1. Treat each child who enters your home as if he/she was your own.
It’s already hard being the foster child of the household. Remember that each child wants to be loved and shown how to love. When you do activities with your children, include the children who are placed within your home.
2. Be open to making adjustments based off each child’s trauma.
Some kids may have triggers that social workers may not know about. So, if a child acts uncomfortable when presented something, then think of another way to handle that situation.
3. Be open and willing to learn about different cultures, as every child who enters your home will be different from you.
Cultures are a huge part of a person’s identity, so be open to learn about different cultures. Whether it’s learning about traditions, food or just morals and values. Everyone wants to feel like they belong to a certain group.
4. Be a champion for the children placed in your home.
“Every child deserves a champion—an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection and insists that they become the best they can possibly be.” – Rita F. Pierson
5. Enjoy being a foster parent! The little things that you do can change a child’s life for the better.
Enjoy the simple moments! You never know how your behavior can change someone’s perspective.
6. Teach youth in care or out of care to use their voice and be their own advocate.
Especially if they are in your home, you’re their case manager. Don’t be afraid to let them know they have rights and the right to voice their opinion.
7. Inform individuals that all foster care alumni can go on and do wonderful things.
Every child who goes through the foster care system should be able to have a bright and beautiful future.
8. Invest in each child who is in your home.
Invest with not just money, but time, morals and values. They are the future generation of doctors, lawyers, etc.
Self-care is going to be most important in this role of dealing with someone’s else’s trauma and maybe your own. It’s okay to need a break. Respite is there for you when things are becoming overwhelming.
10. Show the children it’s okay to be vulnerable with their emotions.
Many children who are in the child welfare system feel they need to be strong all the time. Let them know it’s okay to have emotions and be vulnerable. They will learn to trust you and know that not everyone is going to hurt them.
When I was writing this, I realized there aren’t 10 things foster parents need to know. There are several things, but everyone’s journey is different. I realized that I aged out of foster care seven years ago, and there are things I still don’t know. So these are the 10 things that I wish some of my foster parents had done while I was living with them.
Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org! Have a beautiful day!