Foster Care Awareness: Care Community Volunteer Opportunity
May is national foster care awareness month. As we jump into June, we're taking a last look at one way community members can support foster families-- even if they themselves can't foster.
"It's stressful- I'm a single mom. so it's stressful to go from one 10 year old to 3."
Kelly Quinn has been a kinship parent for over 5 months.
"This one lady, I just adore her, she brought her meal, and then had rubber gloves and offered to do my dishes."
Quinn it not tackling the challenges of fostering alone. She is supported by a care community-- a group of 5-7 families that gather to support a single foster family.
"They make meals, they drive my kids to school, they babysit"
Care communities are organized by keystone family alliance, an organization that works to connect churches and foster families. The group started 13 years ago in center county, but in the last year & a half has expanded to 10 other counties in the state of Pennsylvania.
"Research shows that a foster family without support is 50% more likely to quit after 1 year."
In Erie county there are 412 kids in foster care, 123 are legally free for adoption, but there's only 171 licensed foster families.
Jess Peterson, Erie county coordinator for Keystone Family Alliance, says that not everyone can be a foster family, but everyone can do something.
"The kids feel loved and supported. they need to know it's not just 1 person who loves them, but all of these people," said Quinn.
For more information about Keystone Family Organization, visit keyfam.org
For more information about volunteer opportunities or resources for foster care in Erie county in a general capacity, visit fostererie.org.