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For Communities

Communities play an important role in supporting and strengthening all families. Providing children and youth with a sense of permanence in their home and family life is key to ensuring their health and success. When individuals, families, and communities become involved as foster parents, respite providers, volunteers, or mentors of children who need an adult role model—this provides the framework for families, especially those involved in foster care, to be the best they can be even under stress. Resources in this section provide information on how to become a foster parent and highlights other ways to contribute to the positive development of children and youth involved with foster care.

About foster parenting

Raises awareness of the need for foster and adoptive families and supports states, tribes, and territories in their efforts to connect families and children in the foster care system. AdoptUSKids also provides information to help prospective parents understand the steps to becoming a foster parent and learn about the children in care. The website features inspiring stories of families who have fostered and adopted. Watch a new three-part video series that gives viewers a behind-the-scenes look into the daily lives of one Illinois family on the AdoptUSKids YouTube channel.

6 Foster Care Skills You Need to Know Before Being a Foster Parent
Highlights basic foster care skills such the ability to assess oneself and a family's fitness for fostering, establish and maintain open communication with birth family, agency staff and school officials, manage challenging behaviors, and cope with sense of loss after a child's reunification with birth family.

Becoming a Foster Parent
National Foster Parent Association
Illustrates the steps involved in becoming a foster parent with its challenges and rewarding opportunities, including a particular emphasis on key qualifications, the approval process, training, and licensure.

Home Study Requirements for Prospective Foster Parents
Child Welfare Information Gateway (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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Other ways to stay informed, involved, and engaged

Building Community, Building Hope Video
National Child Abuse and Neglect Technical Assistance and Strategic Dissemination Center (CANTASD) (2015)
Highlights three innovative programs working to prevent and respond to child maltreatment by engaging parents and communities and forming the partnerships needed to ensure the safety and well-being of all children and families.

Promoting Protective Factors for Children and Youth in Foster Care: A Guide for Practitioners
Child Welfare Information Gateway (2015)
Presents information from a review of current research linking protective factors to well-being for children and youth in and transitioning out of foster care. Topics include individual skills and capacities that can improve the well-being of children and youth in foster care, creating a community that supports the well-being of children and youth in care, strategies for practitioners, and resources for more information. This publication is part of a series of five factsheets for practitioners exploring the importance of protective factors in working with in-risk populations served by the Administration on Children Youth and Families.

Aging Out of Foster Care in America: The Projected Costs of Doing Nothing [Infographic]
Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative (2013)
Provides information on the outcomes of foster youth who age out of the foster care system; highlights the absorbed community costs, such as wages lost as a result of dropping out of high school; and advocates for the provision of extended foster care services.

A Decade of Hope: How Communities Across America Are Keeping Children Safe and Families Strong
Casey Family Programs (2015)
Highlights initiatives funded and supported by Casey Family Programs to keep children safe, make families strong, promote the safe reunification of children in foster care, and build supportive communities.

28 Ways to Support Children in Foster Care (and counting!)
The Foster Coalition
Shares a broad range of ideas to show support for children in foster care, including fostering; becoming a respite care provider, volunteer, or foster care sponsor; launching a fundraiser; and more.  

Helping Communities Strengthen Services for Children and Families
The Annie E. Casey Foundation (2015)
Illustrates concrete ways communities can review their child welfare services and assess what they are doing to keep kids safe and families strong.

Ways You Can Help
Casey Family Programs
Suggests ways, at various levels of commitment, individuals can help create permanent, lifelong connections for children and youth.

2015 Prevention Resource Guide: Making Meaningful Connections
Child Welfare Information Gateway (2015)
Supports community-based child abuse prevention professionals who work to prevent child maltreatment and promote well-being by offering resources, tip sheets, and information about protective factors. Acknowledges the importance of families and communities working together to prevent child abuse and neglect. Learn more about National Child Abuse Prevention Month

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