While navigating the complexities of the child welfare system, foster parents face unique challenges when providing stability and support for children and youth in their homes. In order to support a child's social, emotional, and physical well-being, foster parents should be prepared to maintain the child's current sense of normalcy and help the child maintain and navigate their familial connections. In addition to standard familial supports, foster parents may need specialized training to learn about culturally responsive, age-appropriate, and trauma-informed parenting. The resources on this page are intended to be used by foster parents who have questions about the child welfare system, how to access additional support, and how to be an effective parent for youth in their care.
Achieving Normalcy Is Hard, but These Programs Can Help
Describes programs and policies around the United States that promote normalcy for youth in the foster care system, including a program that helps youth attend prom and other school dances, funds for extracurricular and community activities, skill-building activities, and more.
Advocating for Your Foster or Kinship Child at School
Creating a Family (2021)
Explains how to support a youth in foster care in an educational setting and why this support is important to education success.
Families and Caregivers
National Child Traumatic Stress Network
Examines the effect of trauma on children throughout development and provides resources to guide parents.
Five Tips for Building A Foster Parent Support Network
Colorado Child Abuse and Neglect Public Awareness Campaign (2019)
Provides a list of insights on finding the supports that foster parents and families need to be resilient and successful, including asking for help, joining a support group, accessing donated items, and more.
Sesame Street in Communities
Provides resources for providers and families to help children in out-of-home care cope with their separation from their parents, placements in care, and reunification.
Foster Care of Children With Special Needs
Medical Home Portal
Provides foster parents with information on the commitment of caring for a child with special needs, the application and assessment process, and ways to be ready to provide a safe, thriving environment.
Iowa Foster and Adoptive Parents Association Publications
Presents online publications for Iowa's foster, adoptive, and kinship parents.
LGBTQ Youth: A Guide for Foster Parents, Counselors, and Social Workers
Offers information about issues LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning) youth may face and provides resources for those working with LGBTQ youth.
Provides reading materials and a video for caseworkers to learn more about normalcy in foster care, including the definition of normalcy with considerations from a youth perspective, system-imposed barriers to normalcy, ways to discuss and define normalcy activities with youth, and policy recommendations and trends across the country.
Resources for Supporting Children’s Emotional Well-Being During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Offers tips on supporting children's well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic; resources for children about COVID-19; and resources for parents and caregivers on talking to children about the pandemic, ways to stay healthy, and more. Resources for educators and communities, States, Territories, and Tribes are also available.
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 about available training and rights as a foster parent.
Supporting Cultural Identity for Children in Foster Care
Child Law Practice Today
Examines how child welfare practitioners should work to support a strong cultural identity for children involved in the foster care system. The article provides case examples, study results, and examples of laws relating to cultural heritage activities for youth in foster care.