Established in 2016, we envision ourselves to be an organization that promotes health and wellness among Alabama’s foster youth by promoting meaningful participation in social, community, home, and school environments.
Our mission is to identify and allow provision for appropriate and quality services and opportunities that would otherwise be unavailable to children currently or previously in foster care. Foster the Future Alabama seeks to provide opportunities that enable children in Alabama's foster system to meet their fullest potential in home, school, and community settings.
About the Founder
MS, OTR/L, TBRI® Practitioner
Rachel Ashcraft is the founder and president of Foster the Future Alabama. Rachel's passion for children and families who are involved in the foster system grew out of her experience as a foster parent. As a foster parent and pediatric occupational therapist, Rachel saw firsthand the disparities that exist within the community for children in foster care compared to children not involved in the system. Children and families in crisis were often unable to access basic services within the community due to logistical and financial reasons. Even when families could access needed services, those providers were often not trauma-informed and prepared to navigate the unique needs of the children, first families, foster families, and adoptive families. Rachel and Foster the Future Alabama believe all children have a right to a safe childhood and are committed to the mission of first family reunification and preservation.
Family preservation and child safety require services to build skills that:
1) Support whole family emotional regulation
2) Develop healthy daily habits and routines
3) Equip parents, teachers, and other adults with skills to meet the complex needs of children who have experienced trauma
4) Promote meaningful family and community participation.
Rachel's experience as a foster parent was that it was easier to get "things" for children in care than support for children in care.
While it is great for people to donate backpacks to foster children, there is a shortage of resources to help that could do the work inside the backpack. Where are the services that help with executive functioning skills and academic skills needed to actually excel at school?
Donating pj's for kids is helpful, but many children in foster care have significant difficulties sleeping. Where are the services to provide intervention and family education to establish safe and healthy sleeping routines? How can a child feel safe enough in new spaces to even go to sleep?
It's wonderful that children in foster care get free lunch at school. But what can schools, community workers, first families, and foster families due to help children with sensory needs and food aversions? What is being done to alleviate food insecurity for these children?
There are hundreds of more examples like these.
Rachel founded Foster the Future Alabama with the purpose of establishing an avenue for innovative programming aimed to decrease the inequities like the ones described above. Children do need things, but there are many wonderful organizations providing just that. Foster the Future Alabama was born out of a desire to fill in these gaps of inequity facing children and families involved in the Foster system.
“Everything that is done in the world is done by hope.”