Shared blog by FosterMama
At Hope’s Promise, we want to provide our amazing foster parents (and potential foster parents) with as many resources as possible so that they feel supported and cared for. This blog is full of great ideas for working foster parents.
When we first considered becoming foster parents, I joined foster Facebook groups to learn everything I could about the process. I quickly noticed that many foster families have a stay-at-home parent. I did worry a bit—my career is important to me and I wasn’t really willing to give it up. Plus, it would not make financial sense for me to leave my job. Similarly, my husband had recently graduated with his Doctorate so he was also not at a point where he would be up for staying home full-time. So could we do it with two careers?
Read more here.
By our friends at CO4Kids
Five years ago, Jessica Olds was a client in the Adams County Family Treatment Court program, working to overcome an alcohol and substance use disorder and trying to regain custody of her two sons. Three and a half years later, having achieved sobriety and reunification with her children, Jessica began working as a Parent Advocate for the Office of Respondent Parents’ Counsel (ORPC), helping parents in the same situation she was in at her lowest moment.
“Jessica was my client when she was in family treatment court. She was in a dark place but she had two boys, a desire for change and a resilience reserved only for Disney princesses,” said Wendy Lewis, Jessica’s former counsel. “She has come so far since then, and now she is someone who inspires other parents to reach for their dreams. She made sure that her past made her better, not bitter.”
Jessica is grateful for the changes she made in family treatment court and the support she received from everyone on her team, particularly her peer support worker who took her to her first 12-step meeting and who Jessica credits in large part with achieving reunification with her sons. In 2020, the ORPC began hiring for the new role of parent advocate, and Jessica was inspired to pursue the job because of her experience years prior with her peer support.
As a parent advocate, Jessica works with parents primarily in the Adams County Family Treatment Court program, which specializes in reuniting families that have been separated due to substance use disorder. The court provides additional resources for parents to help them address their substance use disorder and create a safe and healthy environment so their kids can return home to be raised by their parents.
As a parent advocate, Jessica makes herself available to her clients 24-hours a day, 7-days a week. She doesn’t have to but she chooses to because she has ‘been there’ and understands what the other parents are going through. She connects with her clients on a deep level, often helping them face past traumas and achieve their goals. She is there for them if they need to find a place to do a drug test in the evening, if they need a ride to the methadone clinic at 6:00 am, or if they need a sympathetic ear in the middle of the night. In addition to attending hearings and family team meetings, Jessica goes well beyond her required duties, including hosting a clothing exchange for families in family treatment court.
But while Jessica goes above and beyond to support her clients, it is ultimately up to them to make the necessary changes. “In my experience as a parent in this situation and later as a parent advocate, I have found that in order to be successful in overcoming challenges and achieving reunification, parents must ultimately be willing to do the hard work of making healthy choices and good decisions,” added Jessica. “Utilizing the available supports and services is so important in helping parents to build a foundation for a successful life and a home in which children can thrive.”
Jessica’s clients are often at their lowest point when they begin working with her, but her willingness to share her story, lift them up and pay forward the support she once received helps them to envision and strive toward a future for themselves that is as bright as hers.
As Hope’s Promise begins to certify foster families, we also have a great need for families willing to be certified as respite providers. We desire for Hope’s Promise to stand out as having outstanding support of our families and a record-breaking retention rate! It’s been said that about two-thirds of foster parents quit fostering within one to two years because of the hardships they face. We want to see that number be much less at Hope’s Promise! To do so, we know we need to go above and beyond in the support we have for families, and respite care is one of the most important!
Much like grandparents and family members often provide help and time away for parents to have time to breathe, respite providers offer foster parents and youth in foster care a break from their daily lives and a chance to get away and recharge. Sometimes it is a needed break to reset and care for their mental health, and sometimes it is for an already planned trip or vacation which the foster child cannot also take part in for a multitude of reasons. Many foster parents state is the number one thing that helps them maintain longevity in their calling as foster parents – it is that important!
Respite providers receive the same training and certification as foster parents and are often in high demand as there are many more foster parents than there are respite providers! Many respite families also get the opportunity to provide other supports for that youth and family as they build a relationship and become part of the foster family’s community long-term.
If you are interested in exploring what it would mean to be a respite family, please consider attending our free monthly virtual informational meetings – you can sign up here: https://www.hopespromise.com/events/ or email Tami Davidson at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up an individual time to meet with her and learn more.
How can something be both beautiful and a struggle at the same time? Both wonderful and heart-wrenching? Welcome to the world of being a foster parent. Where you advocate for reunification while caring for a child as if they were your own.
It’s hard, it’s messy, it’s gratifying, it’s God’s work.
Read more from Foster the Family blog, where the author, Jamie C., writes beautifully about her experiences as a foster parent: http://www.fosterthefamilyblog.com/foster-the-family-blog-1/i-dont-want-to-hand-him-over
America’s foster care system is in crisis. Despite real efforts to effect change, over 120,000 children remain in the system awaiting a permanent family through adoption. Finding the right families requires innovative solutions and collaborative partnerships. In this issue of the Adoption Advocate from the National Council for Adoption , they highlight the work of private agencies, like Hope’s Promise, who are successfully partnering with the public sector to achieve better outcomes for kids in the foster care system. Their experiences and guidance can serve as a springboard for more agencies to expand their services into this critical area of work.
An increasing number of adoptive families are single-parent households where children have found permanency and are thriving with a Mom or Dad only.
You can’t enter the world of foster care and not be changed by it.
At the start of every year, we set goals with every intention of checking off each
We want to do this foster care thing well, and particularly well as people who follow Jesus. In showing up, we not only represent ourselves, but we also represent Jesus.