Tips for foster parents from a caseworker

As a caseworker, I like to work hand in hand with a foster family. It makes my job easier and provides more support to the child. Yet sometimes I cannot fathom what foster parents do, dont do, say, and/or how they act. So here are some of the things I would like to pass along

  • Know what decisions you can and cannot legally make. And what decisions the parent may want or need to be a part of making. Piercings, immunizations, tattoos, psych meds, hair cuts, etc.
  • Be nice to your worker. We have a never ending to do list that gets longer even when we get a few things done. We are blamed for everything that goes wrong. We are cursed at, ridiculed, threatened, and sometimes targets for personal vengence. Some of us have even been assaulted.
  • Do not expect us or ask us to take a child to every appointment. We cannot take children to every doctors appointment when we have so many things we need to get done.
  • If you are doing it for extra income, turn in your license now. Because we can all tell when someone fosters for the wrong reason… even the children.
  • If you are trying to adopt and that is the main reason you want to foster, please talk to the agency about only placing children in your home who have an adoption goal. It is also clear to us when someone does fostering just because they want a baby. It also does not help with reunification.
  • Know your limits, get some support, and have coping skills at the ready. Our children come traumatized.
  • If you dont know something, you can ask your caseworker. We will not judge you for not knowing something.
  • Do not give parents legal advice, or ask them to sign over their rights so you can adopt their child. It is inappropriate and out of the duties you have as a foster parent.
  • Do not write off the parents. Not all of them are a danger to you or your household. You can ask your worker for their impression of the parent.

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