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Online FosterClub Has Information, Fun Stuff, Chat Rooms for Foster Kids - and Adults

7/25/2001:   FosterClub, a nonprofit organization founded in 1999 by two sisters, has a free website (http://www.fosterclub.com) that provides an ongoing connection for foster children. Although more than 500,000 kids are in foster care in the United States, many feel as if they are hopeless and alone in their situations. The online FosterClub features activities, information, message boards, a questions and answers column, contests, and advice columns just for youth in foster care. A Hall of Fame List has biographies of famous former foster kids, including Charlotte Ayana (actress and a Miss Teen USA), Eddie Murphy (actor and comedian), and Tom Monaghan (founder of Domino's Pizza).

Feature columns include Stuff To Do, Talk Back, Kids Like Me, Getting a Job, Getting Educated, and Living on Your Own. For instance, the latter column, intended for those who are near "aging out" of foster care at age 18, provides information on taxes, 10 Things Every Apartment Hunter Should Know, and how to contact Independent Living Programs in each state.

The website accepts no advertising and has a strict safety policy to protect identities of FosterClub members.

FosterClub for Grownups includes success stories of youth placed in foster care, information on how to help a child in foster care (e.g., become an e-mentor, become a Court Appointed Special Advocate, provide
respite care, or make a child's wish come true). Adults can also nominate foster youth for the FosterClub Achievement Award. Every child nominated receives an award, and special prizes may be awarded for outstanding achievements in school, sports, community service, arts, and other activities.

The website also provides many links to information on foster parenting, statistics and research on foster care, news from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and other resources related to foster care, including Child Welfare League of America (CWLA).

CWLA publishes books and articles on many aspects of foster care. The publications are intended for child welfare professionals, foster parents and young people in foster care.

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