Fostering Community's mission is to improve the lives of children impacted by foster care through advocacy, resources, and support.
Fostering Community works to improve the lives of children impacted by foster care through advocacy, resources, and support. We aim to provide a holistic approach to supporting foster care from the initial entry of children into foster care to those exiting the system. We recruit new foster parents and pair them with experienced foster parents who are trained mentors. Mentors support new foster parents on their foster care journey by providing information, resources, and ongoing support through their first placement. We also equip foster parents with trauma-based information and trainings, so that they can bring hope and healing to the children they are welcoming into their home. Fostering Community provides first night supplies at DCFS offices, so that children have clothing and hygiene supplies when they first enter foster care. We recently moved into our beautiful new space that houses The Foster Care Closet, a small library, and all of our programs. We host birth family visitations, foster parent support group meetings and educational trainings, coffee and conversation meetups, youth community nights, and fun events. When foster parents welcome a child into their family, they visit Fostering Community to pick up a freezer meal for their first night and receive resources at our Foster Care closet. The Foster Care Closet is a free boutique for children in foster care. We provide beds, baby gear, clothes, shoes, diapers, school uniforms, hygiene supplies, toys, and more. While children are on their foster care journey, they can visit with casa advocates and their birth parents at Fostering Community. The welcoming environment inside Fostering Community and our outdoor playground are the perfect place for parents to bond and make memories with their children. Nikki, a young mom who visited her daughter at Fostering Community, stated “Thank you for allowing us to visit at your space. When I was a child, I was in foster care, too. I wish I had a place like this where I could have visited with my mom. I love it here and want to volunteer and help you guys at Fostering Community.”
There are almost 4,000 children in foster care in Louisiana and about 400 are spread across the 8-parish Alexandria region. Last year, Rapides Parish had the highest count of child abuse and neglect cases in the state. Most of our programs are focused in the Alexandria region, but some of them are statewide. Children in foster care range from newborn all the way to age 23. We have a Youth Partnership Program to better meet the needs of our local youth. Fostering Community’s Youth Partners are ages 15-23 who have had experience in the foster care system. Youth partners are directly involved in critical thinking, decision making, assisting planning events, and advocating on behalf of youth in our community. These young adults also learn new skills through their experiences with Fostering Community. Each month, we host a themed Youth Community event with fun activities and games. At our first youth community event, a young lady named Chloe said “I didn’t know there were other teens in foster care. I thought I was the only one.” At each event, we ask adults who were former foster youth to share their story and help encourage and empower our former foster youth. We teach life skills and cooking classes at our Youth Community Events. We are researching avenues to help these youth with transitional housing and support after exiting foster care. Our goal for youth who exit the foster care system is to exceed current outcomes and be successful young adults.