Our first stop when we wanted to start the foster care process was the Dave Thomas Foundation. They mailed us information directly and they serve the entire country!
Once I was fostering, I found that I felt very isolated and the one place that really helped me was http://fosterparents.com/. They offer on-line training (different areas/states/agencies handle on going training differently, so make sure you verify it will count before you count on the hours!), and lots of information, but most importantly (to me!) they have a community! You can chat and share and get support.
Each state has it’s own organizations/communities. Do not be afraid to seek these out! Do not be afraid to ask for help! And do not be afraid to accept what they have to offer! In Arizona, it is very easy to get a bed or crib for your foster child. When we were fostering we often did not take the help, thinking that other families needed it more. And, there were likely families that were in greater need. But, us taking whatever help was offered didn’t mean that others would have gone without. It meant that we had more resources to take care of of our kiddos.
Among the options that are out there, here are some that are Arizona (even Phoenix) specific:
Arizona Friends of Foster Children, they offer reimbursement for various things–sports, bikes, some trips.
For cribs! Arizona Helping Hands
For clothing, school supplies, toys–Helen’s Hope Chest
Foster children qualify for WIC (Women, Infants & Children). WIC helps pay for formula for infants and some food staples for children up to the age of 5. I will be the first to admit that it’s a bit of a hassle to apply & use these benefits, but they also can make a huge impact on your food budget! Foster kiddos also qualify for free lunches when they are school aged.
All of our kiddos also attended Head Start. Head Start is a federal program, but it is run differently everywhere. So, it may take a little bit of work to figure out how to enroll your child. Head Start is preschool and serves kids from birth to five.
The next link I think that *every* parent needs is simply, Amazon 🙂 But, for foster and adoptive parents, there are so many resources out there. While you are deep in the trenches of parenting kids with traumatic pasts it’s hard to even breathe, let alone think about reading. But, I found so much comfort in reading books by parents who’d been down the same road! And I loved reading books to my kids about foster care and adoption.
So, here are a few books for the adults;
Beyond Consequences, Logic and Control
Transforming the Difficult Child: The Nurtured Heart Approach
I own all of these books and they have all helped!
Children’s books that I adore!
I know there are others out there, but the two above are my favorite because they deal with the ugly truth about foster care on a kiddo’s level. Many books about adopted kids are geared towards kids who were given up for adoption, not kids who came from the foster care system.
So, what did I miss? If you are a foster or adoptive parent and have a resource that a “newbie” should know about, please drop me a line and I will add to this!