A Better Bedtime

Fall is finally here, and with fall comes chilly weather. If you are like me, you’ve already packed away the summer clothes and brought out the warm ones … especially warm pajamas.

Unfortunately, not ever child has the luxury of having warm pajamas. In the U.S. foster care system, alone, there are more than 500,000 children. Every two seconds another child enters the system. Many have been abandoned or abused and have never enjoyed the simple comfort of putting on a cozy pair of pajamas and having a mother or father tuck them in at bedtime and read to them. But now … thanks to the non-profit Pajama Program, thousands of children in orphanages, group homes, and shelters are being given new pajamas and new books.

pajamaprogram.jpgSince its founding in 2001, Pajama Program has donated nearly 600,000 new pajamas and books. Recently, the Pajama Program launched its 2009-2010 awareness and fund-raising campaign — A Better Bedtime

A Better Bedtime aims to focus the nation on a crisis facing far too many of America’s children during “Danger Season” — the block of six cold months between October 1 and March 31 in which it is especially dangerous for a child to be without warm clothing at bedtime. At the Official Pajama Program A Better Bedtime Facebook page visitors are encouraged to share their favorite bedtime stories (from published or original works) on the group’s wall and discussion boards; to offer memories of their own childhood bedtime routines; to upload photos of their favorite pair of pajamas; and to share ideas, stories, and photos from their own local events that support Pajama Program.

To learn about local chapters of Pajama Program and to participate in events, visit http://www.pajamaprogram.org/chapters.html.

To make a financial contribution to Pajama Program, visit http://www.pajamaprogram.org/donate.html or donate via Facebook at http://apps.facebook.com/causes/309815?m=3f1cca43 .
 
To learn about donating new pajamas or new books, to conduct your own local Pajama Program Drive or event, or to become a beneficiary receiving organization of The Pajama Program, visit http://www.pajamaprogram.org/donate.html.  

Have you participated in a Pajama Program event? Tell ParentLife readers all about it by leaving a comment.

Foster Care

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In the October 2009 issue of ParentLife, we originally included an article on foster children. However, due to a need to create advertising space, we had to pull the article at the last minute. We wanted to include this article for you provided by Michael Piraino, CEO of the National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association (CASA).

Each day in the United States more than 850 children enter the foster care system, often due to parental abuse or neglect. Originally designed as a temporary housing solution for youth whose parents were unable to provide for their essential well-being, foster care now has become home to more than a half million children each year.

Case studies show foster children can find themselves in as many as 30 homes throughout their stay in care. With each move comes the uncertainty of a new family, new school, and new friends. Ultimately, this instability impedes a child’s ability to form personal attachments, diminishes her self-esteem, and seriously disrupts her education. On average, foster children can change schools eight times before they reach the age of 18. As a result, only 46 percent will graduate from high school.

Raising Awareness
Now is the time to raise awareness of ways to support this country’s most vulnerable children. While the need for foster parents is great, there are only enough licensed foster homes to care for 30 percent of the foster care population. You can help make a difference whether you can commit a lifetime, years, months, weeks, days, or hours.

  • Adopt or become a foster parent. Check with your local department of children and family services or the National Foster Parent Association for requirements, as they vary from state to state.
  • Become a CASA volunteer. CASA volunteers are trained to advocate for foster children in court in order to help find permanent homes for abused and neglected children. After undergoing a 30-hour training program, a volunteer is assigned his first court case. To learn more about becoming a CASA volunteer, visit  www.nationalcasa.org.

If you would like to see the entire article originally to appear in ParentLife, please download this pdf.

Foster Care.pdf