Before you become a foster parent in Iowa, you're required to take a 30-hour series of classes over 10 weeks called PS-MAPP. It stands for Partnering for Safety and Permanency - a Model Approach to Partnerships in Parenting. Or in simpler words, a class to prepare you for foster or adoptive parenting.
30 hours, you say? That's a lot! It is a lot, but those 30 hours will prepare you to impact a child's life in a way that lasts forever. And I think that's a pretty good return on the investment of your time, don't you? :)
Here's 5 things you'll like about PS-MAPP.
1. You'll find out who the kids are. You'll learn about why children enter the foster care system and the reasons behind why they need a home, whether that's a temporary foster home or possibly a permanent home through adoption. You may even get to hear from local teens in foster care about their personal experience.
2. You'll learn why foster and adoptive parents are so special. You'll get a better understanding of what makes a foster parent or adoptive parent role so unique. For example, foster parents not only have the opportunity to change the life of a child, but they can have a profound impact on a child's parents as well by being a positive role model.
3. Class can actually be fun. We do hear from most participants that they have fun with the training. Part of that, our trainers say, is because the classes are team-taught in an interactive way with a social worker and experienced foster or adoptive parent as your leaders.
4. You'll get plenty of names for future babysitters. PS-MAPP helps you build a network of support. You'll be sharing your class experience with other individuals who probably have many of the same questions, concerns and hopes that you do. It's a great opportunity to build new friendships with other parents - parents who may someday be able to provide respite care for you as a fellow foster parent.
5. A chance to make an informed decision. PS-MAPP class is not only training for foster care, but an opportunity to give you all the information you need to decide if foster care or adoption is right for your family. No matter what you decide, it should be a worthwhile experience. You'll have learned a lot of valuable information about yourself and your family that will be useful no matter what you do going forward.
Here's what a few families have said about PS-MAPP class:
"It's eye-opening and helps prepare you."
"It will change your perception of fostering and adoption."
"The time is worth the knowledge gained."
"The information learned can be used in many life situations."
"It helps you build relationships with other parents."
"A must-do if you want to be an effective and positive foster parent."
Are you ready to be a foster parent? Take a self-assessment, and find out.
What do you think about PS-MAPP? How did it help prepare you for foster parenting? Or, what kinds of things would you want to learn about foster parenting in your classes?