In Kind Donations

We need a large variety of items that help our programs to be successful. These items range from office supplies and furniture to gift certificates at local businesses. Please take a moment to read through our wish list below and see if you can help!

Office items

  • Blank CD’s & Cases to be used to send photos of children to caseworkers.
  • Table Easels
  • Picture Frames: 8″x10″ & 12″x18″
  • Digital Picture Frames
  • Photo Albums 4″x6″
  • Computers/Laptops
  • Large red table cloths for events
  • Office Chairs

Gift Cards & Coupons

We are in need of gift cards/coupons to local and national businesses that our mentors can use when spending time with a child. This helps to offset the cost involved for the many mentors who donate large portions of their time and money to be involved in the lives of these children. Additionally, we have a small army of volunteers who work tirelessly to create/update the website, family matching assistance programs, heart gallery, training, data input, etc. and it goes a long ways to show our appreciation to them once in a while with a lunch or dinner.

So, gift cards/coupons to coffee houses, restuarants, laser tag, paintball, bowling, golfing, etc.

Books / Games

Many of the children that are adopted are through A Family For Every Child are above toddler age and many of the parents are first time parents. To help with this new experience, we are looking for books and games that can be given to families and the children to start things off right.

  • Small light weight games that can be shipped
  • Crafts for kids
  • Books

Common Diagnoses of Foster Children

It is critical for children in foster care to get routine developmental screenings and any necessary follow-up. Routine pediatric visits include developmental check-ups, but children may not be seen regularly by a pediatrician while living in foster care. A child’s physical and mental functioning may improve if problems are recognized during routine developmental screenings and necessary treatment is provided.

Given that the life of a child in foster care is often filled with separation and loss it is not surprising that behavioral and psychiatric issues are common in these children.


Generalized anxiety disorder is characterized by excessive, exaggerated anxiety and worry about everyday life events with no obvious reasons for worry. People with symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder tend to always expect disaster and can’t stop worrying. Daily life becomes a constant state of worry, fear, and dread. Eventually, the anxiety so dominates the person’s thinking that it interferes with daily functioning.


Asthma is an inflammatory disorder of the airways, which causes attacks of wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and coughing.

Compulsive water drinking (polydipsia)

Polydipsia is a medical symptom in which the patient displays excessive thirst.


Depression is a serious medical illness that involves the brain. It’s more than just a feeling of being “down in the dumps” or “blue” for a few days. The feelings do not go away. They persist and interfere with your everyday life. Symptoms can include:

  • Sadness
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities you used to enjoy
  • Change in weight
  • Difficulty sleeping or oversleeping
  • Energy loss
  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

Developmental delay

Developmental Delay is when your child does not reach their developmental milestones at the expected times. It is an ongoing major or minor delay in the process of development. If your child is temporarily lagging behind, that is not called developmental delay. Delay can occur in one or many areas—for example, gross or fine motor, language, social, or thinking skills.

Emotional or behavioral problems


Encopresis is the voluntary or involuntary passage of stools in a child who has been toilet trained (typically over age 4), which causes the soiling of clothes. Encopresis is frequently is associated with constipation and fecal impaction. Often, hard fecal material remains in the colon and the child only passes a soft or semi-liquid stool around the impacted stool. Leakage of stool may occur during the day or night. There are rarely physical causes other than constipation (sometimes present since infancy). Other causes may be related to:

  • A lack of toilet training
  • Toilet training at too early an age
  • Emotional disturbance such as oppositional defiant disorder

The following may increase the risk for encopresis:

  • Being male
  • Chronic constipation
  • Low socioeconomic status

Conduct disorder

Whatever the cause the child may develop associated shame, guilt, or loss of self-esteem. The child may try to hide the discovery of the problem.


Bedwetting is involuntary urination in children over 5 to 6 years old. It may occur at any time of the day or night.

