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Erica Garner was a foster kid. Let’s fulfill her legacy by supporting the foster care system.

Erica Garner was part of this country’s ever-growing foster care system. Her foster mother was with her when she died.

More than 250,000 children enter the foster care each year. Each year. That is the population of Buffalo, New York. Let’s imagine that city being repopulated year after year.

One of Erica’s last wishes was that people support their local foster care systems. Let’s help fulfill her legacy. Here are some resources to do just that:

The Child Welfare Information Gateway has information on how you can help foster kids. This website provides both national and state resources for foster care and adoption, a list of organizations and much more.

Many children spend years in foster care and are never adopted. 23,000 children will age out of the foster care system each year. When they do, the picture is bleak. According to the National Foster Care institute:

  • After reaching the age of 18, 20% of the children who were in foster care will become instantly homeless.
  • Only 1 out of every 2 foster kids who age out of the system will have some form of gainful employment by the age of 24.
  • There is less than a 3% chance for children who have aged out of foster care to earn a college degree at any point in their life.
  • 7 out of 10 girls who age out of the foster care system will become pregnant before the age of 21.
  • The percentage of children who age out of the foster care system and still suffer from the direct effects of PTSD: 25%.
  • Tens of thousands of children in the foster care system were taken away from their parents after extreme abuse.
  • 8% of the total child population of the United States is represented by reports of abuse that are given to authorities in the United States annually.
    In 2015, more than 20,000 young people — whom states failed to reunite with their families or place in permanent homes.

Not everyone can foster or adopt a child. But there are other ways to support these children.

  • Donate money. It’s a simple as that. The foster care system is in dire need of funds.
  • Become a Respite Care Provider. Offer short-term childcare services to give foster parents a break.
  • Support a foster care family. Provide meals for them. Mow their lawn. Buy them groceries. Foster parents aren’t paid much for taking a child into their homes. Every little bit helps.
  • Become a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA). Help advocate for a foster child by assisting them in navigating the legal and social services system.

Let’s do something.