Foster Parent Appreciation

Every May we all make a special effort to show our foster parents just how much they are appreciated. In this issue of Foster Care Footnotes, we will highlight some resources from the National Resource Center for Diligent Recruitment and see how Wood County is showing their foster parents how much they are valued. 

We hope this information is useful for you! We also want to remind you that we are here to help and support you. Please don't hesitate to reach out to the Resource Specialists at the Coalition: 414-475-1246, 800-762-8063, .
Featured Resource: 
Develop and Support Families, National Resource Center for Diligent Recruitment (NRCDR)

There is no better way to show your foster parents they are appreciated than to develop a supportive system where foster parents can get their needs met, so that they can meet the needs of children in their care. This article from NRCDR has resources and ideas for supporting foster parents. 

Featured Resource: 
Treat Them Like Gold - A Best Practice Guide for Partnering with Families, North Carolina Division of Social Services

Treating resource families like gold can take many forms, including taking the time to get to know them, treating them as peers on the team serving the child and family, helping them develop their skills and knowledge to care for children, and simply showing them the respect they deserve for the pivotal role they play in our system. This guide, developed by the NC Division of Social Services and the Jordan Institute for Families at the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Social Work, seeks to give you tools and strategies you and your agency can use to build, refine, and sustain partnerships with resource families. 

Ideas from Across Wisconsin: Wood County 

Grace Bauer from Wood County is expecting more than 150 people to show up to their annual Foster Family Picnic and BBQ. The event will bring together foster families for a catered cook-out at a local park. In addition to food, there will be games and activities for the children and families. It wasn't always such a large event. According Grace, just a few years ago, the event had only 50 participants. However, with the help of an ad hoc committee comprised of representatives from every unit in the Health and Human Services Department, as well as several foster parents, the event has grown larger from year to year.

The whole Health and Human Services Department comes together to put on the event. Each unit, from Juvenile Justice to CPS and Ongoing, plans an activity for families to participate in. Grace feels that having this agency-wide commitment and foster parent input shows their foster families that they are supported and appreciated.

The annual May Picnic is not the only way Wood County shows their foster parents just how much they are appreciated. Throughout the year, they look for opportunities to show their gratitude for the hard work put in by families. For example, during the winter, they partner with the local Rotary Club to have a Winter Holiday get-together. Each Month, Wood County also sends out hand written and signed birthday cards to each foster parent when their birthdays come up. Grace feels that is important for the county to recognize the contributions of their foster parents whenever possible.
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