Written by Washington Foster Team
There’s a lot of information on our site and elsewhere about being a foster parent. One of our favorites is an article titled “31 Things I’ve Learned About Foster Care”.
In the article, writer Amanda offers an exhaustive look at her own experience of being a foster parent for the first time. Some of what she writes is simple, good advice, such as making sure you have a support group, and some of it is practical, such as how to approach supervised visits from social workers or others involved in the child's life. It’s all worth reading.
That being said, there are some things we want to emphasize about being a foster parent — some of which are not covered in Amanda’s article.
1. Be Flexible
Flexibility is extremely important when working within the foster care system. Be ready for hoops to jump through, appointments to keep, and check-ins from social workers and therapists.
2. Be Willing To Collaborate Often
When so many people are involved, collaboration is the only way to ensure the foster child gets the quality of care they deserve. Expect to work with all types of people and personalities.
3. Take Care Of Yourself
Self-care is important, since parenting a child in foster care can get difficult and sometimes emotional. Make sure to make time for yourself. The only way you can take care of a foster child’s needs is if you’re meeting your own.
4. Advocate For Your (Foster) Child
Advocacy for the foster child is critical. You need to make sure their needs are met at school and at home, and that they have access to the services they need.
5. Maintain Emotional Control
Emotional regulation is necessary to provide a stable environment for your foster child. Keep your emotions in check, have patience, and remember you have support.
For more information and advice on foster parenting, download our free resource The Essential Guide To Becoming A Foster Parent In Washington State.