Share the work and the fun: Build a reporting staff. Ask members if they would write a ongoing column or report on just one subject such as training or legislative news. Find a different reporter or columnist for each feature.
Foster Parent Spotlight: Every foster/adoptive parent has a story. Focus on a different family in each issue – write about their parenting history, hobbies and interests, or special skills and knowledge they can share with others. A good way to introduce new foster parents to others and visa versa.
Support Line: Publish telephone numbers of foster parents with special expertise (i.e. special education or ADD) who are willing to provide information, referral, and support to other parents.
The Commissioner’s Corner: Or the judge’s, the director’s, the therapist’s, the law guardian’s, etc. An opportunity for a child welfare professionals to share his/her thoughts and advice with foster parents on an ongoing basis, and receive some great PR at the same time.
Letters to the Editor: Ask members to submit questions or write in on subjects of interest. Ask an expert to write a “Dear Abby” type advice column. Conduct and publish polls or survey results.
Advertising: Don’t be afraid to sell ads, it’s a perfectly legitimate and relatively easy way to cover publishing costs. Think about local merchants who market to families with children such as pediatricians, sport shops, or ice cream parlors. Don’t forget classified ads for items such as used furniture, rummage sales, sports equipment or a free swap shop section.
Community Calendar: Upcoming parent group events of course, local sporting events, health clinics, festivals and fairs, school / church events, training opportunities.
Book and Movie Reviews: For both kids and adults. the Coalition has an extensive lending library on foster care and adoption topics which is open to members. Give us a call, maybe we can suggest some titles.
Kids Corner: Original works by members’ kids – poems, stories, whatever.
Educational materials: Articles that inform, inspire, or just help everybody get on the same page. Don’t assume everybody is knowledgeable about local policies and procedures for things such as clothing vouchers, transportation services, or subsidy agreements. Lots of people are often afraid to “ask the stupid question” and others don’t know what they don’t know. Ask your local homefinder to write a reminder or handy hints column. Feel free to reproduce anything from the Coalition website, just be sure you attribute the source and site.
Wise sayings: The web if filled with these, use as filler for fun and inspiration.
Great Deals: Negotiate foster parent discounts with local merchants in exchange for free advertising. Get the shopper in your group to find the best place to buy……….
Service Spotlight: Provide a directory of hard to find services or focus on a different service provider each issue. Think about services for kids and families such are cooperative extension courses, mental health services, drug prevention programs, local transportation programs, recreation programs, etc. Feature a specific professional each issue such as a special caseworker or attorney.
Say thank you: This is the place to say thank you to group supporters both internal and external. Publish lists of donors, subscribers, advertisers, speakers and champions.
Who to send it to: Though your primary audience is foster and adoptive parents, think about sending copies to caseworkers, services providers, court personnel – anyone you want to build a positive relationship with. A newsletter is an opportunity to educate others about foster/adoptive parent concerns, interests and professionalism.