FAQs ABOUT OUR PROGRAM
If you’re unable to work out an issue with a donor – for example, you’re having trouble making sure a child in your care is able to make it to orthodontic appointments, or transport has fallen through for delivery of a larger item – please email us for help.
No. Instead, your donation will be assigned to the most appropriate child or family we are currently serving.
There are three ways to give:
- Click here to register the good or service you’re willing to provide. When a child or family in need of what you’ve offered is brought to our attention we will be in touch to put you in touch with the professional who is serving that child or family; AND/OR
- Click here to make a direct monetary donation to FTSG; AND/OR
- Give items directly to our Help Closet. We accept new/gently-used items ranging from clothing and books to housewares and luggage. Click here to learn more about our Help Closet, or email Help Closet Coordinator Sherryl Ausbrooks at firstname.lastname@example.org and she’ll be happy to help!
WCFC specifically serves foster children and families who are currently court-adjudicated wards under the jurisdiction of the 3rd Circuit Court’s Juvenile Court.
We find out about children and families in need when one of the professionals who serve these at-risk children and families – from foster care workers to attorneys – registers for free account and makes a request for an item or service on our web page.
Once we receive a request we look to see if any donors have offered that particular good or service – and, frequently, we also broadcast requests on our Facebook page or through our email newsletter.When a donor is found, we act as the “matchmaker” to bring the donor and the child welfare professional – and through that professional, the child or family in need – together to arrange delivery of the item or service being given.
The answer is simple: we make it easy for anyone to do just one thing to make a huge difference in the life of a foster child or family. That “one thing” could be anything from donating a bicycle or prom dress to providing a year’s worth of orthodontic services.
In some cases, we may have the thing/s you need at our Help Closet, which is located in the Samaritan Center Annex at 11457 Shoemaker Street in Detroit. The Help Closet is open on Mondays from 10 am – 2pm and Tuesdays from 11am – 3pm. We know your schedule is packed, so feel free to email Help Closet Coordinator Sherryl Ausbrooks before stopping by to ask about particular items.
I want to give you a bed or other large piece of furniture, but I can’t deliver it. Can you pick items up?
That depends. Sadly, in most cases the answer is no – we do not have the equipment or staff to handle the pick up or delivery of large donations. However, sometimes we can find volunteers with strong backs and pickup trucks, so please email Help Closet Coordinator Sherryl Ausbrooks first (email@example.com)!
If you are making your donation in response to a request on our Facebook page or in our e-newsletter, we will put you in touch with the child protective professional in charge of that child or family’s case so the two of you can work out delivery of your gift. In some cases, we are also able to arrange transport of a specially-requested donation as part of our effort to fulfill the request – if that is the case, we will be in touch to make arrangements.
I want to make a special experience possible for a group of foster children, for example I have twenty tickets to an upcoming event. What should I do?
That sounds like fun! Please email our Coordinator, Karen Hatch. Please also note that we will need a lot of lead time, preferably at least a few months, because transportation and scheduling (among other things) can be very complicated matters for foster children, families, and child protective professionals.
Wonderful! We love our volunteers and look forward to welcoming you aboard. We have a variety of volunteer opportunities throughout the year including staffing our Help Closet and assisting with special events.
Let’s get the process started and see how we can help you meet your goals as an WCFC volunteer – just email our Coordinator, Karen Hatch.
I’m a child protective professional in metro Detroit. How can I sign up to get help for a foster child or foster family I’m serving?
WCFC specifically serves foster children and families who are currently court-adjudicated wards under the jurisdiction of the 3rd Circuit Court’s Juvenile Court. You can register for a free account and make a request on behalf of foster children or families in your care if you are:
- A Michigan Department of Human Service caseworker or supervisor
- A representative of a children’s foster care agency or residential facility contracted by the Michigan Department of Human Services
- An attorney representing children or families before Metropolitan Detroit’s 3rd Circuit Court’s Juvenile Court
- A judge or referee of the 3rd Circuit Court’s Juvenile Court
In order to serve you we require case information, the name/s of the child/children, P-numbers, and case numbers where applicable.
Click here to learn more about the range of services we provide.
I’m a professional (tutor, martial arts instructor, orthodontist, carpenter, etc.) and am interested in donating my time and expertise to a metro Detroit-area foster child or family. How long does We Care Foster Care require me to sign up for?
Of course, the amount of time you may spend volunteering your services will depend on the type of service – repairing a few holes in the wall of a foster family’s home is obviously different than providing orthodontic services and braces. Generally, though, we ask at most for a one year commitment from longer-term service providers like orthodontists or martial arts instructors.
I’m having trouble connecting with the child protective professional you paired me with to arrange delivery of my donation. What should I do?
Please email us and we will do everything we can to help. Please also note that the people who work in Michigan’s foster care system are often overloaded, and it just may be that the professional you’re trying to connect with hasn’t yet had a chance to get back to you.
Please email us and we will be happy to get in touch with you and the child welfare professional on the case to see what the matter is and how to work it out.
I’ve been contacted by your Communications Specialist asking for a quote from me/from the foster child/family you helped to be used on your Facebook page or in your other marketing efforts. Is this required?
Absolutely not! As you know, we are highly restricted in what we are able to tell our supporters about the foster children and families their donations support. Because of those restrictions we need to work extra hard to make sure donors know that their generosity is making a difference.
