Connecting Families: Support Groups For Foster Parents

Support groups for foster parents

You’re a new foster parent and, if you’re being honest, it’s scary. Don’t get me wrong, you’ve prepared. You’ve read all the books, you’ve taken a bunch of trainings and you’ve done your online research. But once that little girl walked into your home, backpack slung over her shoulder and eyes to the floor, all of that research and training went out the window. You need help, but even more than that, you need someone who understands.

You need a foster parent support group.

Support groups for foster parents are organizations of people who are, or at one time were, resource parents. These meetings are a safe space for foster parents to share their personal experiences without fear of judgment. They are not only a place where foster parents can learn new skills to help cope with their seemingly unique situations, but also somewhere they can feel understood because many others will have gone through similar experiences.

In New Jersey, Foster and Adoptive Family Services (FAFS) holds Connecting Families community based meetings throughout the state for all open licensed resource homes.

If you’re feeling isolated because of your fostering situation, these meetings are a place to discover you are far from alone. New and veteran foster, adoptive and kinship parents share their personal experiences and offer advice and guidance to those who need it. Here, foster parents learn and develop coping skills for the myriad of concerns they may encounter during their journey.

Just as importantly, feelings of anger, frustration, and anxiety aren’t greeted with judgment at these meetings. Instead, these feelings are often validated as legitimate emotional responses to difficult issues. By offering a safe space for parents to express negative feelings, support groups like Connecting Families help parents move towards a positive resolution. Other parents have been through a gamut of emotions at different points in the fostering process, and they can help you understand how to navigate through turbulent times.

Consider connecting today!

If you’re a licensed resource parent with an open home in New Jersey, please come out to a nearby Connecting Families meeting.

Author: Lloyd Nelson, FAFS Digital Media Manager

Lloyd Nelson is the Digital Media Manager of Foster and Adoptive Family Services. He can be reached at lnelson@fafsonline.org.

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2 thoughts on “Connecting Families: Support Groups For Foster Parents

  1. I am trying to start a support group for foster parents in my local. Have had luke-warm support from our local DHS and private agencies, who generally don’t recognize that foster support groups independent from agencies are valuable to provide real time for fparents to talk, without ‘education’ focus.

    Was this something you experienced? Can you recommend the best way to get word out, with information and to whom you would suggest? Have been a foster parent for just under a year and the isolation is real. Looking to change this in a positive encouraging way for myself and others.

    1. Hi Colleen,

      It’s wonderful that you are interested in starting up a local support group for foster parents! FAFS currently has 16 groups serving all 21 counties in New Jersey. Please feel free to reach out to our Director of Support Services, Tara Rizzolo, at 609.520.1500 ext. 309 to further discuss.

      Corissa Kazar
      Support Services Manager

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