What are the expectations from Foster Parents?

There seems to be a lot of expectations from foster parents. And the trouble is that these expectations can be unclear for both foster parents and agencies.We urge foster parents and agencies to have a one page checklist (see the Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande) of parent expectations for every child because the child’s situation can be very different.

Don’t confuse Foster Care with Adoption

For those not deeply familiar with the Child Welfare System there is a common confusion that Foster Care is somehow similar to Adoption. Multiple website’s content from different folks often use the terms interchangeably. Since this adversely affects the recruitment and work of foster parents we wish to clarify for all prospective foster parents out there:

Why do foster parents quit?

If a trained, licensed foster parent quits – it is a tragedy for all involved. Particularly the child who needs to now move to another foster home. We have all seen TV images of foster kids moving from from one home to another with their meagre belongings in a garbage bag. It is those heartbreaking images that motivates us at StartFosterCare.org to try and find the right foster parents and match them with the right foster care agencies.

What Motivates Foster Parents?

Foster parents are kind and caring people. It takes a good heart to step up and care for a child unrelated to you (foster care) or even related to you (kinship foster care). We found a great piece of research on what motivates foster parents by Tracy E. MacGregor, Susan Rodger, Anne L. Cummings, and Alan W. Leschied. titled “The needs of foster parents: A qualitative study of motivation, support, and retention.” in the journal Qualitative social work Vol. 5, no. 3 (2006): pages 351-368.
Here is a summary of intrinsic and extrinsic and motivators based on research in the US and elsewhere the authors identified:

Mental health issues: foster kids vs. public

Many prospective foster parents hesitate from stepping up to become a foster parent. One of the concerns is the potential mental health issues of foster kids. The concern is valid because if you are a kid and are removed from your difficult biological family situation there are two sources of stress. The first is theContinue reading “Mental health issues: foster kids vs. public”

Who enters Foster Care in the US?

We were fascinated with the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis Reporting System (AFCARS) data that provides a great overview of the nationwide foster care challenge. Here is the table from the AFCARS data for 2019 reported in 2020 . This is for children entering foster care in 2019.
Since this table is useful to both prospective foster parents and foster care professionals given the kinds of questions we heard at our May National Foster Care meetings here is a brief discussion:

US Child Poverty: never been to McDonald’s

Our May 29th virtual event provided new insight to the situation of some foster kids. We were shocked to learn that some kids come from biological families that are so poor that they have never been to McDonald’s.

Foster Child Stability: Is Authoritative or Authoritarian parenting better?

We had a very successful first virtual meeting on May 19, 2021 between prospective foster parents and foster care professionals. Some of the parents had a lot of knowledge about foster parenting and had new questions that sparked spirited discussion. One of the questions was between authoritative and authoritarian parenting.

Kinship care or Foster care : Which is better?

Kinship care refers to a relative (including grandparents) who takes care of the child with the inability of the parents to do so. Kinship Foster Carers can be paid or unpaid by the State Government/County depending on policy,funds available, and preference of the kin or relatives. Foster care is when a non-related,unknown family takes charge of the child and receives a stipend to cover costs. And then there are hidden foster carers, where the parents are theoretically incharge but the hidden foster carers are in practice responsible for the child.

Predictors of success: Therapeutic Foster Parenting

It’s easy to imagine that a child who goes into foster care is different from a child who is in a normal stable biological family home. Just because of the instability at home. A trivial example, that our kind reader would recognize, is that a predictable cup of coffee in the morning gives a lot of comfort . Drinking a cup of coffee from a favorite cup adds to comfort, some of our friends tell us. Contrast such mundane comforts to the needs of traditional vs. therapeutic foster kids.

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