New foster parents tend to put a lot of pressure on themselves. It’s all too easy to worry that you won’t do a good job, that you won’t know what to do when a child throws their first tantrum or is inconsolable for no apparent reason.
But you can do this. Every day, more and more resources build up to provide you with the tools you need to be an exceptional foster parent, one that you can be proud of.
With proper preparation and support from agency staff and other foster parents, you’ll have the confidence to continually improve your foster parenting skills from licensing through placement and beyond. To help you get started, we’ve gathered a few of our favorite Washington State local resources.
The first challenge any new foster parent faces is licensing.
Depending on which agency you choose, and whether you opt to work with a state or private agency, the licensing requirements can vary greatly.
Fostering Together works to find and support foster families throughout the licensing process, no matter what agency you’re working with.
They offer community support groups and discounts on kid-friendly attractions, and all of their services are completely free. One of their most valuable resources is a collection of all the required licensing forms for new foster parents.
Foster youth have a high school dropout rate that is three times higher than that of their non-foster care peers.
Think back to when you were in middle school or high school. Remember how challenging that period of your life was. Now imagine going through it while also being separated from your parents, your friends, and your home.
A child’s education is profoundly impacted when they enter the chaos of foster care. That’s why Treehouse is dedicated to providing foster youth with resources, like school supplies or even college admission fees, to ensure they have equal opportunities at school and beyond.
Katie Biron is a mother with over a decade of foster care experience.
When she first became a foster parent, she didn’t hear too much about the value and benefits of reunification. Often, families became foster parents because they wanted to adopt a child.
After several of her foster children were reunited with their birth parents, Biron saw an immense need for foster families and birth parents to connect.
On her website, foster families can sign up for workshops and training sessions that make those connections easier and more successful. It’s a great place to start for new and experienced foster families ready to commit to reunification.
Another great resource is Biron’s blog, which she developed over the years whenever she couldn’t find an answer to a question about how to care for her foster child.
Her posts on having difficult conversations with foster children and on the importance of maintaining connections with birth parents are excellent resources for new foster families.
Here’s another helpful resource: The Essential Guide To Becoming A Foster Parent In Washington State. This guide breaks down everything you should expect throughout the process of becoming a foster parent in the Evergreen State.