Partnerships are a great way to stretch your resources, support your foster parents, and boost your recruitment activities. That’s what’s happening in the northwestern part of the state, where Ben Tomandl, Recruitment Specialist with St. Croix County, is leading a recruitment team that is partnering with Polk and Pierce Counties. St. Croix’s team, which began meeting regularly in August 2018, is in the beginning phases of an ambitious recruitment and support plan.
Foster Parent Association
has been launched, with initial leadership lined up and membership opened to all three counties’ foster parents. The Association’s purpose will be to improve the system from foster parents’ perspectives and will have a formalized voice with county foster care staff. Foster parents will manage this group and set its agenda.
The agencies have also been in the process of developing face-to-face foster parent support groups in Polk and Pierce Counties, with meetings open to any foster parent in any of the three counties. These groups are independently run. Prospective foster parents are also able to attend a meeting to find out more about fostering.
Foster Care Summit
The three counties showed support and appreciation for their current foster families by hosting a “Summit” event in January which included:
- Dinner for foster parents
- Child entertainment–including a local Unicycle club
- Honoring foster parents by hearing their success stories
- Learning about Foster Parent Associations
- Photo booth for families
- Inviting foster parents to be involved in recruitment efforts
While weather dampened the attendance of the 140 people who RSVP’d to the event, the evening was seen as an overwhelming success. The Foster Parent Association was launched and families enjoyed being appreciated.
Partnering takes time and planning, but the work these three northern counties is doing seems to be paying off, both for current families, and those who are about to become foster parents. We’ll look forward to watching their progress!