The COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect children across the county, but perhaps none so much as local foster youth. Imagine being pulled out of your home and sent to a new county, a new school, even a new area of the state. That’s the reality that more than 40 percent of Marin’s foster kids face now.
The pandemic has exacerbated an already difficult situation, according to Bree Marchman, Division Director of Marin County Children and Family Services. Reduced interest in taking in foster youth has enlarged the deficit of available homes, forcing social workers to place kids outside the county. “It’s really created a massive impact on the children,” Marchman says, emphasizing the difficulties of such a dramatic change in location on kids already recovering from trauma and neglect.
The good news is that there are a lot of ways to help. With about 80 Marin kids needing care at a given time, the most pressing need is for resource families able to take foster youth into their homes. And before you count yourself out of consideration, know that the foster program is interested in all kinds of people: single, married, straight, queer, first-time parents, families with kids, homeowners, renters. “We have resource families of every type and shape and size,” Marchman explains. Coaching, supplies, and community support are all available when you volunteer.
The positive impact resource families can have on foster youth, and on our society at large, is immeasurable. “I can’t think of a way you could better impact the world than to try to shape someone and help them heal from having such a difficult early experience in life,” Marchman says, encouraging anyone who is interested to go online and learn more.
Visit FosterOurFutureMarin.org to learn more about becoming a resource family and other opportunities to help foster youth. No pressure, no obligation orientations are held online monthly.
How to Help
- Become a Resource Family. Open your home to kids in need of support and a place to live on a short or long-term basis. Ensure that Marin kids can stay in familiar surroundings.
- Become a Friend of the Family. Volunteer to deliver meals, drive kids to sports practice, or donate goods or services.
- Become a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) in Marin. Serve as an advocate and friend to foster youth, advising the court on a foster child’s best interests.
- Volunteer with the Marin Foster Care Association (MFCA) to raise funds and increase awareness.
- Donate to Marin CASA or the MFCA. Donations can go toward everything from buying a foster child a musical instrument to effectively training volunteers. The MFCA runs a Community Resource Center that accepts donations of supplies, clothes, diapers, and toys. Email email@example.com to inquire about current needs.