Host families are all volunteers. For international hosting visits, host families open their homes for four to five weeks and agree to introduce the child to meet adoptive families during their hosting visit. Every weekend children participate in weekend events which enable interested families to interact with the kids and get to know them. When a family is interested in getting to know a child more, then more visits are arranged. Kidsave’s hosting program for foster youth is currently only offered in Los Angeles. Another hosting program, DC Family and Youth Services, offers hosting in Washington, DC. Kidsave’s weekend hosts commit to one year and have the child in their homes at least two weekends a month. Monthly community events are held to introduce the kids to people interested in adoption and hosting. In the event that an American child isn’t ready for adoption, we work to identify mentors that will step in and stick by the kids long-term.
The experience and exposure that summer vacations and weekend visits provide a child dramatically changes their lives.
Learn more about hosting for international adoption through our Summer Miracles® Program or helping a child in US foster care through our Weekend Miracles® Program.
Steps to Hosting a Child from Overseas with Summer Miracles
1. Complete the Host Inquiry Form. Our friendly staff will provide you with more details about the summer program.
2. Sign up and complete the 60 minute on line orientation webinar with Bevin, the Summer Miracles Program Coordinator.
3. Ready to apply? Make your $275 application payment. A link to the Application Packet will be emailed to you upon payment.
4. Contact the local Kidsave Agency Partner to begin your psychosocial study or home study.
5. Go to Community Tools and review the Host Family Handbook and other resources. A password will be sent when your application is received.
– Complete Agency Training
– Attend Kidsave Program and Advocacy Training scheduled by your local Coordinator
7. April 15 remaining hosting payment due.
8. Prepare for the child’s arrival and host!
Prerequisites & Costs
Summer Hosts are required to pay a non-refundable $275 application payment due before submission of an application.
Costs of hosting depend on where you live.
- Families who are hosting the kids from Colombia with the intent of adoption can be located anywhere in the U.S. Even though these families are interested in adoption, advocacy for the child or children is still required. The hosting fee for families outside of Kidsave communities is $2,500
- Fees for families hosting in one of Kidsave’s “communities” is $1,250. Kidsave communities include Des Moines, Southern California, Northern California, Metro Washington, DC/Northern VA/MD, New York/New Jersey/Connecticut, and Chicago.
- Kidsave may have a select number of scholarships available for advocate families for children who would not be able to travel otherwise. Scholarships are awarded based on need and the appropriateness of a family to host and advocate for available children. If you wish to apply for a scholarship please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our partner agencies have their own geological areas and their own hosting guidelines and requisites. For information about these parameters you should speak with the agency directly.
Host Requirements in Kidsave Communities
- Hosts must be at least 25 years of age.
- Hosts and anyone over age 18 in their household must undergo a psychosocial home visit, fingerprinting/background check and child abuse clearances. Existing government clearances are not accepted. Current homestudies are usually accepted. At least one visit to the home by one of our licensed social worker partners is required.
- Host parents both must attend an online orientation and community training sessions.
Note: Fees paid help support operation of Summer Miracles all year round. Fees help identify children for the program, work with the government to insure the children can travel, are available for adoption and have proper documentation, support escorts who travel with the children, support advocacy for the children while they are here and after they are gone until they are adopted or no longer eligible for the program.
If you are interested in learning more about hosting the best way to get started is to fill out our Inquiry Form and someone will contact you.
FAQ’s About the Program and Hosting A Child
From the Beginning – Who is Kidsave?
Kidsave is a non-profit organization whose mission is to ensure that no orphan or foster child is forgotten and that every child grows up in a family with love and hope for a successful future. Since 1999, more than 3,000 children have found parents and lasting connections with adults thanks to Kidsave programs.
And… What is the Summer Miracles Program?
Summer Miracles is approximately a four-week hosting program that provides older children growing up in foster care and orphanages with a unique summer experience to share the love and life of a family, attend day camp, and enjoy educational and cultural activities in the United States.
While the children are here they receive medical, dental, and/or psychological attention (as needed) and cultivate a lifetime connection with an American family.
