5 Tips for Creating a Foster Parent Support Network
Fostering is hard work, and even experienced foster parents need the support and encouragement of people and organizations around them. A strong support network is key to ensuring that foster homes are safe spaces for kids and adults.
If you are a foster parent, adoptive parent, or someone wanting to create a support group for foster families, these tips will help you care for children and foster parents.
1) Create Support Groups
Foster parents need the reminder that they are not alone. Support groups offer community, encouragement, and resources for foster parents and foster kids. These support groups can be through your child welfare agency, social worker, or through a community like a church.
You can consider starting or hosting a foster family support group at your church or in your home.
2) Use CarePortal
Children and youth are often placed in foster homes with little to no short notice. This means that parents may not be equipped with the necessary supplies for their child, including car seats, strollers, cribs, diapers, and clothes. CarePortal allows foster parents to ask directly for the needs of their families, and it allows people to donate specifically to those needs.
Local social workers input the needs of the foster homes around you and you can see those needs in your CarePortal app. Then you either donate cash or donate the item to the family directly.
3) Compile Respite Care Resources
Foster parents, like any parents, need a chance to rest and recover from the challenges and difficulties of parenthood. Respite care is a necessary break for foster parents who may need to spend time away from their foster children, whether from obligations elsewhere or just normal R&R.
There are several respite care resources available, and the child welfare system has compiled a list of these resources.
4) Know the Resource Centers
There are many resource centers and non-profit organizations that offer guidance and support to foster parents and children in foster care. Child welfare is a community effort! Organizations like Beautiful Redemption, Raise the Future, Foster Source, Fostering Great Ideas, The National Foster Parent Association, and Just As Special offer resources, support, and care for foster parents like you!
5) Create a Meal Train Schedule
When a family suddenly receives one or more foster kids in their home, they aren’t always prepared to provide for and feed all those kids. A meal train is a great way to rally a community around families with needs. You can create a schedule for different people to bring the foster family meals on different days.
Even though it may not seem like much, feeding foster families is a huge help and a great way to support foster parents and kids.
Written in partnership with Reach The Lost.