Beacon of Hope's Foster Pet Program
NEED FOR THE FOSTER PET PROGRAM
For many abused women, pets are sources of comfort providing strong emotional support.
In fact, 98% of Americans consider pets to be companions or members of the family. 
Each year, 68% of abused women reported violence towards their animals from the abuser. 
While 87% of these incidents occurred in the presence of women, 75% of these incidents occurred in the presence of the children, to psychologically control them. 
Because of these alarming statistics, 40% of domestic violence victims are unable to escape their abusers because they are concerned about what will happen to their pets when they leave. 
It is Beacon of Hope’s mission to make every effort to provide a safe and loving foster home for pets while their family heals. Our vision is to reunite pets with their owners when they can be housed in a safe and loving home.
OVERVIEW OF THE FOSTER PET PROGRAM
When victims leave an abusive relationship to enter a shelter or temporary housing facility that does not allow pets, the victim will contact Beacon of Hope to make arrangements for temporary foster pet care.
The victim is required to complete an agreement and release of liability form prior to the transfer of their pet to the foster family.
Beacon of Hope contracts with volunteer foster pet families to temporarily house and care for the pets. Supplies such as leashes, food, collars, toys, cat litter, etc. are provided through in-kind donations. Veterinary services such as immunizations, basic/routine visits, and treatment when the pet becomes ill while in the care of the foster pet family are paid through monetary program funds.
Project Manager (Executive Director/CEO) – Responsible for overseeing the Foster Pet Care Program including program development, staff and volunteer management, marketing, fiscal management, and grant reporting. Reports directly to the organization’s Board of Directors.
Victim Advocate / Foster Pet Program Coordinator– Responsible for recruiting/training new volunteer foster pet families, coordinating the transfer of pets between the victims and the foster families, marketing the program to shelters, veterinarians, community donors, etc., serving as a liaison and providing follow-up coordination between victims and foster families. Research and apply for appropriate grant funding. Organize fundraisers to help with vet bills, food and supplies. Reports to the Director of Victim Advocacy Services.
Foster Pet Families (volunteer) – Responsible for the direct care of pets, providing temporary shelter, food, veterinary services while the victim secures safe, permanent housing that will enable the return of her pet(s).
Collaborative partners include (but are not limited to):
· Eagle Creek Animal Clinic - Veterinary services
IndyHumane Low-Cost Spay/Neuter and Vaccination Clinic - Veterinary services
West Michigan Street Veterinary Clinic - Veterinary services
Dog Tag Art - Foster pet ID tags
BarkBox - Monetary donations
Kroger - Monetary donations
· Legacy House – victim referrals
· Center for Hope – victim referrals
· Sheltering Wings – victim referrals
· Julian Center – victim referrals
· Salvation Army – victim referrals
· Domestic Violence Network – victim referrals
· Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence – victim referrals
GOALS, EVALUATION, AND OUTCOMES OF THE PROGRAM
The overarching goal of the Foster Pet Program is to support victims of domestic violence as they leave their abusive relationships by providing temporary care for their pets.
Victims requesting foster pet services are evaluated by the Program Coordinator to ensure quality assistance is provided that meets the victim’s needs.Victim/pet information is recorded on intake/ assessment forms and the victim is required to complete an agreement and release of liability form.
Volunteer foster pet families are carefully screened and selected to ensure that quality care will be provided for the fostered pet. Foster families must adhere to a written contract that details specific provisions regarding the care of the fostered pet. The Program Coordinator monitors the status of the pet(s) in the foster home on a weekly basis, and in turn, provides updates to the victim.
Program standards are monitored on a monthly basis by the Director of Victim Advocacy Services, Project Manager and Board of Directors.
Beacon of Hope Crisis Center anticipates the following outcomes:
· At least 25 pets will be served in the Foster Pet Program annually.
· At least 50 women and children will be reunited with their pets in safe, permanent housing annually.
SOME ADDITIONAL FACTS RELATED TO THE PROGRAM
This program aims to:
The statistical data reflects that an enormous amount of victims refuse to leave their situation because they fear for their pets safety. Our foster pet program was established because we see victims of domestic violence abuse refusing to leave their situation over and over again for fear that their family pet will suffer the wrath of abuse.
This is why our Domestic Violence Support Center designed and implemented a program partnering with our local animal welfare society and several veterinarians to provide these needed services to our clients.
This program is so successful that the mayor, civic leaders and many other organizations approach us for help utilizing our program and asking us to teach on how to create and use our program model. The program requires a lot of volunteer foster pet families.
Thank you to our foster pet families! We couldn't do this without you!
 Source: American Humane Association