Foster parenting can be an arduous task, particularly when working with children who have experienced trauma in the past. Luckily, there are ways you can make foster parenting simpler for both yourself and the children you care for.
Be ready to work closely with many individuals including social workers, doctors and teachers. Additionally, recognize there will be an initial period of adjustment after every new placement.
1. Be Prepared
No matter if you are planning your home study or already foster parenting, being as prepared as possible is key for making the entire process less stressful for both parties involved. Prep activities might include first aid/CPR certification training courses, purchasing supplies for home preparation purposes and having all of your documents prepared and available before beginning foster parenting.
Consider compiling a “foster care kit,” complete with basic necessities like blankets, stuffed animals, toys and books to help foster children feel welcome in your home. Be sure to stock both pantry and fridge with healthy options; if unsure which are enjoyed by particular children ask their caseworker or create a menu plan which allows them to select meals themselves.
New foster parents should also be mindful of potential trauma and its effect on behavior, so doing some research into childhood trauma will equip you to respond properly when children in your care have meltdowns or display other forms of behavioral distress.
Social workers will scrutinize everything you say or do with regard to fostering. Documenting any incidents involving foster children should always take place in writing, particularly any communication with social workers who will become part of their case record and could potentially be used against you in court proceedings; so avoid engaging in gossip or negative talk regarding foster kids as this could compromise them in future cases.
2. Have a Support System in Place
Foster parents do not appreciate hearing your criticism of their parenting choices, discipline methods, or how they deal with specific situations. Foster parents make difficult choices to care for children who may not always behave perfectly and do not deserve criticism of any sort. If there are concerns, speak to a therapist or social worker instead of criticising a foster parent trying their best for these kids.
Support foster parents however possible. Foster children often come from backgrounds marred by trauma and can act out, which can be an immense strain on foster parents – having friends and family standing behind these remarkable people can make all the difference to these courageous individuals.
Many new foster parents will find it beneficial to connect with other foster families who share similar experiences, who can offer advice based on their own lives as well as emotional support.
As important as it is to connect with other foster parents, having a support network of friends, family and professionals who can offer practical help is also crucial for foster parents. This may include babysitting services, running errands or grocery shopping services; dropping off meals or snacks (most foster children receive food through the state); dropping off groceries at your own store etc.
Foster families usually have an overwhelming list of things to do during the first weeks after accepting a placement, including attending appointments, meeting with caseworkers and therapists, making time for themselves (they might cut some hours of online poker on websites reviewed on the https://centiment.io), making meals, etc. One way you could help foster families out is becoming the Latte Fairy! Remember their special quad-shot sugar-free soy latte requests when necessary!
3. Take Care of Yourself
Fostering children can be rewarding and exhausting all at the same time, which may lead to foster parents placing their own needs last – potentially leading to burnout that’s unhealthy for both themselves and the children they’re caring for. Therefore, it is vital that foster and adoptive parents prioritize self-care practices to stay nourished themselves as much as possible and ensure their cups stay full.
Friends, family members, coworkers and neighbors of new foster parents can assist them in various ways. For instance, they could provide meals for the family, stock their freezer with food or bring treats as gifts. Also providing transportation can be invaluable; oftentimes children living in foster care don’t own cars so providing transportation could be lifesaving!
Foster families can also enlist help from friends and family by having them babysit their own children when the family goes out, taking much-needed breaks, or going on trips. While this will require background checks and advanced notice, this service offers foster and adoptive parents some respite while simultaneously building positive relationships with their own kids.
Foster parents need someone in their lives who understand what they’re going through and can offer love and support, not judgment or advice. Raising traumatized children can be challenging; sometimes it can be hard to admit when assistance is required; remembering this fact will make the journey smoother for all involved.
4. Be Flexible
As a new foster parent, you likely have some expectations of what this journey will entail. But it’s essential to let go of as many expectations as possible in the first week after placement – particularly since you won’t know much about their needs at that point – or make adjustments to accommodate for them in your schedule or routines. Furthermore, finding daycare might take longer than anticipated, meaning releasing as many expectations as possible during this initial week will allow for a smoother journey ahead.
Fostering children who have experienced trauma is often unpredictable, making flexibility essential in your thinking and behavior. Children may act up or need a break from daily routine at any moment; unexpected medical or therapy appointments, visits from biological family or any number of disruptions you didn’t anticipate when you became licensed can all arise unexpectedly; therefore it’s important for both married foster parents as well as single foster parents alike to be flexible with their schedules to manage unexpected changes quickly and seamlessly.
At FCCY, we encourage foster parents to create experiences for their foster children that will help them connect and trust you. It is also crucial to have a solid partnership with your spouse or partner so you can support each other when challenges arise in the home; for instance if a foster child wants to visit a museum without inquiring or take food into their room without permission without asking first, agree to allow this as it will ensure they feel safe and supported within your home environment.
5. Be Patient
Relocating foster children can be an emotional journey. To ensure a smooth experience, it’s essential that you remain calm and remain patient during every stage of placement, particularly the initial stages. Foster children entering your care have often endured trauma such as separation from their birth family. In the first days of placement they may experience shock as well as anxiety or fear, all normal emotions which require space and time for adjustment to take place.
If you find yourself losing patience, step outside the room, take deep breaths or count to ten. Listen to yourself and seek assistance when needed from your support system. It is also important to keep in mind that many foster children will eventually reunite with their biological families at some point; respect their roots while keeping an open line of communication with all parties involved in the case.
Foster parenting requires an incredible amount of support from friends and colleagues alike; whether that means friends who understand your decision to become one, training classes, online forums or anything else that helps foster parents stay on the right path; also important is having someone close by who are ready and willing to assist whenever needed – including a spouse/partner who understands your decision and can offer support when times get difficult; having a flexible work schedule also allows foster children to access you when necessary.