Foster parenting can be both rewarding and challenging. That is why foster families need as many tools at their disposal as possible as well as the support of friends, families, and community. While your local and state Family and Children’s Services are a wealth of training and information, there are plenty of other great resources to tap into. Here’s a look at just a few:
The Child Welfare Information Gateway
The CWIG has a wealth of information for foster care providers and is endorsed by The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, and the Children’s Bureau. It provides general training in various formats and topic-specific education (for example, ADHD).
Foster Parent College
The FPC offers online training 24/7 for foster parents, caregivers, and teachers. It describes its content as “nationally recognized training, multimedia learning, and taught by experts.” The college is endorsed by the National Foster Parent Association, Foster Family-Based Treatment Association, The Canadian Foster Family Association, and The California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse. Its approvals include CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates), the National Adoption Center, and the National Center on Adoption and Permanency.
Foster Care and Adoptive Community
This online community is a credible website is approved for Social Worker/MFT CEU credits by several states (listed alphabetically on the FPAC’s home page) and is a source for several different online foster care parent training topics. However, if you’re seeking to earn mandatory training with DFCS, always check with your state to find out how many credits of training that each course is worth in that particular state and how much online training will count towards official training (as opposed to personal and family enrichment only). This is true for any online foster parent course.
Some tips for finding additional resources:
- Utilize word-of-mouth referrals and networking. Ask for ideas and resources at any relevant club or organization you may belong to. This can be an excellent way to find out about potential local offerings.
- Education and training is not limited to formal courses or a classroom. Research, research, research! There is so much information online (and don’t forget to check your city or county’s library) that you can browse topics specific to you and your situation at your convenience. Remember to scrutinize your sources of information as to their timeliness, relevancy (what may be true for one state may not be true for yours), existing biases (if any), and, in the case of online courses, even scams. If you’re unsure of a training package any site is selling, you can always check it against the Better Business Bureau or type it into a web search and see what comes up.
Good luck – and happy, healthy foster parenting!