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Important Things to Know Before Becoming a Foster Parent

Exploring how to become a foster parent can feel a little overwhelming. There is much to consider beyond meeting basic foster care licensing requirements. At CCR, we help prospective foster parents navigate the decision to foster. Our 35-year history has seen many foster parents succeed in helping children heal. They have many things in common, including but not limited to the five critical factors below.

Being a foster parent requires healthy relationships.

  • Healthy, stable relationships play a role in successful foster parenting. Strained relationships can cause stress that foster parents and kids in care don't need. Good communication in a stable environment with your spouse, partner, or extended family is crucial. Kids require a calm, united front during challenges and frustrations that arise in the home. It is important to remember that positive parenting stems from positive relationships.
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  • Being a single foster parent will require intentional attention to your mental and physical health. Having been together for at least three years is best if you are married or committed. Understanding your spouse or partner and getting through the infancy of your marriage or partnership is essential. It is challenging to be a foster parent when dealing with ongoing stressors. The ability to tag team and depend on each other is critical when caring for children and youth with trauma.
  • Many emotions accompany fostering children with significant trauma. If you are in a new relationship or if you live a long distance from family and close friends, it may be a good idea to take some time to develop and build a network of stable relationships before you become a foster parent. 

Wisconsin foster parents must be open-minded.

  • Foster parents must be flexible in their thinking. Authoritarian parenting or militant discipline structures can often backfire and create stress when caring for youth in foster care. Foster parents must be able to stop a reaction and make quick, necessary adjustments in the heat of a moment. The ability to see where a child is coming from, accept behavior or opinion, and keep an open mind to every situation is essential in successful foster parenting.
  • Be open to the moment and the world your foster child came from, and accept kids where they are. Parents must use wisdom, compassion, and understanding rather than reacting with unrealistic expectations. Helping foster youth develop healthy coping skills requires foster parents to be patient and consistent. 

Fostering kids with trauma requires a flexible schedule.   

  • A flexible schedule is mandatory for all foster parents licensed with Community Care Resources. Foster parents can expect unplanned interruptions, schedule changes, medical appointments, therapy appointments, and biological family visits. Your availability to your foster children will play an essential role in a child's ability to heal and develop healthy relationships.mom teen3
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  • Single and married foster parents need flexibility with a work schedule. Single foster parents must have a backup person to count on during your unavailable hours. CCR requires a consistent schedule for kids in care so they can benefit from routine and familiar caregivers.
  • Couples with alternating work schedules, work-at-home positions, small business owners, self-employed, and stay-at-home parents offer excellent flexibility—being available when needed is essential. In addition, no foster child of any age may be left home alone. 

All foster parents benefit from a dependable support system.

Foster parents experience increased workloads and emotions that come with the difficulties of caring for children with trauma histories. Will your extended family and friends support your decision? Are there people that will jump in to help, listen to you, and refrain from judging? Be realistic about your expectations of those close to you. Friends and family members may need help to understand your desire to foster.

Your greatest support system outside of your family will be your assigned Clinical Case Manager (CCM). Community Care Resources only employs experienced master's level case managers. A CCM will visit your home every week while the kids are placed in your home. During these support visits, you will learn from the experience of your CCM and how to best care for your foster child(ren). You will discuss problems, progress, setbacks, and accomplishments. Weekly support is vital for successful healing to happen.

 Successful foster parents can adapt in the moment.
  • Being able to shift at the moment is an attribute that all successful foster parents have. Situations will arise when a quick adjustment or creative solution will help a child get through a challenging moment or crisis. Your ability to handle disruptions appropriately and problem-solve at the moment will be a great asset to your family. Behaviors can change quickly with children who have experienced trauma, and their inability to express themselves or cope with a specific situation will require adjustments.
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  • If you can adapt to various situations that will arise, have a dependable support system, are surrounded by positive relationships, have a flexible schedule and an open mind. It might be time to take the steps toward beginning the process of becoming a foster parent. 

READY TO EXPLORE? We are here to walk you through it.

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