwaukee, find a CASA program near you.

Mentor a foster child. Foster children need the guidance and caring you can provide. Contact Big Brothers Big Sisters or Milwaukee Mentors and ask to mentor a foster child. The Orphan Foundation of America sponsors a virtual mentoring program for foster youth through their website.

if you have room in your home and your heart…

Become a foster parent. Foster parents play a critical role in helping abused and neglected children thrive. You should explore both standard and treatment foster care options before deciding on an agency. Children’s Service Society of Wisconsin licenses standard and treatment foster care parents in Milwaukee. Other treatment foster care agencies in Milwaukee include My Home Your Home, Inc.,Fresh Start Milwaukee and St. Aemilian-Lakeside.

if you have a lifetime to give to a child…

Adopt. There are many children in Milwaukee who need the love and stability of a new family. In Milwaukee, contact the Adoption Resources of WI for more information.

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