UW Combined Fund Drive

May 10, 2022

This foster care awareness month, support families in Washington’s foster system

Like all families, kids and families involved with the foster care system need support from their community to thrive.

The past two years have been challenging for everyone, and particularly for youth in the foster care system who already struggle both academically and socially, experiencing placement instability and frequent moves while awaiting reunification or adoption.

There are 10,068 children in foster care in Washington; 2,167 of these children are waiting for adoptive families

According to nonprofit Adopt US Kids, in Washington state the average age of a foster child is 8 years old and the average time spent in foster care is nearly 20 months. While the goal is reunification for the majority of cases, 122,000 children in the system are waiting to be adopted.

When a foster care placement is made, children must adjust to new everything: home, caregivers, school, rules and norms, and community. It can be overwhelming for everyone involved.

I know as foster parents their goal is to make sure…that the kids are safe, that they feel supported. And also as our job it’s to make [foster parents] feel supported as well. So if the foster parents feel well, then the kids will also see that. So it’s a whole bunch of teamwork, a support system. – Brenda, Foster Care Specialist at Amara

This placement insecurity can be attributed, in part, to foster families feeling unsupported, unseen and unheard. Consider volunteering, donating, or fostering to help provide foster families with the support they need to thrive.

Consider fostering

Foster care exists to provide safe, temporary homes for kids who cannot live with their families. Whether you are home or work out of the house, are single, divorced, married or in a partnership, you can be a foster parent or kinship caregiver.

Children are removed from their homes and placed in foster care due to any number of reasons: neglect, abandonment, or physical, sexual, or emotional abuse. Regardless of the reason, this is an upsetting and confusing time – a time when a nurturing foster family, with the support of community partners and support staff, can have a positive impact on a child’s well-being.

As a foster parent, you are an investing in a child’s future and changing your community. You protect children from potential harm, help them learn and use new skills, and make them feel good about themselves. Learn more about becoming a foster parent (WA Department of Youth and Family Services)

Listen: Stories of those impacted by foster care

Foster parenting requires flexibility. There is no knowing when you may be asked to help or for how long; children may stay with you for days, months, or years. To make the experience easier, the government provides stipends to cover some expenses; nonprofits rely on donor support to help fill in the gaps.

Fostering into reunification means you will have a niece and nephew for life
– Aaron, Amara foster parent

The decision to become a foster parent is a big decision. Regardless of the time together, both you and your foster child will be changed forever. However, becoming a foster parent isn’t the only way to make an impact. Whether it is by volunteering, donating, cooking a meal, or simply challenging our own perceptions, we all have a role.

Get Involved

Amara’s Together We Thrive community-based fundraiser is back in-person this spring! They’re hosting an outdoor luncheon at the Seattle campus, with the option to join us virtually for those not able to attend in-person. Funds raised at the event will support Amara’s programs serving children and families impacted by the child welfare system.

Wednesday, May 18, 2022
11:00 am – 1:00 pm (Program begins at 12:00) Registration is free and includes lunch from Buddah Bruddah.
Amara’s Seattle Office 5907 MLK Jr Way S, Seattle WA 98118 


While fostering may not be an option for you, there are many ways to support foster kids and families. Is is well known that many children in foster care experience high placement instability, moving from one foster home to another frequently. One large factor leading to this high rate of turnover is foster parents feeling unsupported or overwhelmed.

Donation drives ensure youth in foster care have access to the clothing, shoes, toiletries, self-care items and school supplies they need to succeed in school, feel good about themselves and fit in with their peers.

Watch: Tour Treehouse’s Free Store for Youth in Foster Care

Office Moms & Dads: Made up of a community of qualified volunteers, Office Moms & Dads partners with child welfare services to create a nurturing environment for children entering foster care. As a volunteer, you keep children occupied and safe during the transition while social workers take care of arrangements behind the scenes.

Seattle Angels: Seattle Angels is the local chapter of National Angels, a nonprofit that provides wraparound support to fostering families. There are many ways to get involved; give intentionally (check out the amazing Love Box Program), build relationships, or mentor.

Fostering Family Washington: Fostering Family is a community-wide initiative whose goal is to make people more aware of the foster care experience, and inspire community action to support kids and families.


Consider setting up payroll deduction or making a one-time gift through the UWCFD to any of the following organizations working with foster youth in Washington:

Treehouse (charity code 0315399): We envision–and strive to create–a world where every child that has experienced foster care has the opportunities and support they need to pursue their dreams and launch successfully into adulthood. Treehouse provides academic and other essential support for more than 8,000 youth in foster care across Washington state each year.

Amara (Charity Code 0456683): Amara is committed to positive long-term outcomes for children and families. We drive systemic change, promote healing, and advance racial and LGBTQIA+ equity, by offering programs and services to families engaged in foster care, and to adoptees and families, post-adoption.

Children’s Home Society of Washington (Charity Code 0315336): Children’s Home Society of Washington, nationally accredited, provides 6 core services: Adoption, Family Support, Child/Family Counseling, Out-of-Home Care Foster/ residential treatment, Early Learning, and Advocacy. 

Together We Rise: Together We Rise helps children in several ways including three main programs we use to support children in foster care: Sweet Cases, Building Bikes, and our Family Fellowship Scholarship Program. Together We Rise has participants in every state fundraise to support these programs.

Foster Hearts (Charity Code 1482954): Foster Hearts provides personal items and life-enhancing opportunities for children in foster care. Providing them with belongings and experiences to call their own. This is accomplished by providing foster children in our area with basic items: food, clothes, hygienic products, school supplies, childhood experiences and more. 

Friends of Youth (Charity Code 0316260): A continuum of youth/family services, residential treatment, foster care, substance abuse services, transitional housing, shelter, outreach support for young families, counseling and youth development. 

International Foster Care Alliance (Charity Code 1481952): Founded in 2012, International Foster Care Alliance IFCA is the only nonprofit organization that bridges child welfare on a global level by creating opportunities for the United States and other countries to engage in discussions and activities to better the child welfare systems. IFCA currently serves three different populations- foster youth, caregivers and child welfare professionals. 

Secret Harbor (charity code 0315423): Secret Harbor provides safe places and services for youth who have experienced serious trauma and family disruption due to abuse and neglect. Programs are community-based residential treatment, therapeutic foster care and in-home family support. 

Youthnet (charity code 0315864): Youthnet is a multi-service non-profit social service agency serving youth and families in NW Washington. Programs: Foster Care Transition Services, Family Preservation Services, Emerson High School Independent Living Skills Training, Parent Education.