Whether you have a well-established foster program or are just getting started, one question always remains: How can you get more fosters? Faith Wright tackles this question and provides innovative actionable ideas in her presentation of Foster Faster: Growing Your Dog Foster Program at the American Pets Alive! 2015 conference.
One of her ideas? A teen foster program, which has seen a lot of success at Austin Pets Alive! (APA!), where Wright serves as the Operations Manager.
“The teen foster program is really beneficial to us, ” said Wright. She explained that in addition to getting the teenager involved early and increasing their chances of staying involved as an adult, you also gain that family. “Because when that student moves out, they have empty nest syndrome, and what better way to recover from your empty nest syndrome then having puppies and kittens in your home?”
Not to mention, they tell their friends.
How can you go about recruiting teenagers? “Most of our teens come from high school. We advertise in the high schools, at PTO meetings, and Girl Scout/Boy Scout meetings.” Many students need community service hours to graduate and this is a perfect way to help them achieve that.
The average length of time for each foster in the APA! teen program is four to six weeks. Fosters commit to a 4 week minimum unless a shorter foster stay is arranged ahead of time with the foster team.
Their teen foster program is open to teens who meet these requirements:
- Care about and want to help animals
- At least 13 years old (at least 16 years old for puppies and kittens under 5 weeks old)
- Parent approved as APA! foster, who is willing to oversee and help teen take care of foster pet(s)
- Training required by APA! for certain types of fosters (young puppies/kittens, medical cases)
Learn more about starting a teen foster program of your own, including community service received per type of foster, how to get started, and other ideas to expand your current foster program by watching the full conference recording here!