Since witnessing a tragic car accident in June 2008 that claimed the lives of three foster children, Michelle Armour has dedicated her life to supporting other children shuffled around from home to home. “When they come in and take the kids, they give them a trash bag and say, ‘You have 15 minutes to grab your stuff.’ They might grab their pajamas, some shoes, maybe a toothbrush and a toy. We come in to fill the cracks.”
Armour’s nonprofit, Foster Kids Charity, collects essential items for care packages to help ease the constant transitions the children face. Since it launched in 2011, the organization received the Best Community Partner award from Child Protective Services and a private donation for a larger office. With the added exposure comes a greater need for help. “We always need more funds to provide more,” Armour says. “The demand is higher than what we can offer.”
How to help With Food:
One dollar provides a healthy snack bag for one foster child through the organization’s new "Food 4 Foster Kids" program, serving 500-1,500 abused and neglected children who are in the care of Child Protective Services each month.
ongoing wish list includes snack foods and juice boxes, Diapers size 3-6 diapers, wipes, new coats and jackets for ages 7-15, new car seats or boosters, pack & play beds, and toiletries for teens — all of which can be dropped off at the Foster Kids Charity office.
Donate funds for food program, most urgent items, graduation & Chance!(summer camp and after school activities), Thanksgiving food box, Christmas gifts or operations.
Foster Kids Charity administrative office:12830 Hillcrest Rd #111 Dallas Texas 75230
The Forgotten Generations
Most, if not all of us, know at least one person and probably more, who was fostered as a child. It’s often one of those things that comes up in conversation, is touched upon briefly and then put aside. Those of us who have been fortunate enough to grow up in our natural families, never having been separated from them unless for a hospital stay or summer camp, cannot begin to understand how it may feel to be a foster child.
Children are taken into foster care for many different reasons. Sometimes because of loss of one or both parents, for instance in a car crash or due to illness; maybe because of their parent or parents having difficulties, perhaps with mental illness or drug dependency. There are some children who enter foster care because they have difficulties and their parent or parents can no longer cope with supporting their needs. Children with conditions such as Down Syndrome or Autism are all too commonly seen, where the parents are able to cope for a number of years, but as the child grows, find they are unable to cope with the practical or emotional demands of caring long term. Coping with children with ADHD, for example, can be extremely demanding and care intensive, which can place an insupportable strain on a family unit over a prolonged period of time. Access to support and advice is essential for their career to help to give the child the level of support and care they need.
The Emotional Fallout of Being Fostered
Even without a physical or mental disorder, a child taken into care and fostered has a huge emotional burden to carry. They often have to deal with the trauma of separation from their family, experiencing grief, fear and anger, even when the situation they have been removed from was not a beneficial one for them. The loss of connection with their natural parent or parents can be very damaging and many children experience symptoms of depression, aggression or withdrawal.
Being placed into foster care can also mean disruption of the child’s peer environment, with many children not attending school for a significant period of time following placement with a foster family. Many struggle within the education system, becoming low achievers and requiring special needs support to attain the standards required to integrate into society. Because the foster child often perceives themselves as being apart or different from other children around them, they often experience great difficulty in relating to others and forming peer bonds. Foster children also experience a much higher level of changes of school as they move from one foster home to another, leading to difficulties in adapting to different expectations and curricular demands at different schools.
Foster Parents do an Amazing Job
The level of care and commitment that many foster parents show to the children they foster is astounding. Given that they are often unappreciated and regarded as passive participants in the fostering process, together with the low remuneration and challenges involved in fostering, they do an incredible job. Taking in a child who is almost certainly going to have behavioral problems, either from the outset or that develop within a short period of time, the foster parents have to try to provide a platform of stability, a standard of moral behavior and a huge amount of patience, understanding and love.
