It’s back-to-school season again, and by now, you’ve probably gotten the required supplies lists or seen the ads all over television and in your browser. As a foster parent, though, it can be extra tough to find the money to help the children in your care. To make matters worse, all the preparation in the world can’t make you ready for the little things that your kids “forgot” to tell you about. Whether that’s a critical binder, set of paintbrushes or a college application deadline, Foster and Adoptive Family Services (FAFS) has three foster care programs for back-to-school help that’ll assist you with some of the curveballs that come your way.
Kindergarten to Middle School: Fostering Wishes
A $100 dollar grant that you can apply for, the Fostering Wishes For Children program provides a little extra financial help so your foster child never misses an opportunity. If he needs more paint supplies for art class, or if she needs that new graphing calculator, Fostering Wishes can help offset the burden that you have to shoulder as a foster parent. You can even use this money to help cover registration fees for after-school activities like baseball or band. That way, you don’t have to worry – with FAFS and Fostering Wishes, you’ll know you can help them along.
Here are some recommended uses for Fostering Wishes for kids from K to 12th grade:
- School Portraits
- Computer Software
- Medical Alert Bracelet
- Digital Camera
- Binders and Notebooks
- Pencils, Crayons and Paint
- School Trips
- Sports or Club Registration Fee
High School: Fostering Wishes and Dreamers & Believers
If your kid is a senior in high school, the back-to-school season takes on a whole new meaning. The question of post-secondary education can be a daunting one to have with your foster child, but with help from FAFS programs, you can help them find all the resources they need to begin heading towards a career they’ll love. Believe it or not, you can apply the $100 from Fostering Wishes towards extra help along the way. Need some extra tutoring? No problem. Is your foster teen looking at getting a job right out of school, but they’ll need a driver’s license to get there? Fostering Wishes can be used to help pay for some of the costs of Driver’s Education courses.
As well as all the suggestions above, here are some recommended uses Fostering Wishes for kids in high school:
- Homecoming Items (Dress, Shoes, etc.)
- Prom Items (Tux, Bid, etc.)
- School, Band or Sport Uniform
- iPod or Tablet
- Senior Portraits
- Class Ring
- Driver’s Ed
Sometimes, though, your kid has big ideas. Maybe they just got back from camp and realized how badly they want to be a swimmer. Using the Dreamers & Believers grants, you can help your child get swimming lessons. Maybe they took a field trip to a planetarium for summer recreation and now they can’t stop talking about space! With Dreamers and Believers can help you afford space camp for your child.
Here are some opportunities you can provide your foster kids through Dreamers and Believers grants:
- Sports Camp/Training
- Writing Workshops/Seminars
- Dance and Music Lessons
- Horseback Riding Classes
PLEASE NOTE: The Dreamers and Believers Program has four separate application deadlines throughout the year. The next deadline is September 30th, 2018, so apply soon!
High School Seniors: NJFC Scholars Program
Of course, tutoring and Driver’s Ed are just two small steps on the road to post-secondary education. If your foster teen is considering college, the coming months will be filled with paperwork and processes like college applications and the FAFSA. The New Jersey Foster Care Scholars Program (NJFC) is another program that many teens can find helpful. With helpful scholarship associates to guide the way, NJFC can assist prospective students with filling out forms, explaining the application processes and more. Hosting more than seventy events last year, the FAFS Scholarship Department provided educational, networking and procedural assistance for foster teens looking to pursue post-secondary education. Finally, with an application to the NJFC program, eligible students who get accepted can receive monetary support for room and board, food and school supplies or educational supports. If you’re interested in finding out if your foster teen is eligible for NJFC, check out our website and application process.
To help in your post-secondary preparations, here are some people and places to consult:
Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Help!
FAFS has tons of programs and advice to help you give your foster children the best experiences possible. Don’t be afraid to reach out to us either through our Information Line (800.222.0047) or at our website! You can find more information on foster care programs here, or learn about other ways FAFS helps the foster care community in New Jersey. We hope our programs make this school year a little more affordable for you and your family.