The Need – Milwaukee

In Milwaukee County, there are approximately 2200 children and teens living outside their own homes because of abuse or neglect. Of these, approximately 1300 reside in foster family homes. We face an ongoing shortage of these homes. foster pair

Foster parents are not employed to care for the children in their home; they volunteer.  Stipends cover a portion of housing, food and clothing costs, but many foster parents use their own funds to give the children the same clothes or opportunities as their biologic children.

Foster parents are overwhelmed. They must regularly keep in contact with the courts and the system that oversees the welfare of each child. They not only feed and shelter children, but they ensure regular contact with their biological families, take children to therapies, court appointments, and doctor appointments. They desire to provide stability, nurture and a sense of community for each child. If there is more than one child in foster care in the family, the burdened is multiplied. Foster parents often run out of personal resources or time to provide more than just the basics.

Foster parents find it difficult to persist. It is difficult work, with little incentive or reward. People who foster are increasingly isolated and frustrated. Those who hang in there are amazingly committed – but there are far too few of them.

If foster parents were to get a little help and support from their community, they would be able to continue to fulfill this important need. If extra hands could help share in all the tasks and duties, more time would be available for the foster parents to create the stable, nurturing, enriched environments in their homes that promote healing.

That is where Fostering Hope comes in. We provide those supports to foster families, so they can persist in doing the difficult task of fostering children who have challenging needs.