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Treehouse and National Foster Care Month

May (THIS month!) is National Foster Care Month.

Related: IT’S MAY ALREADY?!!!

I was asked by Treehouse to share with you about their organization to help raise awareness about the issues facing foster children in Washington state. They are a leading Washington nonprofit organization working to address the essential education and enrichment needs of kids in foster care.

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I know not all of my readers here live in Washington state, but the needs of foster children exist all across the country. If you are reading this and do not live in Washington, I encourage you to find a local program that supports foster children in your area and find out how you can support their efforts.

Treehouse serves youth who struggle against tremendous odds: backgrounds of abuse and neglect, parental substance abuse, low incomes, and moves from foster home to foster home while in the care of the state. Treehouse helps 6,000 foster kids each year through programs that help them succeed in school, fulfill key material needs, and provide important childhood experiences every child deserves.

Treehouse is dedicated to closing the achievement gap between foster children and their peers, and has set an ambitious goal that foster youth in King County will graduate high school at the same rate as their peers with a plan for their future by 2017.

Today, Treehouse has a team of 100+ professionals addressing the specific educational needs and circumstances of 6,000 foster children across Washington State. This is accomplished through academic and enrichment programs like Graduation Success. Through this program Treehouse provides education planning, coaching and support to build each youth’s engagement and investment in their education and their future. Treehouse provides education support services in more than 100 middle schools and high schools in 15 King County School Districts.

These children have many other needs as well… basic needs that can easily be met when there is the financial support needed. Many of these kiddos arrive to their new families with little but the clothes on their back. The Wearhouse is a free store located in Seattle where foster kids shop for new and like-new clothing, books, toys and other things to help them feel good and fit in. Eligible foster youth can shop up to five times each year, plus a special holiday shopping visit in December. Emergency visits can be arranged when children enter out-of-home placement.

And then there’s the Little Wishes program The Treehouse helps pay for activities that every child deserves to explore and enjoy. Treehouse provides access to extracurricular activities like sports, music, dance and clubs, as well as school.

By supporting this program, and other programs like The Treeshouse, we can make a difference in the lives of local foster children. Foster kids deserve clothing and school back packs that are filled with supplies, toys of their own… They deserve to join soccer clubs and ballet.

Foster families work hard to provide for these kids who are growing up without homes of their own. Foster families pour tons of love into their foster children.. They give and give and give. Did you know they are reimbursed only about 60% of the cost of raising a child? As the commercial says, “Not everyone can be a foster parent, but we can all help a foster child…”

That is where those who do not foster parent come in. Maybe we are unable to foster a child, but we can support those kids who deserve every shot at learning, and deserve the chance to develop interests and skills, and deserve their very own stuffed animal and new pair of shoes.

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Foster families provide all they can, but they can’t provide everything… especially in the transition when a child is removed from their home.

Please visit (and like!) Treehouse on Facebook, and follow them on Twitter to keep up on ways you can help. There are many ways we can support foster children and foster families.

Friends… I know there are lots of organizations, large and small, asking for help. This is a needy time. Until I was made aware that there was a way I could help (I am not a foster parent) I didn’t give it much thought.

But guys… the more I learn, and the more I really think about what is going on here – like many  children being suddenly pulled from their homes for their own safety… and they leave with only the clothes they were wearing… it breaks my heart.

BREAKS IT.

Foster families provide so much, but as they say… it takes a village and if you and me can help make a child’s transition easier, even kinder… in a very scary time, then that should be done.

Please take the time to check out Treehouse. Or local friends… check out Kitsap Foster Care Association. Or a simple web search for your foster associations in your are would not be a difficult task.

Peace. Sparkles. And show love to our kiddos… our own and the ones growing up in our communities.

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