New Report Shows How Public Agencies Can Transform Foster Parenting

Posted November 16, 2016
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
Blog reporttransformfosterparenting 2016

A new Casey Foun­da­tion report, A Move­ment to Trans­form Fos­ter Par­ent­ing, explores how pub­lic agen­cies can enlist more indi­vid­u­als and fam­i­lies to become fos­ter par­ents — and encour­age those who now serve to con­tin­ue their extra­or­di­nary commitment.

Fos­ter par­ents, includ­ing kin care­givers, pro­vide much need­ed love and sup­port to chil­dren removed from their homes. But these ded­i­cat­ed indi­vid­u­als need more and bet­ter sup­ports to con­tin­ue in their reward­ing, chal­leng­ing roles. Fos­ter par­ents are ordi­nary peo­ple who do extra­or­di­nary things for chil­dren and fam­i­lies in cri­sis,” the report says, not­ing, It’s long past time to change the ways in which sys­tems and com­mu­ni­ties part­ner with fos­ter parents.”

The report iden­ti­fies three ways agen­cies and com­mu­ni­ties can sup­port, engage and empow­er fos­ter parents:

  • Ensure qual­i­ty care­giv­ing for chil­dren: Child wel­fare sys­tem must help fos­ter par­ents build­ing spe­cial­ized skills to care for chil­dren who have expe­ri­enced insta­bil­i­ty and trau­ma. Care­givers alsoneed ongo­ing resources, infor­ma­tion and sup­port ser­vices to help kidsin their homes to grow and thrive.
  • Forge strong rela­tion­ships: Pub­lic child wel­fare agen­cies and pri­vate fos­ter-care provider­smust envi­sion and imple­ment a sys­tem that engages fos­ter par­ents as respect­ed part­ners and pro­motes the val­ue of fos­ter families.
  • Find and keep more amaz­ing care­givers: Agen­cies must sus­tain a con­stant­ly grow­ing and diverse net­work of fos­ter par­ents, find new fos­ter fam­i­lies to replace those who adopt, and explore new tech­nolo­gies and data-dri­ven approach­es to iden­ti­fy and recruit eager fos­ter fam­i­lies well suit­ed to meet children’s needs.

Many great ideas cur­rent­ly exist to strength­en part­ner­ships between fos­ter par­ents and child wel­fare agen­cies. A Move­ment to Trans­form Fos­ter Par­ent­ing pro­vides exam­ples of suc­cess­ful cur­ric­u­la, assess­ment tools, infor­ma­tion sys­tems and recruit­ment efforts, including:

With the right sup­ports, train­ing and tools, child wel­fare agen­cies can improve out­comes for chil­dren, while cre­at­ing reward­ing expe­ri­ences for fos­ter parents.

We have seen some tru­ly amaz­ing approach­es to engag­ing and sup­port­ing fos­ter par­ents,” says Tracey Feild, direc­tor of Casey’s Child Wel­fare Strat­e­gy Group. It’s our job to lever­age these inno­va­tions quick­ly and effec­tive­ly to encour­age even broad­er aware­ness and appli­ca­tion of what’s work­ing to improve children’s lives and out­comes. Chil­dren in cri­sis can­not wait.”

Down­load the report

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