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Resources for Foster Parents

Foster parents are critical partners in the foster care process and are key players in working to achieve permanency for children and youth in care—which is not always an easy task. As primary caretakers, foster parents play a significant role in working with parents and in carrying out the tasks in a child's permanency plan while also taking on the day-to-day challenges of meeting the child's (or, in some cases multiple children’s) needs. This section offers information about caring for children and youth in foster care, showcases materials that strengthen foster parents' efforts to partner and work with permanency teams, and provides helpful links to additional support.

Caring for children and youth in foster care

Why Foster Parent Pre-Service Training Is So Important: What Foster Parents Gain From Learning About Foster Care Before a Child Enters Their Home
Strickler & Trunzo (2016)
Fostering Families Today, 16(1)
View Abstract
Explains the benefits of foster parent preservice training and reviews key strategies that should be addressed in parent training programs. The areas discussed are creating positive interactions with children, disciplinary consistency, and opportunities to practice newly learned skills.

Support for Foster Parents
Describes the basic aspects of the fostering experience, including partnering with the child's caseworker, meeting the child's needs, preventing burnout, and learning resources. 

Welcoming a Foster Child Into Your Home
Discusses the feelings and challenges foster parents experience during their first placement. The article also provides guidance to address questions foster parents may have for their caseworkers and provides suggestions on first steps they can make once their children arrive for their first nights.

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Building relationships with the permanency team

Create a Great Relationship With Your Foster Child's Caseworker
DeGarmo (2016)
Discusses ways to create a healthy, effective working relationship between the foster parent and their caseworker, with a primary focus on the needs and concerns of the child in foster care.

Resource Parents Partnering With Birth Parents to Benefit Children (PDF - 1,460 KB)
Iowa Foster and Adoptive Parents Association (2009)
Presents a guide to help parents gain a better understanding of the importance of positive connections with birth parents and offers ways for resource parents to contribute to the success of these partnerships.

Family Connect: Putting the Pieces of Family Visits Together: A Guide for Foster Parents (PDF - 1,010 KB)
Negaard (2008)
Reviews information collected from interviews with individuals involved with child welfare. It provides detailed information on what to expect, tips on effectively working with birth parents, and preparing and transitioning children during visits.

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Finding support

National Foster Care & Adoption Directory
Child Welfare Information Gateway
Offers lists of kinship, foster care, and adoption support groups by State. 

State Foster/Adoptive Family Associations/Coalitions
Series Title Related Organizations Lists
Child Welfare Information Gateway
Availability View
Includes State-level associations/coalitions of families that work to strengthen foster and adoptive parents and kinship/relative caregiver families through training, support, advocacy, and outreach activities. Social media (such as Facebook, Twitter, etc.) links are included, when available.

iFoster.org for Caregivers
Provides a free, members-only community for caregivers fostering youth. This site partners with organizations nationwide to provide products and services to assist youth across the nation.

Family Focused Treatment Association
Provides resources to connect biological, foster, and adoptive families with organizations supporting family-based treatment for youth.

National Foster Parent Association
Provides support to foster parents and kinship care providers about achieving safety, permanency, and well-being for the youth in their care.

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