This month's edition of Foster Care Footnotes is one that we encourage you to share with your Foster Parent Champions or others who help support your recruitment and retention efforts.

Your agency thinks you are a champion foster parent. They think you "get it," that you understand what foster care is really about. National Foster Care Month is only days away and, if they have not already reached out, your agency or organization may as you to help raise awareness about foster care in your community and county.

One of the many ways you can help as a Foster Parent Champion, is to be a cheerleader for other foster families. You know how much emotional support can help you be and do your best. All foster parents and foster families need to know that there are other people who really get it, who can say “me too,” and who can offer grace without judgment.

Other ways to support and cheer lead include:
  • Share new trainings that are coming up with other foster families. Invite them to attend with you--they may be more willing to attend with someone they have already connected with.
  • Foster families who are parenting children with trauma histories also need resources and support to develop skills to care for them. Do you know of local support groups, another foster family that has had similar experiences that can lend support, or a therapist that specializes in trauma therapy?  
  • Families sometimes need help with the basics (e.g., clothing, supplies, respite care) if they are going to not only survive but thrive. Does your agency have a clothing closet, extra supplies. or do you know of community resources that offer reduced prices for foster families? You might consider making a list of these and share it with new families.
  • Arrange a potluck, picnic, or playdate to meet with other foster parents. Be sure to invite those that may be struggling with a challenging placement or new to fostering. New families sometimes feel like they can’t attend these events until they have a placement; encourage them to! They may gain more insight that will help them when they do get a placement.
  • Ask a new foster parent to attend a support group meeting with you to meet other foster parents that they may connect with and use for support in the future.
  • Welcome new foster parents a “survival kit.” You can use a Ziploc baggie with items in it such as a cotton balls, paperclips, gum, etc. There are sayings that go along with each item:
  • Cotton ball: Sometimes you have be a softy
  • Paper clip: To help keep things together
  • Gum: Stick with it, and so on.
Include names and phone numbers of other foster parents that they can
reach out to. This can create an opportunity for the first meeting by
personally dropping them off. It’s much easier to call someone you’ve
already met.

Always remember that the team at the Coalition for Children, Youth & Families is here and eager to help. We can help you provide support resources, training opportunities, educational materials, and tools, all with the goal of giving families what they need to care for kids in out-of-home care.