Considering A Foster Child? Three Things You Need To Know
Foster parents play a crucial role for children in poor home situations who have found themselves without a place to live. A foster home is where these children find the stability, support, and love that they need to not only get through the immediate situation, but to flourish and grow in the meantime. If you've been considering becoming a foster parent, there are a few things you should know. Your foster parent training process will teach you a lot, but real-world experience teaches you things they don't always cover. Here are a few examples.
It's Important To Be Present For Everything
You don't necessarily have to attend the court hearings, family visits, or social worker's visits with your foster child. That being said, it's a really good idea to do so. The social worker and the others working the child's case will only be able to tell you just so much about the child's situation and needs. Attending all of these types of appointments will give you valuable insight into the actual situation that the child has come from, and what their needs may truly be.
Be Attentive And Thorough With Documentation
Many foster parents assume that the case workers are keeping detailed files of everything that happens, so they don't really need to. While this may be true, some social workers aren't able to keep as detailed of records as they might like to due to heavy caseloads and work demands.
As a result, one of the best things you can do for your foster children is to document absolutely everything. Keep records of when they came to live with you, what they were like when they arrived, any changes in personality or behavior, notes of their successes and what led to them, and how they react after family involvement meetings.
Communicate with the social workers via email whenever possible so that you have everything in writing. These records could prove valuable if you have to fight for the child to keep them out of a bad situation.
You Can't Share Personal Details
As a foster parent, you cannot share personal information about the child online, such as in your social media accounts. You can't post the child's real name, nor can you post pictures of them. Remember that kids in foster care need protection, and part of that protection is not broadcasting where they are. So, if you want to write about your foster child, give them a nickname. Don't use their real name, and don't share any identifiable information. If you're sharing a picture of something your family did, take the picture so that you see the back of the child's head, not their face. Protect your foster child's privacy at all times.