Excess appetite (hyperphagia)

Excessive hunger describes an abnormally strong desire or need to eat. This can be normal or related to an underlying medical condition.

Failure to thrive

Failure to thrive is a description applied to children whose current weight or rate of weight gain is significantly below that of other children of similar age and sex.

Genetic and birth defect syndromes

HIV infection

HIV infection is a disease caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The condition gradually destroys the immune system, which makes it harder for the body to fight infections.

Inadequate immunization

Long bone and rib fractures

Poor dental hygiene or multiple caries

Poorly controlled chronic illness

Prenatal exposure to cocaine, alcohol, narcotics

Reactive Attachment Disorder

Reactive attachment disorder is a rare but serious condition in which infants and young children don’t establish healthy bonds with parents or caregivers. A child with reactive attachment disorder is typically neglected, abused, or moved multiple times from one caregiver to another. Because the child’s basic needs for comfort, affection and nurturing aren’t met, he or she never establishes loving and caring attachments with others. This may permanently alter the child’s growing brain and hurt their ability to establish future relationships. Reactive attachment disorder is a lifelong condition, but with treatment children can develop more stable and healthy relationships with caregivers and others. Safe and proven treatments for reactive attachment disorder include psychological counseling and parent or caregiver education.

Sexually transmitted diseases

Shaken baby syndrome

(SBS) is a form of physical child abuse that occurs when an abuser violently shakes an infant or small child, creating a whiplash-type motion that causes acceleration-deceleration injuries. It is common for there to be no external evidence of trauma.

Sleep disorders

Sleep disorders involve any difficulties related to sleeping, including difficulty falling or staying asleep, falling asleep at inappropriate times, excessive total sleep time, or abnormal behaviors associated with sleep.

Emotional Needs

The children AFFEC serves have been removed from their birth families. due to neglect, and/or abuse, and have varying degrees of emotional needs. Many of these children are slow to trust a new person or family, having suffered past losses and often finding the adults in their lives unreliable or unable to care for them. Emotional difficulties can also result in a child having behavioral difficulties. Hoarding food, withdrawing, having difficulty telling the truth and competing for attention are among the most common behaviors.

It can be especially challenging to deal with a child who has been through a traumatic experience. If a child is unwilling or unable to discuss these experiences, the frustration may be so overwhelming that it affects the child’s ability to function on a day-to-day basis. A sense of security and support services will often help a child make great strides in a new family. Many of the waiting children benefit from counseling and other therapeutic services.

Physical Difficulties

While most of the waiting children are healthy, some do have physical difficulties or disabilities. Some may have asthma, cleft palate, mild forms of bronchitis or allergies or easily treatable medical conditions. Other children have more severe physical disabilities, such as limb deformities, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, cystic fibrosis, congenital heart disease, life-threatening illnesses and various types of developmental disabilities.

Learning Disabilities

Many waiting children have difficulties comprehending, processing or retaining oral and/or written information. Within the general public school population, 10 to 20 percent of children have some form of learning disability. Learning disabilities can manifest themselves in any number of ways. The most common problems are Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), hyperactivity and dyslexia.

Mentor Resources

Mentor Assisted Life Skills

A Family For Every Child is proud to offer the Mentor Assisted Life Skills Program to help support mentors and mentees in our Mentor Program. The mission of this branch is to support youth educationally through providing them with the life skills they need in order to live as successful adults.

What is Mentor Assisted Life Skills Training?

We pair mentors with youth who will work on developing life skills together. Mentors and mentees will be offered a curriculum that includes information on how to handle one's finances, healthcare, cooking, and more. This program will better prepare children who are at risk of "aging out" of foster care and living on their own. These classes in conjunction with the mentors' support will aid in the success of each child becoming a self sufficient adult!

These fun and informative classes are held on a monthly basis, and we hope to increase that number soon. These classes are not only learning opportunities, but they’re opportunities for foster youth to meet their peers.

