One of the first things most foster parents will recommend to those starting out is building your support network. Most counties and agencies offer support groups, but if one doesn't exist near you - reach out to your Navigator about getting one started!
Getting connected to a support group is a great way to:
- Connect with experienced foster parents near you! Local families often have great advice, resource suggestions, or may offer mentorship if you're facing a tough situation with a youth in your home.
- Build a community that looks like the youth in your care. If you're fostering trans-racially, you may want to have other adults in your life who you can turn to for advice and resources to make sure you're supporting your child well in expressing their culture and history.
- Have some adult time! Many support groups offer childcare which is a great opportunity for you to have adult time, and for the kids in your care to spend time with children who are in a similar situation to themselves. Often groups will also provide dinner for families.
- Form lasting relationships with families who may be open to exchanging respite days or personal recommendations about community resources.
- Learn about or attend upcoming training sessions that may count toward your required licensure hours.
- Have a sounding board community to share frustrations, ideas, and successes.