Becoming a foster parent is a big important job, and we are grateful to those who answer the call to do it. As a therapeutic foster care agency, one of our top priorities is equipping, supporting, and partnering with foster parents to ensure their foster parenting journey is successful and the best for the children in their care.
From your first phone call, Benchmark Family Services will walk you through all foster parent training and qualifications in Kentucky, Indiana, and Pennsylvania. We do everything in our power to support and empower you.
We also know it can be helpful to connect with other foster parents within the community.
There can be many opportunities to do this, but for today, we wanted to pass along some of their advice. From experienced foster parents to brand new foster parents, this advice should be helpful in your foster parenting journey.
Have an Open Home
Of course, you are opening your home up to the children or teens who will be in your care, but it can be surprising to all the others who will be coming and going from your home. Having an expectation of an open and welcoming home can help set the table for success. You can expect to also see agency staff and city or state workers from time to time as well.
Having an open home doesn’t just mean you are welcoming but it can lead to new ideas or the acceptance of change which also will likely come with the fostering experience.
Create a Ritual
Consistency can be a big deal when fostering, as so many foster youths haven’t experienced the security that comes with consistency in their family life. Creating a ritual can be an easy and concrete way to provide stability. Maybe you go out to eat every Sunday or go to the park on Wednesday mornings. Even small things can go a long way.
Share About Yourself
Just as you may be nervous about meeting the new child or teen who will be living in your house, they may be even more nervous about meeting the foster family they will be living with. Sharing about yourself can help ease this tension and open the door of communication. Tell them about where you grew up, what you like to do, why you decided to become a foster parent. Even sharing small fun things, like your favorite flavor of ice cream can help grow a relationship.
You cannot have enough patience when it comes to being a foster parent. Especially for children in therapeutic foster care. As a therapeutic foster parent you are caring for a child or teen who has experienced some sort of trauma in their life, it may take them a while to open up, or feel comfortable, and that’s okay.
Also have patience for the overall process revolving around foster care. Learn to let go of the things you can’t control related to court proceedings and possible other bureaucratic barriers.
Know Your Limits
It’s okay to say “No” to taking on more than you can handle. Know where your boundaries and limits are and stand firm in them. An overwhelmed and overcommitted foster parent won’t be as successful as they may like to be.
Rely On Community
Be intentional to maintain relationships with those around you. Ask for support from your neighbors, church members, friends, agency staff, and other foster families. It really does take a village.
At Benchmark Family Services we offer 24/7 on call support to our fostering families. We strive to help families connect and support each other along the way.
Becoming a Foster Parent
If becoming a foster parent is something that interests you, please reach out to us at Benchmark Family Services. We would love to answer any questions you may have about the process and get you on your way to filling a great need and becoming a foster parent.