Foster parents have to cope with a lot of unique situations, whether they’re dealing with medically fragile children or navigating the complexities of finding a state-approved babysitter. Sometimes, we all need the experience and wisdom of someone who’s been there before – that’s why it’s important to network with as many foster care organizations and foster parents as possible. By signing up with and participating in a foster parent network (or a few!), you can constantly ensure you will be supported on your journey through the foster care system.
Fortunately for foster parents today, networking has never been easier – the internet can help you navigate the deep pool of knowledge that exists within your peers. In a past blog, FAFS encouraged foster parents to stay up-to-date on social media which could help them understand their foster children’s online activity. Today, it’s time to turn the tables – by getting involved in social media, you can improve your ability to help the children in your care.
Let’s take a look at some of the networking opportunities you can make use of as a foster parent.
Connecting Families Programs
embrella’s Heart to Heart Mentoring
Despite all the preparations one might make to welcome a child into your home, no one can be truly prepared for all the various zigs and zags of fostering a child. That’s why embrella created the Heart to Heart Mentoring program – to help foster parents network and learn from one another.
There are two ways to sign up – either apply to be a Mentor or a Mentee. Mentors work closely with the FAFS Family Advocates and understand the various questions, concerns, struggles and victories of fostering. Mentees, on the other hand, are foster parents looking for some guidance. FAFS pairs a Mentee applicant with a Mentor who can help her through the struggles she might be facing.
Whether Mentor or Mentee, the Heart to Heart Mentoring program is a great way to meet, and stay connected with, local foster parents. Check it out here.
A Foster Parent Asks
Every Wednesday, FAFS posts a question asked by a foster parent on Facebook so that other foster parents can provide their responses. Whether you’ve got a question to ask or are looking to help others in need, A Foster Parent Asks is a great place to branch out and start building your own foster parent network consisting of real foster parents right here in New Jersey. You can ask a question by posting it directly to our Facebook page, found here.
Here’s a sample question that was asked:
A foster parent asks, “I adopted my son a little over a year ago and I’d like to go the foster to adopt route again. But I’m now worried there’s a chance that the next child I foster might not be a good permanent fit and won’t result in me adopting him/her. How do you then approach the situation without hurting the new foster child?”
(Click here to see the responses)
Even if you’re looking for answers to questions more related to your first time fostering, A Foster Parent Asks is a great place to start.
A foster parent asks, “We finally got approved today and have a potential placement. The baby is only a few days old and we were told mom is in prison. They also told us that they weren’t able to find family members willing to take him in and that he doesn’t have any drug exposure. So far, this is all I know. With this being our first placement, I was just wondering if anyone can offer some guidance on what to expect during the next few weeks? This wasn’t covered in our training, so we’re at a bit of a loss on what exactly to do.”
(Click here to see the responses.)
Not only does the FAFS Facebook page have A Foster Parent Asks but it’s also consistently updated with various events, programs and news about foster care in New Jersey. Be sure to Like Us on Facebook and follow our feed to stay connected to other foster parents and the community at large.
Local Holiday Parties
Each year, the FAFS Connecting Families community-based groups invite families from open, licensed foster homes to local holiday parties. The Holiday Parties are a great place to meet up with other foster families and kick back and relax as the kids play.
Thanks to the efforts of the New Jersey Policemens’ Benevolent Association (NJPBA) and other donors, many of these parties provide a complimentary holiday gift. Before each holiday season, every open, licensed resource home receives an invite to the party in their local area so, keep an eye out for next year’s party!
Confessions of a Foster Parent – A Real-World Foster Parent Network
Disclaimer: Some content found on Confessions of a Foster Parent may be offensive to some. embrella does not endorse Confessions of a Foster Parent. Opinions and ideas expressed therein do not represent the perspectives, values or beliefs of embrella.
Although the name seems transparent, ConfessionsOfAFosterParent.tumblr.com is more than a confessional; posters also use it as a place to share their everyday feelings or successes.
This blog, hosted on Tumblr, documents the frustrations and concerns of the posters. Whether celebrating a struggle you’ve faced as a foster parent or searching for some sympathetic ears, Confessions Of A Foster Parent provides a real life perspective on the struggles and triumphs of foster care. Though not technically a foster parent network, it is the face of the foster community on Tumblr, the site that people subscribe to in order to post here. Below is one example of the community’s interest and goodwill.
To check out the latest confessions and epiphanies, check out Confessions of a Foster Parent here.
FosterIt – An Open, Peer-moderated Foster Parent Network
Disclaimer: Some content found on FosterIt (and its parent site, Reddit) may be offensive to some. embrella does not endorse FosterIt or Reddit. Opinions and ideas expressed therein do not represent the perspectives, values or beliefs of embrella.
Reddit is an online collection of user-maintained communities called “subreddits,” and one of those exists exactly for members of the foster care community. The moderators encourage posters to answer what they call the “10 Standard Questions” – some questions aimed at introducing you and your experiences to the other foster parents, former foster youth and child welfare workers online. In this way, FosterIt serves as more than a foster parent network as it allows foster parents to connect with workers and former foster youth as well.
Ever heard someone say something about foster care that drove you crazy? Other people know that feeling, too:
“…had someone act surprised when we told them that our foster kids have been well-behaved. “Really?! That’s not what I expected.”
And also, “I wonder what a ‘nice’ kid like yours is doing in foster care.” (Ugh, it’s not a kid’s fault if he/she is in foster care. Nice or not, it makes no difference.)”