If you are interested in helping with our Mentor Assisted Life Skills classes, please email


National Mentor Partnership Program

Would you like to change the life of a foster child?

Many of our organizations do wonderful things to help foster children. Are you looking for other ways that can make a huge impact on the youth in your area? Start a mentor program and we are here to help.

A Family for every child was started in 2006 and has developed many successful programs to help youth in foster care. One of our most successful programs is our mentor program. Our goal for our mentor program is to create meaningful mentoring relationships that will help increase the odds for future success for the young person. Studies show that surrounding foster care youth with positive role models will help increase their odds for future success.

Mentoring relationships can play a huge role in helping foster youth reach their potential and have healthy successful lives. Research shows that youth who are mentored are 45 percent less likely to use illicit drugs; 59 percent more likely to succeed in school; and 73 percent more likely to attain higher life achievement goals. Foster youth are moved from school to school and home to home. They lack stability and permanency. It is our responsibility to ensure that these youth have the opportunity to build lasting relationships. These youth can learn to thrive when someone gives them the time and energy to show they care.

Want to set up a mentor program in your area?

The mentor support system provides guidelines on how to build new mentor programs and/or successfully help strengthen your old program. It focuses on designing and planning the program, managing the program and sustaining the program. As Oprah Winfrey once said, "A mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself."

We will provide the following assistance for agencies working with "at risk" youth.

  • Selecting the management team for your organization.
  • Developing a financial plan
  • Promoting the program
  • Building relationships with Department of Human Services, therapists, schools.
  • Building relationships with community partners.
  • Recruiting mentors.
  • Training, screening, background checks on mentors.
  • Matching process.
  • Monitoring and support of the mentor/mentee relationship.
  • Closure
  • Evaluation of the program's success.
  • Sustaining the program.

Adoption Questions

Getting Started


What kinds of questions might I ask about a perspective adoption?What kind of information do I need about my adopted child? When is it provided?

  • Why the child was initially (and, if applicable, subsequently) placed in foster care
  • A description of the home environment from which the child was removed
  • Details about the child’s other placements while in care

When children join a new foster or adoptive family,they often bring complicated histories that include abuse and neglect.

Some children have multiple diagnoses that affect their health, social and emotional well-being, and school performance. The more you know, the better prepared you can be to advocate for your child and handle situations as they may arise. Accurate information will also help you know more clearly why and when you may need to seek support from various professionals, get advice from experienced foster and adoptive parents, or tap into other community resources for help.

Social and Medical History

Start by learning as much as you can about your prospective child's social and medical history from your state, province, county, or agency. Specific rules on what must be shared vary by state and province. You should seek the following information:

Adoption Questions
  • The child’s school records and other details about the child’s educational experiences and abilities
  • An assessment of how well the child interacts with peers, adults, and others
  • Immunization and other health records (including diagnoses such as fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) and problems arising from other prenatal drug exposure or pre-term delivery, attachment difficulties, learning disabilities, emotional and behavioral problems, and other mental health concerns)
  • A checklist of the child’s behaviors, and how certain diagnoses and issues play out in family life as well as how other families have learned to cope with them
  • Non-identifying details about the birth parents (including their general background, education, employment, armed services history; social or medical risk factors, drug usage, medical and mental health history, other children, and extended birth family history). Also inquire about the birth mother’s care during pregnancy, and any risk factors for the child due to the mother’s experiences during pregnancy or complications during delivery.

