Foster Friends is a 501(c)(3) that supports Collin County children in foster care by providing them with ordinary childhood experiences that their caregivers can’t afford and the government doesn’t provide.
Foster Friends was founded in 2002 by the Collin County Child Protective Services Board. Just as they do today, the appointed members of the county board managed Collin County public funds for the benefit of children in foster care. The county board members often found themselves forced to deny the legitimate needs of many deserving foster children simply because the children’s requests fell outside the scope of permissible county expenditures. To solve this problem, the board created a nonprofit with privately raised funds which could be used to provide for needs that the government will not cover.
Foster Friends continues to work closely with the Collin County Child Protective Services Board. All requests for assistance are considered by the county first, and are only funded by Foster Friends if public funds cannot meet a child’s needs.
Foster Friends provides ordinary comforts to Collin County kids in foster care. We currently do this in two ways: by granting special needs requests and by organizing fun family events.
Paying for Ordinary Comforts
Children in foster care long for a typical childhood, a modest wish that cannot be attained on government support alone. Though foster and kinship caregivers do their best to provide for the children in their homes, they are not always able to finance all of the children’s needs. After ruling out the availability of county funds, Foster Friends steps in to provide foster children with some of the ordinary comforts of a typical childhood.
Many of the special needs requests we grant are critical for our kids. For example, we have provided a reading tutor for a failing elementary school student whose caregivers lacked the literacy skills to help him. We’ve also helped teenagers in foster care achieve independence by funding their drivers’ education. Other requests we fund simply help our foster children recover some semblance of normalcy, such as receiving a school yearbook or attending cheerleading camp.
Foster Friends grants special needs requests on a case-by-case basis only after careful consideration of the child’s needs. All requests require prior approval by the child’s Collin County CPS case worker.
Bringing on the Fun
Foster Friends hosts annual special events for Collin County kids in foster care.
Movie Day. In the summer, we invite the children to see a recently released movie at Studio Movie Grill. In 2016, we hosted Finding Dory. For some of the children, it was the first time they’d ever been to a movie theater.
Storybook Family Day. In the fall, we invite the foster children of Collin County for a day of fun at Storybook Ranch. In 2016, we had over 150 in attendance. The children met ponies, played games, enjoyed a BBQ lunch, selected pumpkins from the pumpkin patch, watched a Wild West show, and posed for new family photos with a professional photographer.
National Adoption Day. On the Saturday before Thanksgiving, children and their adoptive parents head to the courthouse to finalize their adoptions and celebrate their new families. Foster Friends helps make the event fun and memorable.
Breakfast with Santa. Just in time for the holidays, Foster Friends invites children in care to a festive breakfast with Santa Claus. All of the children take home photos from the special day.