One thing that struck me about this foster parent association was the relationship they shared with each other. There was a great deal of laughing, both with each other, and at each other, in good nature, of course. It was apparent that the relationships between the members were strong ones, and that they enjoyed each other’s company. The foster parents felt relaxed, comfortable, and looked to be in good spirits.
|image by Jamiesrabbits|
A good and healthy foster parent association is one where members can find the support they need from their fellow foster parent. Not only do foster parents understand one another better than the general public, they can appreciate what each has gone through, and can provide suggestions, help, and advice that applies directly to the situation, advice and help that others do not simply appreciate nor understand. Fellow members have probably “been there, done that,” before, and can offer advice based on their own experiences in the foster care system. An association can also be a place where foster parents can relax, unwind, and even share frustrations and grievances without having to be worried about judged or criticized by outside forces.
As foster parents across the United States, and in many countries, are required to have a certain amount of training hours each year, many foster parent associations host training sessions during their meetings. Resources and information can be shared by experts in particular fields, and foster parents can acquire valuable insight into various topics and areas that only applies to the foster care system.
|Foster care training meeting|
Indeed, if you are not part of a foster parent association, it would be wise to join one, as the benefits are many. If there is not an association in your area, it is not difficult to start one, yourself. Simply contact your local child welfare agency for help and assistance, search the internet for suggestions, or you may contact me for advice on beginning an association on your own. Take advantage of the fellowship, the training, and the support from a foster parent association. Cheers!
Dr. John DeGarmo has been a foster parent for 11 years, now, and he and his wife have had over 30 children come through their home. He is a speaker and trainer on many topics about the foster care system, and travels around the nation delivering passionate, dynamic, energetic, and informative presentations. Dr. DeGarmo is the author of the highly inspirational and bestselling book Fostering Love: One Foster Parent’s Story, and the upcoming book The Foster Parenting Manual: A Practical Guide to Creating a Loving, Safe and Stable Home. He writes for a number of publications and newsletters, both here in the United States, and overseas. Dr. DeGarmo can be contacted by email, through his Facebook page, or at his website.