Foster Care 101: Tips For Successful Foster Parents

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Words of advice from those who know the system best.

“What I want to tell foster parents is how much I appreciate them,” Lynn the social worker says. “When I see them walk through the doors of the ER, I know that I’m placing this child with someone who cares. Someone who will help them, even if its just for a short period of time. I know in my heart that this helps children. I think we need to tell them much more often how much we appreciate them.”

“For people interested in foster parenting, I want them to know that it’s a lot of hard work. It takes a lot of emotional strength. And it also cleanses your soul. When you get to connect with a child who needs an adult to care and love them. There’s simply no other feeling like it. These children need you and that’s more important than anything else,” shares a foster mother of ten years.

“Don’t get caught up in the bureaucracy,” is the warning for Ashley of Child Protective Services. I have a feeling she knows this all too well. “It’s so tempting to let the paperwork and the checks and the politics cloud the service that your providing to kids. It can be depressing. But you really have to keep that higher purpose at the top of your mind.”

“Find support,” says my final couple, who happen to host a foster parenting support group once a week. “We realized pretty quickly how much we needed to be able to talk about our experiences with other families. Whether its in your community or online, find other parents to talk to. They’ll remind you to focus on the joy you bring children. They’ll help you through the loss when a child goes away. These are all natural human emotions and you can’t just turn them off. But you do need to find a way to cope. For us, talking with other families has helped.

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