So, You Want to Be a Foster Parent

Becoming a foster parent can be an incredibly rewarding experience but can also be very challenging, especially for first-time parents. There are many potential emotional issues that may surprise foster parents, who may feel overwhelmed and have a sense of insufficient support from the community. But people who choose to become foster parents are performing wonderful deeds, and the library offers many means of support for them. Below are some of the resources we have available.

Salem Church Branch offers classes on foster parenting on the second Tuesdays of each month. “Learn About Becoming a Foster Parent” classes are presented by Embrace Foster Care, an organization that supports foster care children and their parents with 24-hour on-call availability, intuitive training, and team decision-making with caseworkers. Each of these classes runs an hour and a half and provides prospective foster parents with a wealth of information on the responsibilities, challenges, and benefits of becoming a foster parent.

Our local foster organizations are continuing to offer aid and support, even in difficult times such as these. Due to the quarantine, Embrace Foster Care's information sessions will be online on May 12 and June 9, 2020. In addition, the Adoption and Foster Parent Resource Fair has been rescheduled to Tuesday, November 10, 6:00-7:30, at Salem Church Branch. While you're waiting for this event, you can use our online Universal Class for Positive Parenting Techniques that will help you learn how to facilitate easier day-to-day interactions with young children, understand how children process and manage their emotions, and develop their sense of self through their interaction with the world around them.

We also have many books available at the library on foster care and how to be a successful foster parent. The Connected Child offers advice on how to incorporate foster children into an already existing family unit and build trust with them. The Foster Parenting Toolbox has advice from caseworkers, curriculum creators, and experienced foster parents on how to deal with the potentially difficult situations that may arise in the course of being a foster parent.  

To the End of June is a look at the weaknesses and failures of the U.S. foster care system. It tells how foster parents can find success in spite of these deficiencies and details the push for changes within the system. The Foster Parenting Manual provides an explanation of how the foster care system currently functions, the history of foster care in the U.S., and how foster parents can better work with the caseworkers and birth parents. A Guidebook for Raising Foster Children offers practical suggestions compiled from many foster parents, including how to prioritize issues and when to seek professional help.

Many local organizations exist to help foster parents on their journeys. Play Therapy Essentials offers multiple types of therapy to families, has a registered play therapist on staff, and offers EMDR therapy for issues relating to trauma and panic. Embrace Treatment Foster Care provides specialized foster home treatments for children who have been removed from their homes for unforeseen circumstances. Barker Adoption Foundation is a comprehensive adoption center that offers domestic older child adoption from foster care, domestic infant adoption, international adoption, and life-long post adoption services. Spotsylvania County's Department of Social Services has a program that recruits, trains, and supports foster/adoptive families that is run by Marilyn Gressett. She can be contacted at 540-507-7817.

We have many books and resources available at the library for foster parents at any stage of their journey. You can also use the links available from the National Foster Parent Association if you need additional materials. Remember that as a foster parent you are not alone, and Central Rappahannock Regional Library will strive to find all the resources it can to support you. 

Foster care is most frequently administered through local social services offices. Click the name of each jurisdiction for its contact point: Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, Stafford, and Westmoreland County.

Here is a list of books that people considering becoming foster parents may find helpful:

CRRL Picks: Becoming a Foster Parent

So many local children need foster parents. If you are considering adding to your family in this way, these books may help.

Offers advice on how to incorporate foster children into an already existing family unit and build trust with them.

Details how foster parents and children relate to each other through the biographical experiences of a family that chose to begin fostering a child as a toddler.

When Charell’s grandmother falls ill, she finds herself placed in the foster care system, moving from home to home and school to school at a young age. Despite the constant parade of new challenges life as a foster child brings, Charell decides to apply herself and aspire to be more than her circumstances.

Provides advice in foster parenting by explaining connection techniques and gives tips from counselors and therapists on how to heal a wounded child.

This book helps introduce young children to the idea of foster families. Also available as an eBook.

Designed to be an easy read, this book provides advice on handling both the conventional and the unpredictable aspects of foster parenting.

"Distilling many years' experience into one book, foster and adoptive parent John DeGarmo combines his own hard-won wisdom with that of fellow foster parents. He describes what to expect from the process, how to access help and support and how to ensure the best care for your child."

"...a concise guide to fostering that summarizes what to expect as a foster parent. It guides you through the different stages of a fostering relationship, including common issues encountered at each age and how to tackle them. It provides guidance on understanding the impact of trauma on your child and their behaviour, and offers tips and strategies on how to offer the best support."

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