Clothing. Infant equipment. Developmental Toys. For more than 20 years, the Foster Care Support Foundation in Roswell, Georgia has been providing all that to foster families, for free. They’ve served over 52,000 kids since 1996 and this year will serve around 4,000 children.
Rachel Ewald and her husband started the foundation because they saw a need. They were raising their four biological children and were also fostering, sometimes large sibling groups.
“We would have people come up to us and say, ‘I’d love to do that [foster] but it’s such an expense. I wish we could’. So we felt like we were really missing out on good quality, middle-income foster parents,” Ewald said.
“We thought if we had a resource that wasn’t government funded and didn’t belong to a private agency we could help meet that need. So we decided to create a public charity that was privately funded – that way we could help all the children in foster care by meeting their basic needs.”
FCSF serves basic-care foster children residing in Georgia’s foster homes, administered by the Division of Family and Children Services as well as children housed by private agencies. They also serve grandparents raising grandchildren and parents caring for relative’s children for a limited time.
“We stock a year’s inventory all the time,” Ewald said. “We keep boys and girls, summer and winter, preemie all the way up to extra large adult in stock, because kids come in all shapes and sizes. There’s isn’t another organization that runs like ours in the country! Where else can you go and get an entire seasonal wardrobe at once? It’s also special for the children because they can pick out their clothing, unless it’s a mailout. In that case our volunteers choose the wardrobe, which they love.”
Ewald and her staff depend on donors and volunteers to help keep the 20,000 square-foot facility and store, Fostering Hope Bargain Resale Store, running smoothly.
“I’m so proud of our community!” she said. “I would love to see us serve 10,000 children a year, but we would need to double our budget for sure. We desperately need sponsors right now.
“If we could get 1,000 people to each donate $25 a month for one year, it would help tremendously!”
If you’d like to donate, volunteer or discover how you can get clothes for your foster children, please visit Foster Care Support Foundation’s web site: fostercares.org.
Rachel’s Tips for Foster Families:
- As soon as a child comes into care, the foster parent can and should send their filled out appointment application by email to the email@example.com email address so we can schedule them. It helps if they put ‘new intake’ into the subject line for us to notice it among others. Forms not filled or incorrectly filled will delay the process, so we urge them to read and answer each question.
- Once they have an appointment scheduled, they should then contact their FaithBridge caseworker and ask them to email the verification agency-to-agency form to firstname.lastname@example.org (this form is not for the foster parent to share but is between FB and FCSF). We will then complete our verification process on our end to serve the child. It often only takes a day, so the sooner they send in the application and we receive the verification form, the sooner the child will be seen.
- They will receive a full seasonal wardrobe, toys, books, school supplies (for those agencies not supported by school supply drives already) and infant care equipment by age and development.
- Once TPR has occurred, and the child is in the home that will be their permanent placement, we relinquish the responsibility of providing for the child to the adopting family, because we believe that an adopted child should be no different than a biological child and should be provided for in the same way (they will still receive monthly per diem from the state until they are 18 yrs. old).
- Children aging out of the system can receive up to two years once no longer supported by a group home, institution or family.
- Fosters going to college are able to receive while attending college
- Grands raising grands with no biological family in their presence are able to receive to help the burden of financially providing for their kin after removal due to abuse, neglect or abandonment by the biological parent. (Private family arrangement or adoptions of children are not in our serving guide since there was no removal or abandonment, only an arrangement between family members, usually for convenience.)
- Prom-A-Palooza takes place about the 3rd week in February with a few dresses of each size kept aside afterwards for new intakes or those that may have missed the event. Registration forms go out around January 4th so look for that announcement just after the new year.