What Do Foster Parents Want?

New York State Foster Parent Responses to What Support and Services Do I Wish Were Available To Foster Parents in My Community”

  • Support/Recognition for birth children in foster families
  • Clothing Exchanges/Closets, Many foster families don’t use when available – Why? Some county agencies discourage use of hand me downs or used clothing
  • Mentoring / Buddy programs
  • Access to dental care for foster children
  • Increased access to medical care for foster children
  • Access to adoption / foster care competent therapists
  • Access to attachment disorder therapy and services
  • Access to legal information and foster care/adoption competent attorneys
  • Improved law guardian services for foster children
  • Resource guide for foster parents – formal and informal-one stop shopping
  • Access to respite care – discussion resulted in conclusion there exists a wide variety of opinion and philosophy about how and when to use respite services,  needs further exploration
    • In-home respite
    • Out of home respite
    • Camp or youth development programs
    • Teen employment programs
  • Better information about the child and their family’s needs/circumstances at placement
  • School personnel need better information about child and birth family needs/circumstances – discussion resulted in conclusion that foster parents need to take responsibility to ensure information is communicated
  • School personnel need to become informed and aware of foster care and adoptions issues in general
  • Improved communication between foster parents and caseworkers
  • Increased educational opportunities, meaningful and useful – Discussion resulted in conclusion that money need not be an issue, most communities have a wealth of educational and training programs that foster parents and caseworkers don’t know are there.
  • Increased knowledge and understanding of Family Court process
  • Socialization Opportunities for all members of foster families
  • Recognition from Agency of difficulty and professionalism of foster parent roles and responsibilities
    • A more “human experience”
    • Birthday and Xmas cards
  • Honesty from agency personnel
    • Be direct
    • Tell the same story to all parties
    • The good stuff AND the bad Stuff – “I’d rather know up front what I’m facing.”
  • Awareness and recognition of all foster family roles (children, grandparents, extended family), not just parents – discussion resulted in conclusion that word family should be used in place of parents whenever possible.
  • Birth Parents need education and reassurance about foster family roles
    • From caseworkers
    • From Support groups
  • Increased caseworker understanding of foster parent roles
  • Card/form with basic identifying information about child at placement – social security #, MA number, allergies, health status, therapists name, school, etc.

Source: Discussion notes from the Coalition 2003 LINK Family Fall gathering

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