Advocating for Change in the System

There is a lot of misinformation and confusion surrounding children in foster care, the foster parents and relatives who care for them and the biological parents who are working to reunify with their kids. 

Foster Village brings dignity to the children and families we serve, understanding the root causes of why a child ends up in the foster care system, facilitating relationships between foster families and biological families and replicating communities of support around the nation. As part of our effort to build “community beyond the system,” we present honest and accurate information about our vulnerable neighbors, the challenges they face and the need for a supportive community.

When churches, companies and individuals come alongside those involved in the child welfare system, something beautiful happens: all parties are changed for the better.

Community Awareness
Though everyone is aware of the child welfare system, most people in our communities do not have personal experience with it. There are few ways to connect with and get to know children in foster care without personally becoming a foster parent. This often creates a gap between the need in the community and those who live their lives unaffected by it.

We create empathy and awareness between foster parents and children in foster care and the community at large, helping shed a light on the need through research and storytelling. We also speak at businesses, churches and community organizations to help educate on how the community can be involved with foster care. By building awareness, encouraging compassion and presenting needs, we give names and faces to those involved in foster care, thus building a bridge between those “in the system” and the community members who understand that we can make a difference when we work together. 

Policy Reform
As we work on the front lines and connect personally with the needs of foster families and biological families, we understand many of the complex dynamics and unseen challenges families in the child welfare system face. We are here to bridge the gap between the people making the laws and creating the systems and the people living in them every day. 

Our team regularly meets with local and national policy makers to present real life stories and share information about what we are seeing and hearing from families, what we believe needs to change and ways that we can more holistically serve vulnerable children and families. Using our personal experience, child development training and trauma-informed background, we strive to bring more dignity and humanity to our child welfare system and empower policy makers to better understand and serve the families they are there to help.

Partners in Permanency 
Abuse and/or neglect of children is never acceptable; however, we know that it is oftentimes cyclical and generational. Often, biological parents have faced countless hardships of their own, including unstable childhoods, generational challenges, and their own foster care experiences that have put them in the position of not being equipped to care for their child(ren). Isolation and lack of support are the real villains in the story.

We also believe that children thrive when they are surrounded by a community of caring adults, including their foster family and their biological family. Unfortunately, the narrative often pits foster families against biological families, creating an environment where the biological family is villainized, and the foster family is cut out when a child is reunified with their biological family. This means biological families rarely get the support they need, creating a cycle where children are often in and out of the system.

Partners in Permanency is a program designed to create a healthier reunification process for children and their biological families by surrounding them with a village of support as they transition back into life together. We coach foster parents on how to be a healthy support system to the reunifying family and create environments where foster families and biological families can both be involved in the child’s life.

When we do this, biological families are better equipped to overcome the adversity that put them in the child welfare system in the first place and build new, permanent lives for their families – while their children maintain loving relationships with those who supported them along the way. 

Through Partners in Permanency, foster parents have the opportunity to develop relational skills and strategies to build a foundation of lifelong connection with the families of children in their care. Foster parents who are members of this initiative also have the opportunity to nominate biological families for our extended holistic support services during the reunification process. For questions or inquiries, please contact christina@fostervillageaustin.org.

Affiliate Program

There are two questions we hear over and over: “Is there a Foster Village in my location?” and if not, “How can I start one?”

We’re humbled and grateful that this model has connected to the needs of so many, and we believe children and families across the nation deserve a village of love and support. 

Through our affiliate program, we train, equip and empower others who are passionate about caring for children and families in the child welfare system to launch a Foster Village location in their communities. Each location is its own 501c3 that follows the Foster Village model and approach while responding to the unique needs of their location. 

It is our dream that one day, children and families in all 50 states and in each community within those states will have access to high-quality services and the holistic support of a loving village as we work together to care for the vulnerable and bring dignity to the system.

“Foster Village is really and truly on the front lines of foster care. They know what it’s like to create community during those times of need and they are always available to provide the tangible items as well as support to new and seasoned foster parents. I always recommend them to friends that are just entering the world of fostering.” - Malayia