Friday, June 25, 2010

Happy Friday, and Four New Campaign Photos!

Happy Friday afternoon everyone!

Today we posted some of the photos from the "I Did It" foster parent recruitment campaign on our website. Check out the terrific photos of Brandy, Christina, Sunshine and Linda, as well as their reasons for why they decided to become foster parents:

Christina - "I did it because I could. I knew my husband and I could be thoughtful, compassionate and supportive parents. We knew we could provide a loving and nurturing home to a child who needed one."

Brandy - "I did it because I've been in their shoes. In junior high and high school I was in foster care for six years. My foster family had such a positive impact on my life - it made me want to become a foster parent."

Sunshine - "I did it because of my sister. Growing up, my sister was in foster care. When she later became a foster parent, she inspired my husband and me to think, Hey, we can do this. Now we help sisters stick together by fostering sibling groups and other Iowa kids."

Linda - "I did it because two kids in my church needed a home. When two girls we knew were placed in a shelter, we thought we could just drive over and pick them up. We ended up becoming licensed foster parents to take care of them. Twenty years later we're still fostering."

Thanks foster parents for all you do, and the many powerful reasons behind it. If you're thinking about doing foster care, tell us - what would be your reason? We'd love to hear.

Have a good weekend! If you're looking for something fun to do this weekend, head to our Facebook page - people have been posting some great suggestions!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

5 Things to Know About Matching Calls

Wondering why you haven't received a call for a foster placement in awhile? We hear that question from foster families every now and then, so here's a few things to consider if you've been in that boat.

1. Talk to your support specialist. A good first step is to always let your support specialist know your questions. He or she can talk to you about what's going on in your local area, what the needs are in your community and make sure all your information is correct and updated.

2. Remember it's about the best possible match. When a child enters foster care, we're looking to find the best possible family to meet that child's specfic needs. Maybe the child has a pet allergy. Maybe she has past trauma that makes her uncomfortable with a male parent. Maybe there are several siblings who need to stay together if possible.

It's also important for a child's stability to keep them in the same school district if possible and close to their birth family for visits, since reunification is the ultimate goal. By having a large pool of available foster families, there's a better chance we'll find a great match for that child or sibling group. The Department of Human Services then makes the final decision where to place a child.

3. Give us a call after a child leaves your home. When a child leaves your home, Iowa KidsNet doesn't receive instant notification of that discharge. If you give us a call and let us know, then we'll know your home has space for another child sooner rather than later.

3. Do respite care. Doing respite care for other foster families is a great foster parenting opportunity. It will also help you build your network of support with other foster families in your area. Then, when you do have a child in your home, they could provide respite care for you!

4. Think about your family profile. You may eventually want to take a look at your family's preferences. Are the children coming into care in your area the kinds of children you would be willing to care for? If not, you may want to examine if you could be a great match for other groups of kids. We know our families put careful consideration into what their family strengths are during PS-MAPP training, so do some homework first if you're thinking about making a change. For example, if you're thinking about fostering teens, talk to other families who foster older youth and ask your support specialist for advice. You could do respite care for a teen.

5. Take advantage of training. The Iowa Foster and Adoptive Parents Association (IFAPA) offers many great and free trainings to foster and adoptive parents. Take advantage and build your foster parenting skills so you'll be ready for the next child you welcome to your home!

Iowa's lucky to have many great foster families across the state. Thanks for all you do, and being willing to step up for kids who need safe and nurturing homes!

Does anyone have questions about our matching process?