Not every home is conducive for a child’s growth. Instead of providing a warm and reassuring environment, some children are abused and neglected by hostile family members. As a way to provide continuity of care to children under these kinds of home, foster care is being promoted. Foster parents play a significant role in providing a supportive and stable family for children who cannot live with their birth parents.
As a social services organization in California that provides foster care and youth development, we have identified five major competencies a foster parent must possess:
Protecting and nurturing children
Our role as foster parents is critical in helping abused and neglected children heal. Rendering foster care can be challenging, given the vulnerable nature of children in need of foster care. Thus, it is essential that we fully understand our duty to protect and nurture these children like our own.
Meeting children’s developmental needs and addressing developmental delays.
Children who experience abuse and neglect in their homes experience higher risks of development delays. Physical, cognitive, emotional, and speech delays are usual repercussions that result from domestic abuse. As foster parents, it is necessary to equip ourselves with enough skills that will help us better cater to the needs of our foster children.
Supporting relationships between children and their families.
Aside from extending temporary assistance to children under foster care, it is also important for us, foster parents, to recognize our role in reconnecting children with their biological families. As part of our children’s healing process, we must take an active role to spark a discussion that will be useful in reunifying an abused child with their families. Of course, this must be done with thorough assessment if such a step makes sense for a particular family and situation, and is beneficial to an abused child’s growth.
Connecting children to safe, nurturing relationships intended to last a lifetime.
We must think of foster care as a way to merely build a temporary and fading relationship with our children. Foster children are our children, regardless of the presence or absence of blood relations. Thus, aside from expressing initiative in correcting issues in our children’s biological homes, we must also prepare ourselves for the possibility of being a permanent family for them.
Working as a member of a professional team.
Addressing issues faced by our foster children is something we cannot accomplish successfully on our own. We must consider this task as a goal we must achieve with a team of professional care providers, adoptive parents, the community, and even the children themselves.
Do you have all five competencies to become a warm and loving foster parent? Let us know. Join us at Community Access Network, Inc., a youth development center community organization. Let us work hand in hand in bringing abused children to homes that will nurture and shower them with unconditional love and affection.