We have found that during the summer, miracles happen, and many children are adopted
by American families they meet during the Summer Miracles program. Since 1999, more than 1,700 children have participated in the program and over 80% of them have found permanent families as a result. Those few children who do not find a permanent family often leave with an adult connection that will provide support to them after the hosting program is over, giving each participant a chance to have a more secure future. The Summer Miracles program aims to create awareness of children growing up in foster care and orphanages by introducing Americans to kids who have little or no chance of finding adoptive parents in their own county.
Who Are the Children That Participate in the Program?
- Mostly children between the ages of 10-14, occasionally children under age 10 who are a part of a sibling group
- Single children and sibling groups (up to 4)
- Children who may have emotional, medical, and educational needs
How Does Kidsave Select the Children Who Will Participate in the Summer Miracles Program?
The children that are chosen for the Summer Miracles program are selected based on specific program requirements and are believed to have the ability to benefit from the experience and successfully adapt to family living.
Who Can Host A Child?
- Hosts must be at least 25 years old. There is no maximum age to host.
- Hosts can be married couples, a single woman or a single man. Single men can only host boys. LGBT families welcomed.
- No member of the host household can have a conviction for any violent crime or a crime against a child. Other types of prior convictions such as drug or alcohol abuse/DUI will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
- Hosts must be in good physical and psychiatric health. Prior psychiatric hospitalization/ history, and/or use of psychotropic medication may cause ineligibility for hosting
- The host family’s home (house or apartment) must provide a safe environment and include adequate space. A host child may share a bedroom with at most one other child of the same gender.
- A minimum of one adult host must be a licensed driver in good standing.
- A past disrupted adoption or denial by home study agency may cause ineligibility for hosting
Our policies for host family selection are bound by country protocols.
How Does the Summer Miracles Program Work?
- Prospective families first attend an information meeting. If interested in hosting, a Host Family Application Packet and $275 application fee must be submitted. Upon receipt of application and fee, the local coordinator provides the family with access to additional required documents that must be submitted.
- Families visit with a local social worker who completes and submits the required hosting paperwork and approves their participation in the program. The family’s participation must also be approved by the sending country.Additionally, families must pay the $1250 hosting fee (for families living in a hosting community) or $2500 (for families living outside of a hosting community). The fee is charged per single child or sibling group (i.e. only one fee for a sibling set), and is used to offset some of the costs for the child’s participation in the program.
- Scholarships are available for advocate families, see note above.
- Children are matched with approved host families (usually in late spring). The match is made by the family’s social worker.
- Approved families MUST complete program required training. Training occurs prior to the children’s arrival to the United States.
- Host families meet the children at the airport and then take them home to live as part of their family for the duration of the program.
- Children may attend a local day camp with American kids and/or other enrichment activities, and also participate in events planned by Kidsave.
- Children and host families get to know one another in a relaxed, nurturing, home environment.
- Families advocate for their host child(ren) to find a permanent family during their stay by taking the child to planned Kidsave events and also by introducing the child to their circle of friends and others in the community.
- Then miracles happen! Many host families fall in love with their child and make the commitment to adopt. Other families meet the children while they are here and make a commitment to adopt. Many families are inspired to become life-long advocates for children growing up in orphanages and foster care.
- All children return to their country of origin at the end of the four-week period accompanied by their chaperone.
What Will the Children do While They Are Here?
In addition to going to camp/enrichment activities and participating in day-to-day family life, Kidsave volunteers and staff plan weekend and weekday events designed to bring the children and families together, and to give people who are interested in meeting the kids a chance to interact with them as well. As needed, children will receive medical, dental, and psychological attention.
What Kind of Training and Support Will Host Families Receive?
Host families must complete required training provided by their home study agency and Kidsave. Families will receive training materials and resources such as the Host Family Handbook,
The Profile of the Older Post-Institutionalized Child, How to Talk to My Host Child About Adoption- Not!, a Child Talk language guide, and a recommended reading list so that they can learn more about the issues a post-institutionalized child may face. While the children are here for the summer, families have the support of their local social worker, coordinator, and Kidsave staff. Hosts attend two support meetings during the program, facilitated by their local coordinator. Additionally, families get access to a resource guide that outlines additional support services.
Aside From Providing a Home to a Child For Five Weeks, What Else Will Be Expected of Me?
