Sunday, November 20, 2011

Foster Care Kits

I was recently asked to help with a service project at church.   Our women's organization in north east Iowa was challenged to put together Foster Care Kits for children.  I think this is a brilliant service opportunity and wanted to share it with you.

When a child is in an abusive or neglected home situation in the US, Child Protective Services will take them into custody.  The children are placed with Foster Families until their home is safe to return to.  The children often show up on their Foster Parents doorsteps with just the clothes on their back and in a state of emotional turmoil. The Foster Care Kits are meant to help make this painful situation a bit better.

A Foster Care Kit Contains:
  1. Basic Hygiene Items:  toothbrush, toothpaste and brush/comb.  It may also include rubber bands, barrettes, deodorant and lotion.  (Items may be travel sized)
  2. Pajamas  It may also contain clothing, socks, underwear or diapers.
  3. Blanket   (45x45 for 0-2 year old, 45x54 for3-6 year old, 54x66 for 7-11 year old, 54x72 for 12-18 year old)   Sizes are approximate, but the blanket needs to be big enough for the child.  The blankets may be fleece or pieced.  Foster Care Families will have blankets and beds for the children, but this blanket is something soft and special for the child that they can snuggle with and keep forever.
  4. At Least One Comfort Item  Some ideas include:  stuffed animal, doll, coloring book/crayons, notebook, journal, pen, pencils or book.  No one is too old for a stuffed animal, especially when you are going through hard times.
All of these items are collected and placed in a bag.  It is best if the bag can be zipped, buttoned or velcroed so that the contents are not mixed up or lost.  A drawstring bag also works well.  The contents of the bag, age and gender of the child are written on a note card and pinned to the outside of the bag.  The bags are collected and brought to local agencies that place foster children.

All of the items may be purchased, but that adds up fast.  You can definitely save money by making some of the items yourself.  In the next week or two I am going to share tutorials on how to make a large drawstring bag, pajama pants and different ways to finish fleece blankets.  These posts will be geared towards people with minimal sewing skills.  Anyone should be able to complete these projects.  I hope these posts will be a resource for the women in my area making the Foster Care Kits and perhaps others will run with the idea and make Foster Care Kits for the children in their area too.

This would be a great service project for a church group, Boy/Girl Scouts or quilt guild.  Before starting, however, contact your local foster care agency, tell them about the project and ask if they have any specific needs.


  1. Thanks! I'm beginning a sewing class for our homeschool girls soon and we are looking for more projects to have them participate in. These bags are a great idea! Easy to sew and then fill.

  2. I saw your blog post link on my blog roll and I had to make a quick stop over. I grew up in the foster care system and I can't begin to tell you what this would mean to a child, truly. I hate to sound negative, but may I also make a suggestion? Make sure you label your quilt and or bag with who made it and the name of the program. Sometimes, having the name (even if it is only the first name) of someone you know that is out there that cares can make a very very big difference in a child's life. It's a lifeline out of the world in which they live. Thanks so much for encouraging this idea and for the tuts that you are preparing for it!!

  3. Great mother is a chapter director in Arizona of an organization called 'It's My Very Own' started by a family in Kentucky that has grown world wide. Details at their website are

  4. What a wonderful service idea. I seriously love it. Foster children have a special place in my heart- I have 2 cousins that were adopted from the foster system and some good friends with 3 foster children.

  5. I love this idea and think this could also be expanded into the abused women shelters if there is something similar already helping the foster care agencies in the area.