With that in mind, we regularly ask the child protective professionals we work with for testimonials – and we ask you to ask the child/children/families in your care that we’ve assisted to provide a testimonial as well. Participation in our marketing efforts is completely voluntary, and at no time will WCFC deny or “skimp” on service to any foster child, family, or child protective professional who declines to participate.
If you want to provide a testimonial for use in FTSG’s marketing efforts, please email Dawn Wolfe.
Yes! Our Help Closet is located in the Samaritan Center Annex at 11457 Shoemaker Street in Detroit. We’re open on Mondays from 10 am – 2pm and Tuesdays from 11am – 3pm; or, just drop off your donation at your convenience if you don’t want or need a receipt for your taxes.
If you’re wondering whether or not your donation is a good “fit” for the Help Closet, just email Help Closet Coordinator Sherryl Ausbrooks for assistance.
First, you should receive an email acknowledging your gift. (Please email us right away if you haven’t gotten that initial message!) The rest of the process, though, may be a bit open-ended.
If you’ve registered your donation in response to a request on our Facebook page, we will pass your information along to the child welfare professional handling the case right away.
If you’ve made a gift that isn’t in response to a specific request, though, it may be awhile before a child welfare professional asks for the specific good or service you’ve listed.
If you haven’t heard from us in a week or two – or any time you have a question or suggestion – please feel free to get in touch.
In many cases, yes. We are a 501(c)3 charity listed with the Internal Revenue Service. Donations of services, however – may not be tax-deductible. In all cases, consult your tax professional to determine whether your gift is deductible from your taxes and how to value it for tax purposes.
First, you should receive an email from us acknowledging both your account and your request. (Please email us if you don’t see that email within a hour or so!) Next, a few different things may happen:
If the good or service you’ve requested has already been offered, a member of our staff will first contact the donor, and then contact you, to connect the two of you and arrange delivery.
You may hear from our Communications Specialist, Dawn Wolfe who will want to learn as much as you can legally tell us about the child or family in order to promote your request on our Facebook page. If our Dawn does promote your request, she will work with you and with the donor/s who come forward until the right match is made.
Other child-welfare charities tell a lot about the children that donors are helping. Why don’t you provide pictures and more information about the children you serve?
Michigan law forbids us from publicly identifying foster children. This is to protect the privacy of the foster children, and their families of origin, during a difficult time. We try to provide all the information possible so our supporters know what a huge difference they are making within the constraints of the law.
In addition to the kinds of things you might expect – toys, clothing, books, housewares – “our” children in foster care and the families who care for them directly often need a wide range of things that aren’t provided by Michigan’s foster care system. Here’s a partial list:
- Orthodontic care
- Prom dresses
- Music lessons
- Laptop computers
- Beds and cribs
- Major appliances
- Small appliances
- School supplies
- Home repairs
- Tickets to sporting or cultural events
- Sports equipment
- School uniforms
- Bedding and other linens
- Eyeglasses/contact lenses
- Salon services
Not sure whether the donation you want to give is a good fit? Email us first and we’ll be happy to help!
As Juvenile Court Referees, the program founders saw the impact of neglect and abuse on children and families every day. Children in foster care are there because they have already experienced deeply damaging hardships. At the very least they have suffered significant deprivation and neglect; at worst, they have experienced the severe physical and emotional abuse by the people entrusted with their safety and well-being.
This trauma does not disappear when they are removed from their homes. They find themselves in a system that determines everything from where they live to whether they get to visit with their own sisters and brothers. In many instances they are placed by strangers with strangers and most arrive in foster care with only the clothing on their backs and a few other belongings tossed in a garbage bag.
The Detroit area’s foster parents, foster care attorneys, volunteers, judges, and social workers are doing everything they can to help these incredibly vulnerable young people – but Michigan’s foster care system provides only the bare basics for children in care. In fact, foster parents receive just over half the actual cost of raising a child as determined by the United States Department of Agriculture.
The difference between what the state provides and children’s actual needs are particularly burdensome on kinship foster families, who are frequently given less than a days’ notice to prepare for the arrival of a child into their home while simultaneously being required to purchase big-ticket items like beds, cribs, and car seats right away.
Through We Care Foster Care caring members of our community have a chance to help these vulnerable children thrive,
Michigan’s foster care system only provides roughly half the actual cost of raising a child – and this includes a minimal amount for essentials like clothing. Many of “our” children in foster care rarely receive anything new – and too many of them enter care with only the clothing on their backs and a few other possessions tossed hastily in a garbage bag.
At the same time, a significant number of foster parents are already living on a low or restricted income when they get the call asking them to take in a child. They are grandparents, other relatives, or even friends of the family who open their hearts and their homes with little notice, and are almost instantly required to buy everything from clothing and diapers to beds with little to no assistance from the foster care system.
Our job as an organization isn’t just to provide these vulnerable children and families with “stuff.” Our goal is to help them thrive, and as part of that we feel they deserve the best that we can give them. That means items that are new, or at least as gently-used as possible.
Please note that we may also need to decline a donation if we’re unable to pick it up, store it, or it is in any way inappropriate for the foster children and families we serve.
We are big fans of the idea that the good we do for a child now does not affect just that child – it has an impact on their eventual children, and their grandchildren … down through the seventh generation. FTSG’s philosophy of service comes from this quote from Oren Lyons, Faithkeeper of the Onandaga Nation:
“The Peacemaker taught us about the Seven Generations. He said, when you sit in council for the welfare of the people, you must not think of yourself or of your family, not even of your generation. He said, make your decisions on behalf of the seven generations coming, so that they may enjoy what you have today.”
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