Foster Care Awareness -Ways Teens Can Get Involved

My family has been involved in foster care for many years, and I have been bringing awareness to foster care through the Voice of Frisco. This is the third article in a 3-part series, where I want to share ways students can become involved with foster care (also see Part 1 – an interview with a Casa Worker: and Part 2 – an interview with a Case Worker: 

In my family’s experience with foster care, we have often gotten questions about how to get involved in foster care, without being a licensed foster home. Most people would think that the only way to get involved in foster care is by becoming a foster home, but that is not the case at all. For teens especially, you most likely think that you can only get involved in foster care if you are an adult. Really, there are tons of ways you can get involved if you are interested! In this article, I will give you information, details, and resources to help you get started in being involved in foster care if you choose to. 

The number one way to support kids in foster care is to be there for them. Everyone’s lives, experiences, and stories are their own, not others. Other people’s stories are not your business, being their friend and supporting them is your business. Asking questions and prying for information is not going to get you or the child in foster care anywhere. For example, I have heard people say to my foster brothers questions like, “Why do you look different than the rest of your brothers?” or, “She isn’t your real mom, what did your real mom do?”  When people ask questions like that, it always puts us in an uncomfortable situation, as well as hurts my foster brothers’ feelings. Keep in mind the feelings and experiences of others. 

The most direct way of getting involved in foster care is through donations. Every county’s CPS office has a Rainbow Room, where all the donations go. The idea is, when a kid in foster care is going to a new home, their CPS Case Worker can go to the Rainbow Rooms to collect the basic items they need. This can be clothing, toiletries, and baby items. Rainbow Rooms are often understocked and don’t have everything a child needs. If you would like to collect donations, Rainbow Rooms are a great resource to support. Before you start collecting donations, you must remember that all children deserve the best. They need to feel like they are worthy and valued, which means that they deserve clothing, accessories, etc, that are new. Keep in mind, each Rainbow Room will have specific things that they need, and often the highest needs are for new underwear and pajamas in all sizes and formula for babies. If you are thinking of donating, go to the links below:

Collin County: 

Collin County’s Rainbow room has an Amazon wishlist of all the things they need. If you order from their Amazon wishlist, your donations will go straight to them. This can be very convenient if you don’t want to or don’t have time to go and drop off your donations. 

Denton County:,with%20emergency%20and%20transitional%20resources

Volunteering is another great way for teens to get involved. Embrace is one place to go to find volunteer opportunities. Embrace is a not-for-profit that supports children in foster care and their caregivers. Their website has ways to get involved, information about foster care, organizations, etc. When you apply, you need to contact the agency asking if you can volunteer. This can vary from sorting items, organizing donation drives, helping with apartment packs, etc. Anything that they need help with, they will let you know. Keep in mind, that volunteering is a responsibility and will take hard work. If you are part of a Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts group, volunteering as a group is another fantastic option. Go to this link for more information and contact Embrace if you would like to get started: 

Babysitting is an excellent option for teens who have experience in babysitting. However, if you are going to be babysitting, there are minimum standards that must be followed according to state law. First off, you must be 16 years or older. You must maintain a current CPR and First Aid certification, and you must have a background check including fingerprints. For the background check, you first need to connect with an agency or directly through CPS, as they are the ones to place a request for fingerprints. Also, you should most likely know of foster homes in your community that will allow you to babysit for their kids. If you do not know of any foster homes in your area, but still want to babysit, you can contact an agency and they will help you find a home that needs a babysitter. You need to know that babysitting will be a big responsibility. You need to be willing to learn about kids with trauma and understand that discipline will be very different when babysitting for kids in foster care. You will most likely not know how to do everything your first time you babysit for a kid in foster care and will need practice, or to spend time with the foster family to learn from the foster parents. Just remember and keep in mind that their experiences are extremely different than yours. This does not mean you need to know their experiences specifically, just know that they have overcome a lot of change and will not respond to things the same as other kids you may have babysat.

A few local foster agencies are listed here:

CK Family Services

Caring Hearts for Children 


Harbor of Hope 

Keep in mind, the list of agencies above are just some of the tons around our area. These are a few that my family have been a part of and are familiar with. You are not limited to the list above.

I hope this article is helpful to you if you are thinking of being involved in foster care. As a teen, it can be hard to find resources and information about ways you can get involved in things you care about. As a teen myself, this is one of the main reasons I wrote this article. Feel free to share this article with anyone you think would be interested. Just know that you don’t have to make final decisions. Look around and explore the links above. Other agencies may have other volunteering opportunities that I have not listed above that may interest you. Overall, your age should not limit you from making a difference in others’ lives!