When Fostering Children…Relational Care Trumps!

Hello frontline workers and potentially foster parents…or caregivers thinking of fostering..

This week brought me back to my days working along side Children’s Aid Society (CAS) in York Region. I was doing after-care transitional workshops for CAS youth that were ready to transition from either foster care OR group homes. I would hear so many stories…

Stories of…

Foster parents…
How many times they moved around…
How they viewed child welfare…
How they viewed their worker…

As majority of these stories were negative, there were moments of positivity shared in these young people’s life.

For Foster Parents that cared and invested in being a caregiver and provided support and nurture with good intentions (even if it was only a short while), the young people always had something to say such as; ” I visited them still”…”I still talked to their children” or ” I am going back to see my foster parent for the holidays.”

It was such a surprise for me then but now I see why.

What are these foster parents doing at the present moment that all these children need?

Through my observation its a lot of relational care- its seeing these kids as not just another placement or a holding cell for the system to find.

These are parents who genuinely care about their safety, social and emotional being, and the relationships they have with other adults. We cannot control a foster parent’s decision of when and how much time they will have the young person, which might make it difficult for the young person to have physical stability; however, we can provide an environment full of caring adults.

In further training for foster parenting or those who are interested in parenting for any youth protection or child welfare agency, we need to evaluate the quality of care these children are receiving.

What are some ideas for increase accountability?
possibly mandatory trainings?
Possibly a probation period for foster parents? …performance evaluations?

Just some thoughts, please let me know some of your ideas?!

However, for those foster parents that serve the best interest for our young people, just remember that you have modelled healthy relationships that will help them lead a more fulfilling adult life.

Thank you for all your efforts!

Marleigh

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