- Host families are expected to involve the children in day to day family living in a safe and nurturing environment.
- Host families must attend weekend events that bring all host families, children, and chaperones together.
- Host families are expected to advocate for their host child (ren) at events and help them find a permanent family.
- Families are asked to help raise money with others in the community to support scholarships for children to be able to travel.
Do the Children Have Health Insurance While They are in the US?
Kidsave covers the insurance premium for a basic major medical and accident policy to cover each child and chaperone participating in the program while in the United States. The insurance will pay 90 percent for covered services under established “reasonable and customary” charge guidelines for your area and the type of service. There is no deductible. Families are expected to pay the 10% co-pays and uncovered services.
What Do the Summer Miracles Kids Bring With Them?
Most Summer Miracles kids step off the airplane with a backpack containing clothes for their visit. It will probably be necessary for your family to purchase a couple outfits for your Summer Miracles child. We also encourage you to use clothing your children have outgrown or collect clothing donations from friends and family. Less is more for these children. They are not used to having many clothing choices so there is no reason to feel you should provide these children with a whole new closet full of clothes.
What is the Purpose of the Weekend and Weekday Events?
Events are designed to give the community an opportunity to meet the children and interact with them and are held to generate media attention.
Do Host Families Have to Speak the Child’s Language?
No. It is helpful when families speak the child’s language but not required. Most families do not find the language barrier a critical problem. Families who have hosted children say they were able to overcome communication problems quickly.
To provide additional support to our host families, Kidsave provides a glossary of familiar terms in the child’s language called Child Talk. Volunteer translators typically attend events, and are available to interpret and help families communicate with their kids.
What is the Role of the Chaperone That Comes With the Children?
Chaperones are representatives from the children’s country and can be social workers, psychologists, directors and/or government officials. These chaperones have the power of attorney over the children. Their job is to make sure that the children have a safe visit and to get to know the families who may be applying to adopt them. All host families must plan to have the chaperone stay in their home approximately one week during the child’s visit.
What if a HostFamily Finds That They Are Not Able to Keep the Child for the Entire Summer?
Kidsave’s goal is to keep a child in the same home for the duration of the summer program. However, sometimes unexpected things happen within a family that will prohibit them from continuing to host the child for the length of their stay. Protocols are in place to address this.
What Happens to the Kids at the End of the Summer Miracles Program?
After the five-week visit, all the children must return home to their country with their chaperones. Kidsave’s relationship with the children does not stop, as the organization continues to advocate for the children so that each child can become connected to a caring adult.
What if a Family Decides to Adopt?
If a family decides they would like to adopt a child they have met through Summer Miracles Kidsave provides the family with next steps and a list of Hague accredited partnering agencies who can facilitate the adoption. Only an adoption agency can verify the legal availability of the child for adoption.
What Does Kidsave as a National Organization Do?
Kidsave manages the Summer Miracles program at a national level and helps raise money to bring the children here. Kidsave works with government and country officials to obtain permission for the children to travel, screens and approves the children and chaperones for participation, arranges for all documentation for children and chaperones to travel, coordinates travel for the children and the chaperons, and provides training and preparation for the children and chaperones. Here in the US, Kidsave builds and facilitates the Summer Miracles program, develops partnerships, recruits and trains community volunteers to recruit to coordinate the local program. Kidsave manages advocacy for all children needing families.
What Fundraising Responsibilities do Host Families Assume?
We ask that you help your local Summer Miracles committee to raise the necessary funds to bring the identified group of children to your city. The cost for one child to participate in the Summer Miracles program is approximately $7,500. The local community is responsible for raising $5000 per child who travels. Host families are not responsible for raising a specific amount but are expected to participate in and/or support their local community fundraising efforts as much as is feasible.
What Kinds of Volunteers are Needed for Summer Miracles?
Volunteers are needed to participate in the planning committee that coordinates each local program. Volunteer opportunities include fundraising, host family recruitment, communication/outreach, activity/event planning, host family support, escort coordination, hospitality, etc. Learn more about Volunteering with Kidsave
Steps to Hosting a Child from Los Angeles County Foster Care through Kidsave:
You must live in the Los Angeles metro area.