Information from Former Caregivers

Former caregivers may also be willing to share what they know about the family and offer insight about the child. Questions you might ask include:

  • What information about the child’s and the birth family’s social and medical history do you believe is significant?
  • What is missing from the paperwork?
  • How can I get more information?
  • Currently, how is the child’s health? Are there any diagnoses or allergies you know of that are not listed in his file?
  • Is the child still in touch with his/her birth family? If not, when was the last contact the child had with the birth family?
  • Does the child have siblings? Does the child have contact with the siblings? Will contact continue and to what degree?
  • Is the child showing behaviors related to abuse, separation, or other trauma? Have other children been victimized by this behavior? If so, how?
  • How many moves has the child experienced in foster care? What were the reasons for the moves? How is the child functioning as a result?
  • How does the child relate to peers in the neighborhood and school?
  • What methods of discipline does the child respond to best?
  • What comforts the child? What comforting objects do you think should follow the child into adoption?
  • What items, smells, foods, experiences, or events seem to trigger negative behavior in the child?
  • What, in your opinion, is at the root of these behaviors? What in the child’s past might be causing him or her to behave in certain ways?
  • Would you be willing to tell the child that he or she has your permission to join our family?
  • Would you be willing to maintain some contact with the child during the transition to adoption? Provide respite care?

Take Action

After gathering all the information you can, the most important thing you can do is to firmly commit to doing whatever it takes to help the child let go of the pain from his past and learn to face the future with hope. To learn more about the importance of family background information and find links to specific state laws, visit the Child Welfare Information Gateway

I'm having problems with the child welfare system. What can I do to help change it?

If you want to help change the system, join others who are already working in that area. Contact the parent groups in your area (find a database of groups at this link) to find out what they are doing or if they know of other advocacy groups you can get involved with. To report a specific problem, contact your adoption manager or the NACAC representative in your state. You may also want to contact one of AdoptUsKids’ Training and Technical Assistance consultants (a directory of staff and consultants is available at AdoptUsKids: Permanency - Tools and Resources).

Single Parent Adoption Resources

Pre-Placement Resources

    Provides general information on the interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) courtesy of teh AAICPC organization.
  • American Academy of Adoption Attorneys
    Members throughout the U.S. and Canada who are experienced in the complexities of adoption law as well as interstate and international regulations surrounding adoption.
  • ICPC and Inter-Jurisdictional Placements
    Child Welfare Information Gateway provides a selection of resources on ICPC.
  • ICPC Receiving State Checklist
    Checklist from Adopt Us Kids providing a general overview of what is involved in the ICPC process and what will be required of the adoptive family/their adoption agency during the ICPC process. Please note that each state is different , and the documents required can vary.
  • ICPC Sending State Checklist
    Checklist from Adopt Us Kids providing a general overview of what is involved in the ICPC process and what will be required of the child’s social worker during the ICPC process. Please note that each state is different, and he documents can vary.
  • ICPC State Pages
    Provides general information on the ICPC process for all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
  • ICPC: What You Need to Know breaks down the basics of the ICPC process.
  • IFAPA Lifebook Pages
    Free lifebook families may download and print, courtesy of Iowa Foster and Adoptive Parent Association.
  • IFAPA Welcome Book Pages
    Free welcome book pages families may download and print, courtesy of Iowa Foster and Adoptive Parent Association.
  • Lifebooks
    Request a Lifebook volunteer at AFFEC assist you in creating a lifebook for your child.
  • Lifebooks: Do’s and Don’ts
    Beth O’Malley provides guidelines for creating a child’s lifebook.
  • Private and Independent Adoptions Under the New ICPC Guidelines
    AAICPC answers frequently asked questions about the new ICPC guidelines’ effects on private and independent adoptions.
  • Transition Guidelines
    Click the Transition Guidelines to view tips and suggestions for ensuring a smooth transition.
  • Welcome Books
    Request a Welcome Book volunteer at AFFEC assist you in creating a welcome book for your child.
  • What is in the Welcome Book for Foster Children?
    Foster Care Q&A shows a sample welcome book.
  • Writing Up a Safety Plan
    Includes a sample safety plan families can use.

Getting Started

Disclaimer: The views and opinions reflected in the blogs listed below are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of A Family For Every Child.

Blogs and Online Publications

Disclaimer: The views and opinions reflected in the blogs listed below are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of A Family For Every Child.