What many foster parents do not have the resources for is to provide as well for the child or children in their care as they would like. A child that arrives in care may arrive with only the clothes they are standing up in. Often the foster parents have to find the funds to clothe the child, even when they know they may only have the child short term. As well as clothing the child, there is the question of toys and books, possibly diapers and other equipment that a very young child may need. It can be difficult, on the remuneration that foster families receive for the work they do.
With nearly 29,000 children in Texas in care, and only about 8,000 licensed family foster homes, the fostering system is always under pressure to give the best resources and support that it is able to do. It is a struggle and the support that charities provide in helping to nurture children in care and to give them some pleasure in life is so important. Showing care is one way that we can help to make a difference to so many children; perhaps enough to ensure that these children feel loved, feel just like their friends, instead of excluded and isolated.
Credit for content of the above article , Julie Bowen firstname.lastname@example.org
Foster Kids Charity Wins the Emy Lou Bridge Award!
October 22, 2013
Foster Kids Charity received an award of excellent community service. Given by “Giving Texas Children Promise” on October 22. Foster Kids Charity has given over $10,000 worth of donations to CPS rainbow rooms in over 11 different counties. Our work could never be done without our donors and supporters. Thank you.
In Picture: Left: Brandi Neeb of CPS, center: Michelle Armour – Founder, Foster Kids Charity ,Right: Nancy Eldridge of CPS
Our Foster Group Home
Foster Kids Charity sponsor a group home of 12 children (foster teens and their siblings). Providing a “Home style” shelter in a group setting helps foster teen/children have the family support they are lacking & empower and provide them with life skills toward a righter future.
Please contact us to receive our Foster Group Home wish list (projects and in-kind).
Please click here to learn about our partnership with Kids in Distressed Situations (K.I.D.S) ,agency that provided us with brand new brand name clothing for infants- toddlers.
As Seen on "We - Magazine for Women"
Submitted by Heidi Richards on June 2, 2011 – 5:40 am
Some of Texas foster children will no longer enter the system with trash bags full of belongings thanks to Foster Kids Charity.
Dallas County resident, Michelle Armour, is collecting clothing, toys & non perishable food for her new Foster Kids Charity, so that children will have something decent to carry their possessions when moving into foster care.
On June 22, 2008, a Plano traffic wreck killed Geoff Hart; his wife, Christy; their 12-year-old daughter, Rebekah; and their two foster children, Kevinnesha Palmer, 6, and Raven Lucas, 5. Michelle witnessed the accident and was impacted by it. She started to learn more about the foster care system in Texas and now 3 years later she has learned that the very things most of us never take the time to notice – could mean the world to thousands of children who enter the foster system.
Michelle founded Foster Kids Charity, a nonprofit organization who delivers care bags to foster children & needy children (homeless or children who are a victim of abuse & neglect) in Texas. Her mission is to also promote fostering children and help reduce the number of children who stay in the foster care system for so long.
Michelle has been collecting toys; nutritious snacks/food for children, clothing & other items every chance she gets.
Michelle’s personal mission is making sure the children know it’s not where you came from, but how you carry yourself once you leave.”It’s an opportunity for that child to know their self worth and an opportunity for that child to know that someone else cares and appreciates them,” says Michelle.
How you can help:
Visit Michelle’s website at Fosterkidscharity.org
Donate Funds – online or by mailing a check . Funds will be used to buy and fill the care bags as well as ship them directly to needy children & to child Protective Services.
Donate Goods Get rid of your old/new clothing, school supplies, shoes, toys and books. Donate gift cards, gift certificate for fun activities such as: movie ticket, sporting events tickets. Donate non perishable food for kids: peanut butter, apple sauce, cereal bars, boxed juice & milk, crackers, vitamins & others.
Donations of new Items only, will benefit Child Protective Services resource rooms.
Please send or drop items with a letter of encouragement to the address listed below:
Foster Kids Charity Inc.
9221 LBJ Freeway Suite 110
Dallas Texas 75243
Please click here to read about foster Kids Charity as featured in Texas Jewish Post!