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Fostering Through the Toughness

I am a foster parent. I was given all the training and tools my brain could absorb about development, trauma, how to build relationships, how to repair relationships, ways to manage difficult behavior, and tips for self-care. I love to learn, and I love putting new information into practice. I feel like I parent well. And yet on the toughest of days, there are times I wonder, “What are we doing? Are we even helping?” and, “What if nothing works?”
A parent comforting their teenager child.

Recognizing Depression and Anxiety in Kids

As a parent or caregiver, you anticipate and meet your child’s physical needs, such as hunger or tiredness, and are attuned to their mental and emotional needs. You can guess when your child feels sad, angry, anxious, or depressed. You can help identify why they are feeling this way. But how do you know when your child’s feelings won’t pass, and what meaningful actions can you take to help? 
Picture of a woman comforting a child who is sitting on a couch.

The Nurturer vs. the Buddy

The struggle I see most in this caregiver/youth relationship is the desire to become the “Buddy.” The Nurturer helps with the behaviors that arise along the way so they can continue moving forward with the day or task at hand. However, the Nurturer can very easily slide into the Buddy role. When a youth enters any sort of residential facility or new foster care setting, they often don’t know how to create or maintain healthy attachments to the adults around them. It is our job as professionals and caregivers to model what a safe adult relationship looks like. 
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Reminder: Healing Isn't Linear

We fill up with sunshine when we see victory in our children’s lives, and the moment we start to let our shoulders drop in relaxation, another storm comes seemingly out of nowhere. But that does not mean healing isn’t happening. It means that it is layered and multifaceted and complex. It means that trauma goes deep, and so must healing.
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Reframing Substance Use Disorder

With the passing of May as Mental Health Awareness Month, it is the perfect time to appreciate the tremendous gains we’ve made in understanding, accepting, and managing mental health issues. No longer viewed as character flaws or weaknesses, mental illness has steadily moved from the shadows of shame and doubt into a routine practice of chronic illness management. In keeping with this theme, we must recognize a lingering hurdle in the quest for effective mental health services. Substance use disorder (SUD), often referred to as “addiction,” remains poorly understood, harshly judged, and seriously undertreated.
Picture of a foster parent with a teenager.

8 Reasons to Foster Teens

A common misconception of teenagers in foster care is they did something bad or wrong to end up there, but many teens end up in foster care at no fault of their own. Just like any other age group, teens in foster care want a secure, loving family. There are several benefits of becoming a foster parent that are unique to this age group. 
Picture of a parent and a child sitting on swings, having a conversation.

Conversation Starter Pack: “Are We Ready to Be a Foster Family?”

If you have a family of your own and are inquiring to be a foster family, conversations with your partner and children are crucial. Below are some of the topics our foster parents discussed with their families and children before deciding to start their foster care journey.  
Picture of a foster family sitting down eating dinner together.

A Beginner's Guide to Foster Care

Foster care is a term many families use with pride, providing support and guidance for many children and teens in our communities. Fostering is the opportunity to encourage growth, healing, and healthy relationships in hopes families will reach their full potential. As common as the term “care” is, it can be hard to achieve for many families.
Picture of a teenager foster child adjusting to his new living arrangement.

Tips for the First Day as a Foster Family

As foster parents, the worries arise as they are preparing a room for the new child they received a brief description of. They ask themselves: how do we ensure they feel supported; what resources will they need on days like this; how can we ease the stress they might feel; how do we create a welcoming environment and create a positive transition? 
Artwork of a woman on a ladder, looking out to the sun.

Fixed or Growth Mindset – Which Type of Family Are You?

A fixed mindset often focuses solely on the end result. A growth mindset focuses on the journey and the effort put in, and not on the end result itself. Neither of these are wrong nor bad, as encouraging your child is always a great thing to do. However, by parenting from a growth mindset, you instill the idea of resilience and learning to achieve goals. So, how can you move your family from a fixed to a growth mindset?