Young people in foster care often have no choice but to pack their belongings in a few trash bags as they are moved from their parent/guardian’s home to a placement - or as they are moved from one placement to the next. This image of children lugging their clothes in large Hefty bags to temporary homes has spawned efforts by organizations and individuals to provide duffel bags full of necessities for those in care.
However, having a bag more permanent than a trash bag is an answer for only the most visible problem. It is still a bag that a child must fill up when their time is up.
Youth in foster care are forced to become accustomed to living in the temporary as opposed to the permanent. Few, particularly those who are teenagers, are adopted or find homes that they can remain in long-term. As a result, youth in foster care often only have enough belongings to fit into a bag - trash or duffel - and that habit of minimalism by necessity can stick with them into adulthood.
May is National Foster Care Month. Let’s spend this month finding ways to help youth in foster care and the young adults who have aged out of the system put down roots, so that they can have the opportunity - and the stability - to fill more than a bag.