Our Story

Foster Village was founded by foster parents who understand first-hand the needs of foster families and the importance of having a village of support while in the trenches of foster care.

The Smiths became a licensed foster home in early 2014 and later had the privilege of adopting their precious daughter who came to their home at 8 months old. Through God's grace, they also welcomed their daughter's birth mother into the family - a strong young woman who grew up in the foster care system and opened the Smiths' eyes to the harsh realities of our broken child welfare system. 

This journey, both beautiful and challenging, helped Chrystal Smith see the gaps in the system and the needs that were not being met, both for foster families and for children experiencing or aging out of foster care. It also helped her see how the families and children with consistent and therapeutic networks of support were the ones who ultimately had the most success in growth and redemption, inspiring the idea for Foster Village.

Today, Foster Village is a nationwide movement, featured in national news and recognized as an award winning approach. And it will always be based in deep empathy for caregivers, an understanding of the foster care system and the belief that our children deserve more than a system; they deserve a village.

The Need

There are over 400,000 children in the foster care system in the United States today. Because of the instability often associated with foster care, being in foster care is a pipeline to some of our most critical social issues:

  • Former foster youth account for roughly 50% of our homeless population and 80% of human trafficking victims.
  • 80% of foster youth suffer from PTSD and depression.
  • 90% of youth with five or more placements enter the criminal justice system.
  • Half of all licensed foster homes quit after their first placement, leading to increased instability for foster youth.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Foster youth are bright, capable, resilient kids, and when they are given nurturing environments to grow up in, the tools they need to succeed and a community of support, they are empowered to overcome adversity and become who they are created to be.

Bringing Dignity to the System: We bring dignity to the child welfare system by treating every interaction as an invitation to experience belonging. We strive to honor the inherent dignity, value, and worth of every child and family we serve. We understand the complex root causes of why children are placed in the foster care system and the potential benefits of building relationships between foster and biological families when it is safe and possible. We believe that isolation and disconnect are the real villains, and we are here to make sure no one feels alone.

Holistic Approach: Everything we do is trauma-informed and developmentally appropriate. Each child has unique needs and experiences that do not fit into a one-size-fits-all approach. We have created safe, child-centered, and home-like resource hubs to empower children in foster care and their families. And our work goes far beyond just meeting immediate needs. While we provide full wrap-around support for families in crisis today, we also seek to create a better tomorrow for our community's vulnerable children by intentionally moving the needle toward a future where foster care is no longer needed.

Sustained Care: High burnout and turnover rates among foster families are common, which creates even more instability for children in foster care as they are moved from home to home. Over 90% of the families we serve cite the support they receive from Foster Village as one of the primary reasons that they are able to keep caring for children. Our services aim to be transformational rather than transactional.

All-Embracing Community: Everyone is welcome in our village, and a child's ability to overcome adversity is supported by the unique gifts that those around them bring to the table. We serve foster families, kinship caregivers, and biological parents, and we welcome volunteers from all backgrounds. We value the many roles of those working within the child welfare system (social workers, judges, guardian ad litems, etc.), as well as the many roles that the community beyond the system can play in being part of a child's village of support. Everyone has a role in shaping outcomes for future generations.

These three pillars are the basis of what we do. We invite you to learn more about how we provide resources, build relationships, and offer support.

Foster Village is here for families every step of the way. Through our resource center and therapeutic coaching and support, we help equip caregivers so they can focus on helping the children in their care thrive.

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Our goal is to create opportunities for foster families – both the children and the parents – to connect with each other. By connecting foster families with other foster families, biological families and trusted resources, families are strengthened and empowered to continue fostering.

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We bring dignity to the children and families we serve, understanding the root causes of why a child ends up in the foster care system, facilitating relationships between foster families and biological families and replicating communities of support around the nation.

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“I think Foster Village uniquely understands and supports the WHOLE family - the foster family, relatives, and biological family, and understands the tensions and complexities of doing that. It is not "us vs. them" to Foster Village. These children and families are connected to us, and we are connected to them. The best outcomes for everyone happen when we realize there is no enemy, and the healing power of love. Foster Village exemplifies that." - Foster Mom