Children of foster parents often come from families in crisis, so adults thinking of becoming foster parents must research this choice carefully. This Web guide can help you decide whether you’re ready to be a foster parent, find support resources, and if you are (or were) in the foster care system as a youth, connect you with others who have had similar experiences.
The resources in this section can help you learn more about the foster care system and gauge your family’s readiness to welcome a foster child into your lives.
- Individual states may have different application and certification processes for prospective foster parents. Use search terms like “foster parenting in Arizona” or “Minnesota foster parents” to find information specific to where you live.
- If you’re considering becoming a foster parent to a child with a medical issue, findingDulcinea has numerous health Web guides to help you research a variety of subjects.
For general questions about foster care …
answers many questions a person may have about being a foster parent. The site also discusses some of the benefits past foster families say they have enjoyed by caring for a foster child.
National Foster Care Month
addresses several frequently asked questions about foster parenting, starting with “How can I become a Foster Parent?” and moving to issues like “How can I learn more about foster care?
offers a short checklist of qualities a prospective foster parent should display as part of their readiness to become a foster parent, such as financial independence, and a clean, safe home in which to live.
To learn foster care terms …
The National Foster Parent Association
contains a helpful glossary of vocabulary terms about foster care. If you’re considering becoming a foster parent, this handy resource can help you become more familiar with the system.
To learn about training and certification …
Foster Parent College
supplies online opportunities to learn about behavioral issues foster children may face and offers parenting strategies that may be effective.
Child Welfare Information Gateway
can help you gain some insight into why children need supportive families, understand the importance of “cultural competence,” find support programs available to help your family and more.
To learn about the emotional aspects of foster care …
The Pew Commission on Children in Foster Care
explores some of the deeper issues facing the foster care system in its extensive research series. Reports include “A Child’s Journey Through the Child Welfare System” and “Demographics of Children in Foster Care.”
provides resources foster parents may need as they work to provide a safe environment for foster children. Order training materials or find transitional tools for children adjusting to a new school or home.
To learn about policy issues in foster care …
National Foster Care Coalition
reviews several policy issues in foster care, such as child welfare financing, permanence and transition, and foster youth education.
My Stuff Bags Foundation
aims to ease the transition children may experience if they enter the foster care system under emergency circumstances. Learn how to help provide stuffed animals, toiletries or school supplies to kids entering foster homes.
Occasionally, the opportunity arises for parents to adopt their foster kids. Read on if you want to learn more about making a foster child a permanent part of your family.
- Much like the process of becoming a foster parent, procedures for adopting a foster child can vary from state to state. An agency like your state’s Department of Children and Family Services may be able to answer more specific questions.
Child Welfare Information Gateway
provides a terrific tool for searching out state statutes on a variety of child welfare topics, including adoption. Choose a location and a legal topic to get started.
Adoption in Child Time, Inc.
is a resource specific to adopting foster children in Indiana, but its “Topics in Foster Care and Adoption” page provides some valuable information about the benefits afforded to foster children when they are adopted, and more.
If you’d like to connect with other foster parents or find support groups to share successes and concerns, the Web can be a great place to start.
- As with any online community, remember to be cautious of how much personally identifying information you share with others.
Foster Care Central
allows foster parents, social workers and others to meet online and discuss changes they would like to see in the foster care system. Free registration
is required to participate on the site.
Casey Family Programs
provides a variety of videos, articles and online tools to help foster families create good relationships.
Fostering Families Today
is a bi-monthly magazine about foster care and adoption in the United States. Some featured articles in the current issue are available for free, but to read others, you’ll have to order the magazine.
A multitude of online support groups and educational resources exist to help foster kids live successful lives. The Web sites below recommend online communities specifically for foster children, as well as scholarships and educational opportunities.
has a FormerOrphan/FosterChildrenSupportGroup that offers foster care stories and message boards for former foster care children. Both private and general message boards are available.
is a dynamic online community for foster care youth and adults looking for help being independent, connecting with fellow foster kids and obtaining information about their rights as members of the foster care system.
For stories and inspiration …
provides a means for children ages 13 and up to learn about foster and adoptive kids in similar situations. Read personal stories or learn how to form an Elevate chapter near you.
The Original Foster Care Survival Guide
was written by an adult who spent several years in foster care. Check the “Chapters” section to read about moving successfully into adulthood, determining the path you’ll take and more.
National Network for Youth (nn4y)
provides resources to homeless foster children. Check the “Youth Voices” page to read stories of kids and young adults who have benefited from nn4y’s program, and see the “Crisis” page for resources that can offer immediate help.
is a support group for former foster children. Use the resources provided on the site to learn how to start your own support group.
For educational resources …
National Foster Parent Association
(NFPA) describes some of the scholarship opportunities available to foster children, and offers pointers on helping kids improve their scholarship applications.
Orphan Foundation of America
(OFA) aims to help children who “age out” of the foster care system continue with their education and become active members of society. Learn about the educational programs available, or seek inspiration from other foster children.
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