Updated: Sep 16, 2019
If you know a family that has foster children here's 3 easy ways to help.
1) Bring Dinner on Social Worker Visit Days
When you are a foster parent, sometimes it feels like your house isn’t your own. Social workers visit weekly, monthly, quarterly (depending on the case).
Knives, cleaning supplies, medicines all need to be locked up, first aid kits accessible, fire extinguisher up to date and accessible, evacuation plan, emergency contact list posted, etc. The list goes on.
Most foster parents will want the house to be clean and picked up – just to avoid any potential issues with social workers. As you can imagine, this can make for a busy day. Bringing dinner or helping clean the day of the visit is so helpful!
2) Offer to Babysit
This is helpful for any parents but nothing is better than having a trusted babysitter offer to give a foster parent a night off. The first time my wife Katie and I went out to dinner after our first foster placement we just started laughing when we sat down for dinner because it just felt so good. It was a vacation.
3) Do Not Compare
One of the hardest things for foster/adoptive parents is when someone tries to compare their experiences or challenges with something they’ve experienced with their own biological children.
I get it, it’s human nature, and the intent behind it is not likely to cause pain.
But it does. It might very well be true that your child has hit you before, but I promise it doesn’t feel the same for the foster parent.
Remember, these children very likely had severe early trauma (even potentially in the womb!), and this can have effects on behavior, emotional competence, coping skills, development, and more.
Don’t compare your biological children to an adoptive/foster child’s negative behaviors. And definitely don’t say “oh that’s normal for a 4-year-old!”. It’s better just to listen.