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Resources for Foster Parents

Foster parents are critical to the foster care process and the work to achieve permanency for children and youth in care. As primary caretakers, you play a significant role in working with parents and in carrying out the tasks in a permanency plan while taking on the day-to-day challenges of meeting the needs of a child. These resources offer information about caring for children and youth in foster care and provide helpful links on where you can go for support. Additional resources act as guides to help you learn what to expect from the foster parent licensing process and how to support the diverse needs of the children placed in your home.

Caring for children and youth in care

10 Things Every Foster Parent in Virginia Should Know
Newfound Families Virginia
Explains key pieces of information related to fostering children, including reimbursement rates and court processes.

6 Foster Care Skills You Need to Master Before Becoming a Foster Parent
Craft (2017)
The Spruce
Highlights basic foster care skills, including assessing your family’s fitness for fostering, maintaining open communication, managing challenging behaviors, and coping with a sense of loss after a child’s reunification with his or her birth family.

Process to Become a Foster Parent
Child Net
Describes the five key steps of the foster parent process. 

Helping Youth Transition to Adulthood: Guidance for Foster Parents
Series Title Factsheets for Families
Author(s)
Child Welfare Information Gateway
Availability View
Download (PDF - 487KB)
Year Published 2013
Provides foster parents with guidance on how to help youth and emerging adults build a foundation for a successful transition to adult life outside of foster care. The first section provides background information on some of the unique challenges that youth in foster care face as they navigate their teenage years, and it includes information on brain development in young adults and programs that can help youth transition successfully to adulthood. The second part includes eight tip sheets that provide information and resources for foster parents on specific topics—such as money management, health care, and employment—so that they can better help youth prepare for independence.
Parenting a Child Who Has Been Sexually Abused: A Guide for Foster and Adoptive Parents
Series Title Factsheets for Families
Author(s)
Child Welfare Information Gateway
Availability View
Download (PDF - 382KB)
Disponibilidad Ver
Versión para imprimir (PDF - 697KB)
Ordene (Gratis)
Year Published 2013
Discusses how foster and adoptive parents can help children and adolescents who have experienced sexual abuse. It provides basic information about sexual abuse and links to other information so that parents can educate themselves about the topic. The factsheet suggests ways to establish guidelines for safety and privacy in the family, and it offers suggestions about when to seek professional help and where to find such help.

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Finding support

National Foster Parents Association
Provides information and support to help foster parents along their foster care journey and their work to achieve safety, permanency, and well-being for the children in their care.

Daily Strength Foster Care Support Group
Daily Strength
Connects with other foster parents online. Answer questions and learn from what other foster parents are doing.  

Foster Parents Bill of Rights
National Foster Parent Association
Provides access to the Foster Parent’s and Foster Children’s Bill of Rights by State.

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Tipsheets, guides, and additional information

Resource Family Approval Toolkit
Alliance for Children’s Rights (2017)
Helps families navigate the Resource Family Approval (RFA) process. While this process varies by State, the RFA guide highlighted here is an example of what to expect in the State of California.

How to Support Reunification: Even if You Don’t Want to
Bailey (2017)
Adoption.com
Lists ways to cope with and manage responsibilities in throughout reunification process.

Social Media: Tips for Foster Parents and Caregivers
Series Title Factsheets
Author(s)
Child Welfare Information Gateway
Availability View
Download (PDF - 255KB)
Order (Free)
Year Published 2017
Describes the advantages and challenges foster parents may encounter when using social media in their role as foster parents. Issues that should be considered and tips for handling issues are also offered. Ways to guide youth in the safe use of social media are also discussed.
Supporting Your LGBTQ Youth: A Guide for Foster Parents
Series Title Factsheets for Families
Author(s)
Child Welfare Information Gateway
Availability View
Download (PDF - 396KB)
Year Published 2013
Provides information for foster parents to help them learn about LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning) youth in the child welfare system, the unique risks they face, and the important role that foster parents can play in reducing those risks. The factsheet outlines specific actions that foster parents can take to create a welcoming home for all youth in their care and to promote youths' health and well-being in the community. Also included are links to many resources for more information and support.
Background Checks for Prospective Foster, Adoptive, and Kinship Caregivers
Series Title State Statutes
Author(s)
Child Welfare Information Gateway
Availability View
Download (PDF - 1,181KB)
Year Published 2016
Discusses the requirements set by States for conducting background checks of prospective foster and adoptive parents and other out-of-home caregivers, as well as any adults residing in the prospective caregivers’ households. These checks, including State and Federal criminal records and child abuse and neglect central registries, are part process of assessing the suitability of these caregivers to provide a safe home for children placed in their care. The crimes that will disqualify an applicant also are discussed. An overview of Federal requirements also is provided. Summaries of laws for all States and U.S. territories are included.
Home Study Requirements for Prospective Foster Parents
Series Title State Statutes
Author(s)
Child Welfare Information Gateway
Availability View
Download (PDF - 1,619KB)
Year Published 2014
Presents State laws and policies for licensing or approving family foster homes, including laws about standards, the approval process, kinship foster care, and interjurisdictional approval. A licensed family is one that is approved by the State to provide care for children and that meets basic standards of safety set by law and regulation. These standards reduce predictable risks to the health, safety, and well-being of children in out-of-home care. The laws presented are current through October 2014.

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