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VOLUNTEER as a mentor, tutor or coach a child, or in other ways that support families

Become a foster parent
Each of us has unique strengths and skills, and each foster parent can make a unique contribution to a child's life. DCFS works hard to match your special strengths with the needs of a child. You may have a gift for working with adolescents or be inspired to help children with medical challenges. You might be able to provide a safe haven for more than one child, helping sisters and brothers maintain important family ties, or you might be drawn to the mission of working collaboratively with biological parents to help them achieve the return of their children. All foster parents provide a stable, caring and safe family home; and work with DCFS as part of a team to ensure that a child's developmental, educational and medical needs are met.

More than 14,000 foster families open their home to children in need of a safe haven each year, and when you join them, you aren't just helping a child and her family, you are also helping your own community. DCFS works to place children in foster families in their home community, where they benefit socially, emotionally, and academically from attending the same school and remaining close to friends, relatives and familiar surroundings and activities. By becoming a foster family, you are creating better outcomes for a child and making your community stronger and more supportive for all families.

To become a foster parent, call 1-800-572-2390, or learn more here.

Lend a hand to abused and neglected kids in your community
Agencies and organizations that help kids always need an extra hand. If you have special skills, resources or even just time to offer, agencies can use your help.

Be a volunteer advocate in court
Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) volunteers are trained citizens appointed by judges to represent the best interests of abused and neglected children in court.

Become a Big Brother or Big Sister
Big Brothers Big Sisters provides mentoring services to help youth who face adversity beat the odds with the support of volunteers and donors. Professional staffers carefully match children with volunteer mentors in long-term one-to-one mentoring relationships.

Be a mentor
Mentors make a difference. Research shows that children and youth with mentors earn higher grades and report improved relationships with their friends and families. You can find different mentoring programs in your area by visiting MENTOR. Search by zip code to find mentoring programs in your area. You can click on the link to each program to find one that helps foster kids.

Look around your community
We all benefit when our communities are full of strong families and thriving children. Everyone plays a role in helping families find the strength they need to raise safe and healthy children.

There are many little things you can do that will make a huge difference in the life of a child. You do not have to be wealthy or an expert, just willing to help.

  • Purchase school supplies for your local social service agency.
  • Clean out your closet and donate gently used clothing and other household items to the Salvation Army.
  • Call the elementary school in your area and offer to tutor children after school.
  • Contact your local YMCA and sign up to coach little league.
  • Help a family under stress. 
  • Offer to babysit or help with chores.