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Katie, a PCHAS Foster Mom, recently shared these words of wisdom: “Fostering is a wonderful, but challenging journey. It’s important to be prepared rather than surprised.” We couldn’t agree more. In the spirit of preparation, we’ve created a list of What You Need to Know Before Fostering.
Children Have Experienced Trauma and Enter Foster Care at No Fault of Their Own
Children enter foster care because they’ve experienced abuse or neglect by a caregiver. When harm occurs within the context of relationship, the healing will require a close and trusting relationship, too. That’s what makes a child’s relationship with their foster parent so important.
Foster Parents Receive Training
PCHAS provides attachment-rich, trauma-informed training using Trust-Based Relational Intervention® (TBRI®) to prepare families to parent children in a way that best meets the child’s needs.
Foster Care is Temporary
Every decision is about what is best for the children, and it’s usually best that they stay connected to their story. Children enter foster care when it’s not safe to remain at home, but the goal is for kids to return home (we call this Reunification) or go to a relative or close family friend as soon as possible. Children may be with their foster family for a few days, weeks or months while workers search for and assess relatives, or they may be with the family until the judge makes a final ruling on the case after 12 or 18 months.
Some Foster Parents Become Forever Family
When reunification efforts fail and no relatives are available, the court may ask the foster parent if they want to adopt the child in their home.
Flexibility is Important
When children first enter foster care, it’s called an Emergency Placement. Because of the circumstances, many of the details about the children’s needs are still unknown. Foster families that are committed to connecting with kids and willing to be flexible are a tremendous resource for kids in this moment of crisis for their birth family.
Kids in Foster Care Deserve Normalcy
Foster families focus on providing children with as much normalcy as possible. That means sharing family meals, holidays and celebrations, participating in extracurricular activities, interacting with teachers at the local school, taking kids to appointments, going to church, and everything else that families do.
Foster Families Shouldn’t Do It Alone
Foster Families (both couples and singles) flourish when they have a great support system including babysitters, respite providers, people who will drop off dinner, or a friend with ears to listen and a shoulder to lean on.
Getting Attached and Saying Goodbye is Hard, but it’s What Kids Need
Every child deserves a loving, nurturing and safe family—it’s no different for kids in foster care. We encourage families to bond with kids and grow healthy attachments because it’s essential for their healing and exactly what they need when faced with a world of chaos. So, when children return to a birth parent, saying goodbye is bittersweet. Great foster families are willing to celebrate families, the restoration of families and grieve the loss of kids that they love.
Foster Care Changes Lives
Whether a child needs you for a short time, or forever, you’ll always be in each other’s story. Foster parents change a child’s life, and foster children change the lives of foster parents, too.
There is a shortage of foster families in Texas. If you’ve ever thought about fostering, we want to get to know you. Call 512-212-5700 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to connect with a Foster Care & Adoption Guide.