Hosts are required to spend at least two weekends a month for a minimum period of one year with the child they are matched with.
1. Questions? Complete the Host Inquiry Form. Our friendly staff will provide you with more details about the program.
2. Attend a Weekend Miracles Orientation Learn more about Weekend Miracles to see if the program is right for you.
3. Ready to Host? Complete the online application and go through the checklist you will see upon submission.
4. Visit the Host Family Support Center – you will get a password after you submit the application above.
5. Visit the Weekend Miracles Gallery to view the kids in our program who need host and/or adoptive families.
6. Program and Advocacy Training This 2-hour webinar covers program protocols, roles and responsibilities, and provides tools and resources.
Weekend Miracles Training Calendar
7. Attend a 12-hour Host Training Event Info about foster youth, why they are in care and how they are affected.
Weekend Miracles Training Calendar
For more information, please contact email@example.com
FAQ’s About the Program and Hosting A Child
How is Los Angeles County involved in the program?
Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) identifies the children who can participate in the program. DCFS prepares the child, provides the assessments for and approval of host families, and can facilitate placements and adoption.
Why does the application require fingerprinting, TB testing, health history and CPR/First Aid?
The application is based on minimum requirements stipulated by LA County DCFS. The County requires a background check & TB test to ensure child safety. The health history determines if an adult is physically and mentally suitable to interact and care for foster youth. CPR/First Aid certification and TB test must be renewed every 2 years.
What does the training entail?
Ten hours of training is part of LA County DCFS foster care provider curriculum. The curriculum will help you engage with the youth appropriately. Two hours of training entails information on how to advocate for the foster youth in our program. If you have already completed MAPP, PRIDE or similar Foster Care/Adoption License training, you will only need to complete the two-hour advocacy training.
What are the ages of the kids in the program?
The youth are 9 or older, single children and sibling groups who might have educational, emotional and/or medical needs. They live in foster homes or group homes, and have had parental reunification terminated.
Have parental rights been terminated from the foster youth?
The youth in our program have reunification terminated. In LA County, parental rights are not officially terminated until the youth is in an adoptive placement or has a court ordered adoption plan.
How do I meet the youth and how much time can I spend with them?
Prospective hosts meet and interact with the youth at our monthly advocacy events. Once you are approved by LA County DCFS as a match with a youth, you are approved to spend time with the youth outside of the advocacy events.
Can I host even if my significant other may not be interested in hosting at this time?
Yes, however anyone living in the same home with you must be fingerprinted and provide a TB test.
Can I host if I live outside Los Angeles County?
Yes, as long as you are able to commit to driving to the monthly advocacy events, and, once matched with a child, transport them to and from your home at least twice a month.
Can I host one child of a sibling set?
This depends on the circumstance and is analyzed on a case by case basis.
Can I bring my own children to the monthly events?
No. It is important that the focus remain on the youth in our program.
How do I inform Kidsave if I’m interested in a particular youth?
At the end of each advocacy event, prospective hosts are given a feedback form in which you indicate any youth.
Do the youth have a say in who they are matched with?
Yes, at the end of each advocacy event, youth are given a feedback form in which they indicate the prospective hosts they are interested in getting to know further.
Where do the youth live? Can I be matched with a youth who lives near me?
Youth live with foster families or in group homes in Los Angeles County. Many youth are moved for various reasons at any time. We encourage a natural connection between a youth and host based on personality, character and interest, rather than focus on geographic location of the two parties.
I live in a one-bedroom home. Can I still become a host?
Yes, in this case you may be approved as a day host rather than an overnight host.
Do the youth want to be adopted?
All the youth in the program must be open to a connection. Some are interested in adoption, while others are not.
What if I want to adopt the youth I’m hosting?
Kidsave is not an adoption agency, but we will help you connect with the appropriate resources for adopting should you decide to do so.
Can I volunteer to become a driver?
Yes! Driving the kids is a huge help to the program and a great way to get to know the kids. Let us know if you would like to be a volunteer driver and we will send you next steps.
How else can I help?
Volunteer at an advocacy event, fundraise, donate, invite Kidsave to speak at your work, faith-based or civic organization, or simply help spread the word about the kids who need families!