FRIENDS OF CHILDREN INC

nonprofit

Friends of Children, Inc., is a non-profit child advocacy organization dedicated to improving the lives of children in the Pioneer Valley.

Every day, Friends of Children answers the call to action made by children who are in the state’s protective care. To create meaningful change for them, we need your support. Help us give every child the future she deserves.

Imagine…

…being eight years old, abused by the adult who was supposed to take care of you, and having to be placed for your own protection in a home in a town you have never heard of or with a family that you have never known.

…being a teenager who has been in charge of all your younger brothers and sisters because your parents were never around to provide stability and safety for their children.

…being an infant who has not yet spoken your first word but has been neglected by a parent who, herself, has never known appropriate caretaking and, as result, constantly ignores your cries.

It’s hard to imagine, but children who enter foster care have experiences that are all too similar to these. No child can begin to understand the complex intricacies of being removed from his home. As a child, all you have are the promises of those around you that maybe one day your life will return to normal. For children who have already lost so much, this isn't enough. We need to do better.

Friends of Children addressed the multiple needs of vulnerable children through our ongoing projects and coordinated programs:

What CASA means to a child…

“Please. Whatever you do for me, please do for my little sister.” -9 year old boy, separated from siblings, in his seventh placement

The Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Program promotes the best interests of abused and neglected children throughout Franklin and Hampshire counties. Every day, trained and supervised community volunteers protect the needs of children who are shuffled around in an overburden child welfare system.

What Fostering Futures means to youth…

“I never thought I could ever graduate high school. Now that I did, are you still going to be in my life?” -18 year old, to his long-time CASA

Fostering Futures gives CASA volunteers specific tools to mentor youth as they face the challenge of transitioning to adulthood without permanent connections. National data underscores the reality that foster youth who do not create lasting, dependable relationships are at high risk of drug abuse, educational failure, incarceration, homelessness, and unemployment. Our goal is to beat these statistics by providing them with a life-line and a plan.

What our Foster Dignity Project means to a kid…

“I was really embarrassed with the clothes I had. They were falling apart and it made me feel ashamed. Thanks a lot for helping me get new stuff for school. Feels a lot better to start a new school year looking better.” -16 year old boy, who had previously owned just one sweatshirt

Foster Dignity engages the community in helping children in foster care be…well, just kids. Foster Dignity provides backpacks, weather-appropriate clothing, funds for extracurricular activities, and financial and material support when a young person is ready to go out on her own. Foster Dignity respects the self-esteem of foster children by giving them support that so many of us take for granted.

What Seeing Their Voices means to a foster child…

“You just want to assume what we can do. We are the ones who have the time to show you what we can do. So why don’t you make the time to know that we do have potential?” -15 year old, who had endured 30 placements

Our Seeing Their Voices Multimedia Project, was created to be a public information and advocacy platform for foster youth to directly convey what their experiences have meant to them and what they should mean to us all. As advocates, we understand the critical importance of educating the public, service providers, policy makers, and elected officials who hold their lives in their hands is so important to them. Thus far, youth have been photographers, writers and public speakers in several exhibits from Amherst to Boston, including a two-week exhibit at the State House.

Foster care should be a temporary circumstance for many children; let’s ensure that it doesn’t determine their future!


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Organization Information

FRIENDS OF CHILDREN INC
245 RUSSELL ST STE 22
HADLEY, MA 01035

Phone
(413) 586-0011

Web
http://friendsofchildreninc.org/home.html

Email
jane@friendsofchildreninc.org

Mission
Friends of Children, Inc., is a non-profit child advocacy organization dedicated to improving the lives of children in the Pioneer Valley.

EIN 222952288

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