To see some responses to the 10 Standard Questions, visit this link.
What are some things people say to foster parents that bother you? from fosterit
By using the tools at your disposal on both your smartphone and your computer, you can find valuable friendship and share in the wisdom of other people who understand your dedication and commitment to helping children in the foster care system.
After all, FAFS was founded by three foster parents who decided to get together. With a single post, you might be on the road to becoming an influential voice in the foster care community.
Author: Frank Alvarez, Digital Content Creator
Frank Alvarez is the Digital Media Coordinator at Foster and Adoptive Family Services.
18 thoughts on “Finding Help in the 21st Century: Foster Parent Networks”
Hello,I’m Jonathan and I have a friend who’s parents can’t raise her and she is in need of a foster family and I don’t want her going to an oprphanage.Can anyone help me find foster parents for her please I would really appreciate it.
NJ Division of Child Protection and Permanency as well as other U.S. State Child Protection Agencies are the only agencies other than police that can remove a child and place them into foster care. If a child is at risk of harm the State Child Protection Agency and/or police must be notified in order determine if the child or children need to be removed. Children are only removed from their family if abuse and/or neglect is found. If the family is NJ resident, you would have to contact NJ Child Abuse Hotline at 1-877-652-2873. All NJ residents are mandatory reporters of any suspected child abuse and/or neglect.
It is possible that if abuse and/or neglect are not occurring a family member can attempt to gain custody of the child or children. Anyone can go to family court in an attempt to gain custody of a child; however this occurs privately and not through a Child Protection Agency.
There are different scenarios pending the families situation. Due to this, we will be reaching out to you to further address your question.
Im looking foster parents for my kids needs cant u help me
Thank you for reaching out to Foster and Adoptive Family Services (FAFS). FAFS is a non-profit that provides services to resource (foster), adoptive and kinship families that reside in New Jersey.
We received your response to our blog requesting assistance locating a foster parent for your children. Unfortunately, FAFS does not place children into care. Rather, New Jersey Division of Child Protection and Permanency handles all children in care or if you are not in New Jersey it would be your states Child Protection Agency you would need to contact.
If you are a New Jersey resident, please contact NJ Child Abuse Hotline at 1-877-652-2873 for further assistance.
my child that’s on my case load need a foster home she 18 she in a bad cause she blow out her placement do to her RAD she is in a treatment center called cleo wallce in Westminster Colorado I really don’t want her at a homeless shelter in august she is graduating in 5 days may 15th we need help if any in the state of Colorado that are foster parents or work in a group home we need her out by august 17th pleas ewe need some miracles for her she needs a caring foster parent who wont give up on her easily please I need a responds by next week
I would like to find a foster family to continue my studies. I’m 21 years old and if someone hoping to help my studies that would be nice. Coz I stopped school when I was 18 coz my parents don’t have money to send me to a school. I really love to go to a university in USA or UK. But I can’t achieve that goal because of the financial problems.
If anyone could help me to come their country and help m to continue my studies that would be nice.
Unfortunately, our services are only for eligible resource parents and children in care in the state of New Jersey. In order to qualify for assistance from our organization as a child in care, you must be a New Jersey resident under the age of 18.
Foster & Adoptive Family Services
Digital Content Creator
Can you find me a foster parent?
If you are a child who is being abused, please contact 1.877.NJ.ABUSE (1.877.652.2873) immediately.
If you are an adult foster parent looking to network with other foster parents, please refer to the main article, located directly above this comment section.
Foster & Adoptive Family Services
Digital Content Creator
i am 16. i have been in care when i was 2 got out and was placed back in at 12 for sexual abuse. i really want to be adopted but my social worker says nobody wants a 16 year old teen.
In order for us to help you, we’ll need to know where you are so we can forward the information to our Support Services department. Please DO NOT post any personal information on this website – instead, contact us at email@example.com with your name, state and town and we’ll see what we can do to help.
Digital Content Creator
Im single mother with 1 child she is 3yo now please help me to.find foster parent my child.im from Philippines. than.k u and.God bless
Hello Gemma, here are some following contacts that you can reach out to in regards to inquiring about foster and adoptive care within the Philippines.
•*Child Protection Program: https://doj.gov.ph/child-protection-program.html
o Department of Social Welfare & Development or to the Child Health and Intervention and Protective Service (CHIPS) (Tel. No. 734-4216)
o DOJ Task Force on Child Protection, (Tel. Nos. 523-8481 to 89) or contact the nearest Provincial, City or Regional Prosecutor
•*DSDW (Department of Social Welfare and Development): https://adoption.dswd.gov.ph/ (email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
•CRIBS Foundation Inc.: http://www.cribsfoundation.com/index.php/programs-and-campaigns/13-foster-care
•NORFIL Foundation Inc.: http://www.norfil.org/programs/foster-care.html
•Kaisahang Buhay Foundation: https://www.kbf.ph/services/ (Phone number: (+63) 912-1160)
Support Services Manager
I am a 20 year old Zimbabwean female seeking for a foster parent in Europe .I hope I will be responded favorably .
Hi I’m a 17 years old teen and my parents are struggling to get me to school and barely survive a daily living due to financial problems I am looking for a loving poster parents. I’m from the Philippines
someone I know who is 14 is in need of a new foster home. He’s already in the system and has been for about 3 years. He is not at all happy with the home that he is at right now. But he cannot find anyone who would be willing to take him because he is a teenager. How can I help him find someone who will take him?
Thanks for sharing this informative article about fostering and encourage readers who’re interested to joining fostering as a career.