In Georgia, about 11,000 children were in foster care last year, according to adoptuskids.org, and many enter the system with only the items they can carry.
There are a number of organizations designed to help foster children — donating school supplies and clothing, and offering mentoring and other support.
The holiday season offers a unique opportunity to help these children and the organizations that support them.
Clark's 25th annual Christmas Kids
Clark Howard and News/Talk WSB join with the Georgia Department of Family and Children's Services each year to provide gifts for the foster kids in Georgia.
You can donate in person at locations throughout the metro area, or online. For more information, click here.
From its humble beginnings in 1982 (eight campers in tents in a church parking lot), Camp Horizon has grown to provide year-round support for Atlanta's abused and neglected children. You can help Camp Horizon through monetary donations, or consider volunteering as a summer camp counselor.
Foster Care Support Foundation
FCSF provides free clothing, infant equipment and developmental toys to thousands of children in foster and relative care throughout Georgia. Items are distributed through group's center on Mansell Place in Roswell, and items they can't distribute are sold to help support the foundation.
You can help FCSF by volunteering, mentoring or making a donation.
My Stuff Bags Foundation
Since 1998, this group has provided foster children with a "bright blue individual duffels filled with brand new, age- and gender-appropriate toys, books, a stuffed animal, school supplies, clothing, personal toiletries, and a warm, often hand-made 'security' blanket – all theirs to keep."
The foundation works with a number of Georgia organizations, including the National Foster Parent Association in Atlanta, Kids Peace National Centers in Lawrenceville, Safe Path Chldren's Advocacy Center in Marietta, and many others. For more information on how you can help, check out their website here.
Becoming a foster or adoptive parent
Interested in doing more to change the life off a child in foster care? Here are four resources to guide you through the process of becoming a foster or adoptive parent.
1. Georgia Department of Human Resources, Division of Family and Children Services: Each county DFCS holds information sessions on a regular basis. After calling the inquiry line —(877) 210-5437 — prospective foster and adoptive parents will be invited to an information session nearby. For foster parent requirements, check out the general information page.
2. Adoptuskids.org: This site provides not only information and resources, but also photos of chlidren in Georgia who are available for adoption.
3. GCAC of Georgia: Giving Children a Chance is a private agency that provides foster and adoption services by working with the Georgia Department of Family and Children Services. For more information and resources, check out GCAC's website here.
4. Families First: Families First offeres help and services for families and single adults looking to adopt children in Georgia, the U.S. and around the world. Check out services on their website.