Springs of Love Teams: Next Steps

Once you have started your Springs of Love Team with L.O.V.E., you should have the foundations of your team in place: awareness in your community about the need for support of foster families and their children; a group of volunteers ready to help; and a list of families and/or agencies in your area that you can serve.

Now it’s time for next steps! Get your Team organized using these steps as a guide.

Springs of Love teams serve foster families in their community

Next Steps:

1. Get Connected

Set up an email list, a text thread, or a private group via Facebook or another online service. You will want to have a way to quickly and easily contact all members of your Team, or to add new volunteers.

Use your contact list to remind Team members about meetings and events, answer questions, and communicate any needs that might arise for your foster families.

Communicate with your team with a text thread or online group.

2. Get Online

Set up a parish ministry webpage on your parish website. Personalize it with your Team’s or Parish’s email and any specifics you can offer. Make sure to check it fairly regularly (every month or two) to make sure it still accurately reflects what your team is doing. You can also use this page to promote any events that Parish members might volunteer for or participate in – like an Advent Giving Tree or school supplies drive.

3. Plan Your Schedule

Every team will be different, depending on the population you are serving, how many volunteers you have, and what other resources are available. But your schedule should operate on two levels: 

  • First, plan a schedule for serving your foster families. Plan for monthly check-ins, regular meal delivery (at least once a month), and any other services you want to provide on a regular schedule, like a play date on the first Saturday of every month or a support group for parents. See our list of ways to support foster families.
  • Second, plan your big events for the year. This might be just two events a year, or one every month! Determine what your team and Parish can handle. At a minimum, aim for two events: an awareness event and a donation drive of some sort, whether for school supplies, new clothing items, Christmas gifts, or other. A list of project ideas is available.

Use our template to create your team’s yearly calendar, or create one of your own. (View a sample schedule here.) Having the year mapped out in advance will help your team stay organized and motivated.

4. Organize Your Team

You may want to have a Team Leader to keep things running smoothly, or a few roles to spread out responsibilities. You will want someone to:

Train your Springs of Love team on the sensitive needs of children in foster care.

  • Check in with your foster families at least once a month; find out if they have any needs, and encourage them to let you know if anything comes up that your Team can help with. Need a new twin bed? Ask your Team to help! Need homework help for a teenager taking algebra? Ask your Team to help! Families can contact a point person on your team to let them know any needs they have, and that team member can use the contact list (step 1) to find someone on the team who can fill it, or ask out to the Parish community if necessary. You could have one contact person for each family, or one team member check in with all families.
  • Run meetings with your team to check in and plan for your bigger events throughout the year. These meetings can be in person or via Zoom, but you will need a Team member to lead the meetings, remind members of the time and date, and send out a summary of the meeting afterwards to all Team members, including those who could not attend the meeting.
  • Supervise bigger projects and activities that your Team has planned for your families.
  • Remind your parish of the work you’re doing and invite them to join your Team or help out with a specific project! You can do this through announcements at Mass, promotions in your Sunday bulletin or social media, or a Parish email. 
  • Keep track of finances. Whether you have a budget through your parish, collect dues, or accept donations from your Parish, you should have a Team member keep track of that money and what you spend it on.

5. Training & Background Checks

  • Training. Working with children in foster care requires a certain amount of discretion and an understanding of their privacy and particular needs. For example, you should avoid taking photos or video of children in foster care. Contact us to find out when our next training session is and invite all members of your Team or Parish who are likely to interact with your families to join.
  • Background checks. Team members should go through the VIRTUS Protecting God’s Children training at their parish, which is required for all parishioners who work with children. This training includes background checks, which are also necessary to work with children in foster care. An example of the background check process, from the state of Ohio, is outlined on their website. Background checks are typically good for 5 years.