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Building a Strong Foundation: Emotional Readiness for Foster Parenting

Little girl hugging her foster caregiver

Foster parenting is a serious, often tough, but rewarding calling. The primary goal is to provide a safe, stable, and caring environment for children in Trumbull County until they can be reunified with their birth families.

Preparation for foster parenting goes beyond training, paperwork, background checks and home studies. Emotional and mental preparation is required, as well.

Read as much as you can about foster parenting

Beyond the required preplacement training, it’s important to do further research. Read foster parenting blogs, tap into your agency’s resources, and look into reputable foster parenting guides and websites. (Child Welfare Information Gateway and AdoptUSKids are a few of our favorites.) It’s important to read the good, the bad and everything in between.

Connect with the foster parent community

Friends and family members may find the decision to be a foster parent hard to understand. Adding a support system of foster parents can provide a wealth of information, experience, resources and camaraderie. Current and previous foster parents can give great insight into the realities of foster parenting. At Trumbull County Children Services, you will be set up with a current foster caregiver to help be a mentor through your journey. This allows a connection with other families facing the same struggles and milestones, giving helpful advice to help make your time as a foster parent successful. In addition to our mentoring, Trumbull County Children Services foster caregivers have created a 501c3 called the Foster Adoptive Parent Association (FAPA). The mission of FAPA is to provide a strong, consistent voice on behalf of all children and each Foster Parent licensed through Trumbull County Children Services and to advocate, educate, protect, and support the best interest of each child and licensed foster parent. FAPA allows our foster caregivers to connect and continue their mission outside of their home.

Remind yourself that not everyone will understand your decision to foster

Many of your friends and family may try to understand and support your decision to be a foster parent. Others may never understand why you would welcome a child into your home when that child will likely return to his or her birth family. Remaining clear in your motivations and mission will help you tell your story, but accepting that not everyone will be supportive is essential for your peace of mind.

Take the preplacement training seriously

Preplacement training is required and necessary. You’ll learn how to navigate the system, manage the child’s trauma and overcome obstacles. It’s also a wonderful way to meet other families in Trumbull County who are starting this journey with you and who will add to your support system. Pay attention, do the work, and ask as many questions as possible.

Form a great relationship with your assessor

Your assessor can tell you about resources you never knew existed, not only for the children in your care, but for you, as well. Depending on how your agency is set up, your assessor could become an integral partner in your journey and an experienced sounding board in times of need.

Set expectations for yourself and your family

Although foster care can end in adoption, this is not the intended goal in most situations. Effectively setting expectations can help with any grief that family members may experience when children are reunified with their birth families. 

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