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Report Offers Blueprint for Better Foster Care

A study has shown foster parents' need for more support and training. (Pixabay)
A study has shown foster parents' need for more support and training. (Pixabay)
November 21, 2016

SALT LAKE CITY – Child welfare systems need to provide foster parents with more training to care for children who have experienced instability and trauma, according to a new report by The Annie E. Casey Foundation.

Denise Goodman, a child welfare consultant, says people who step up and bring children into their homes are critical to a child's success and need ongoing support.

She adds that foster parents are typically closest to the child, so their perspective is especially valuable.

"Foster parents want to be involved in the child's case planning, in the treatment planning for the child, in their school, in their health and mental health processes,” she states. “But oftentimes those systems push foster parents out."

The report found that in systems with sufficient training and tools, child welfare agencies have improved outcomes for children and created rewarding experiences for foster parents.

The report also points to an urgent need to bring more people into the foster care system.

Goodman says it's important to give people a realistic picture of what to expect, and while there are a lot of opportunities to help children, there are also challenges.

Goodman adds children's behavior coming into foster care is sometimes unpredictable because they've often experienced trauma and can be frightened, angry, confused and sometimes in shock after being removed from their homes.

She says foster parents need to be seen as critical partners helping children heal.

"A family that they've never met before has to have the skills and abilities to engage a child who they don't know, who's likely to be experiencing a very difficult time," she points out. "Particularly those first several days are crucial and require very committed foster parents."

Information about foster parenting in Utah is available from Utah Foster Care at utahfostercare.org.


Eric Galatas, Public News Service - UT