Why Project 99?
There are more than 400,000 children in foster care in the United States at any given time. In Michigan, approximately 13,000 children are in foster care and there are upwards of 800 in Kent County.
Foster parents make the world a better place — one child at a time — by providing a safe, nurturing home for children until they can be returned to their families.
Supporting the child’s biological family as well as their foster family enables children to heal from past trauma, helps keep families together, and improves outcomes for all.
On average, foster parents have a 50% burnout rate. Agencies estimate that 70% of certified homes do not make it through their second year. Children in foster care need a consistent, loving environment and foster parents can provide that when they have the support they need.
We asked foster parents in West Michigan for unique ways that they have felt supported by their community. Some of their answers were expected – babysitting, bringing meals, and transportation.
“It’s the little things that people did that made the most difference” Kurt, Foster Parent
Other answers were more surprising – smiling in the grocery store, giving a hug, or mailing a card.
Our community can change the foster parent burnout rate by providing support – no matter our age or abilities. When foster parents thrive, children in foster care do.
Check out the list of 99 ways you can support a foster parent, written by foster parents.
Step 1: Check out this list of 99 ways (above) to support a foster parent, written by foster parents. Identify a few that you/your family can do for those in our community.
Step 2: Advocate and Educate. Encourage others in the community to break free of stigma’s related to foster care. Share this page and video with your network to begin inspiring change.
Step 3: Head over to Foster Kent Kids for a list of tangible ways you can support foster families in our community.
Meet the Artists
I am an artist who believes art is a platform to tell a bigger story, challenge everyday thinking, and effect change. After fostering and adopting my nephew, my parents decided to open their arms to foster other children and I learned first-hand how valuable community supports are in foster care. I hope this project will shift communities’ perspective by connecting the average person with practical ways they can get involved with foster care without becoming foster parents.
I am a West Michigan native with strong ties to the foster care community. Not only do I work in the field, but I have lived experience navigating both foster care and adoption. I am honored to be able to create messaging around the success and needs in foster care through WMPC and Foster Kent Kids Coalition, but even more honored to use the bigger platform of ArtPrize. My hope is this project will open the eyes and the hearts of those in our community to show how they can support people in their most vulnerable state. Success is driven by support, in any capacity; and everyone has something they can do, no matter how small.
I am a videographer who believes in telling powerful stories, inspiring others to action, and in serving God and others. I believe that we need community to thrive, and that we need to work on serving foster families better as a society to help them succeed. I hope that this project will encourage others to take action in finding ways to serve foster families.