Foster Care Kits

Our church's women's organization in north east Iowa was challenged to put together Foster Care Kits for children recently.  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:  doll, coloring book/crayons, notebook, journal, pen, pencils, book or stuffed animal.  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.  Posted below are 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. 

Tutorial for a Large Drawstring Bag
Tutorial for Pajama Pants (coming soon)

Tutorial for Easy Blankets (coming soon)

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.  There are also chapters of It's My Very Own, a non-profit group who makes these bags, located around the US, that may be able to give your group additional direction.