Foster Coalition serves as a resource hub where like-minded agencies, organizations, and individuals can connect. We offer one-stop access to foster parenting and related resources for current and potential foster families, adoptive parents, mentors, caseworkers, and foster children.
Our mission is to help alleviate the challenges present in the foster care system and coordinate between agencies, organizations, individuals, and collectives toward that goal. By serving as a bridge between interested entities in the foster care system, we hope to close gaps in care and provide better opportunities for foster children within and exiting the system.
Whether you’re interested in becoming a respite caregiver, a foster family, mentor, counselor, support group, etc., almost everyone can take part in some way or another. At Foster Coalition, our goal is to help facilitate connections, resources, training, and network support for the foster community. In Alabama alone, there’s been a 11.4% increase in foster children due to neglect and parental drug use since 2013.
With proper education, outreach, and support, foster families and the broader foster community can thrive. We believe that with access to valuable resources in a more coordinated manner, foster children in the system will be able to successfully transition and integrate into broader society.
We recognize the child welfare system is faced with significant challenges, and foster parents might feel ill-equipped without access to adequate resources. Children in the child welfare system can still be experiencing symptoms related to past trauma or have a desire to return to biological families, even if those families aren’t prepared to take them back or allowed to do so. Locally, some foster children have voiced their discouragement toward DHR, house rules, and preclusion from social interactions with friends. Often, foster children do more poorly in academic studies than their peers.
There are authentic concerns many foster children and families face when placed together. By recognizing the needs of these children and families, we can begin evaluating which areas to focus on for support. Then, we can help ensure that both foster children and families receive adequate information, support, and access to services. Here, effective coordination is key.
There is ongoing communication needed between the church, foster care organizations and agencies, and foster families. Right now, this is an area that’s coming up short. There is a resounding joy that comes with being a foster and/or adoptive parent. However, these parents and caregivers need our support in order to thrive and change lives. Foster Coalition presents a bridge between these intersecting parties—so that all involved can have a place to partner, participate, and have a purpose.
Foster Coalition understands the needs present in the foster care system. There is a growing need (as statistics have shown) to help those in foster care. As the foster care system is burdened more and more, it is critical to coordinate efforts and connect foster families with available resources.
We recognize this need, which drives us to be a vehicle for change and connect those who want information and need resources. We offer much-needed support for those currently involved in the foster care system and those who want to get involved, including growth of close connections between organizations, agencies, and churches.
At Foster Coalition, we aim to cultivate mentorships and relationships with foster youth in order to give them a better opportunity when transitioning out of foster care and integrating. Unfortunately, many children who once lived in foster homes have difficulty once they leave the system. For example, by age 24, it’s estimated that only half of foster care children will have stable employment. This is why coordinated resources for foster youth, along with ongoing access, are an essential part of breaking the foster care cycle.
We are passionate about our work with foster families (and the organizations that help support them) for several reasons. Foster Coalition’s founders are active in outreach and personally understand the roadblocks families face in the foster care system and beyond. Their intimate involvement in counseling both foster care families and youth who have experienced abuse has given them direct insight into community needs.
Foster Coalition team consists of critical role-players in the community:
Mike Ousley has a history of strong ties in his community because of his philanthropic work. He currently serves on the Boards of the Owens House (a Shelby County child abuse counseling center) and the Cornerstone Schools of Alabama (which provides high-quality education to inner-city children). He was also the founder and director of the Music Video Association of America.
His work has given him keen insight into the youth of today and their needs. He is passionate about offering advice and care for foster families, counseling for children in the foster care system, and mentorship for a lasting impact after foster care.
Paul is one of the founders of the Safe Harbor Ministry, which assists families with teenagers involved in rebellious behavior, including drugs, eating disorders, self-cutting, deviant sexual behavior, anger, and violence. Safe Harbor coaches parents on how to separate their rebellious teens from their delinquent behavior.
Alongside his work with Safe Harbor and Foster Coalition, he has served as part of these organizations:
He is passionate about providing care for foster youth and mentoring toward better integrated members of society at large.
Have you thought about what you can do?
As an organization, agency, church, or individual, you can help offer resources for foster children and the foster families who support them. You can provide financial support or become an active participant, including as an adoptive or foster parent. No matter your choice, we aim to provide you with the correct program and support you need to facilitate change in the foster care system.
While fostering and adoption are not always suited to every family, there are many ways that churches, parents, and collectives can contribute towards positive change for those in the child welfare and foster care system. From mentorship to hands-on training, everyone has a way they can contribute positively to the community. Foster Coalition provides a place for those relationships to take shape.