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Study Shows Foster Parents' Need for More Support, Training

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

DENVER – 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.

Robert Werthwein, director of the Office of Children, Youth and Families at the Colorado Department of Human Services, says people who step up and bring children into their homes are critical to a child's success and need ongoing support.

"And that means making sure that not only that foster parents are trained in trauma-informed parenting, but also that we include foster parents in the treatment and planning for kids,” he states. “Because it's important when they interact with the children, that they understand where these kids are coming from."

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.

Denise Goodman, a child welfare consultant, says 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.

"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 stresses. “Particularly those first several days are crucial and require very committed foster parents."

The report also points to an urgent need to bring more people into the foster care system. Werthwein says other foster parents are really the best recruiters.

"There's nothing more important than giving a realistic picture of what a person is getting into if they choose to be foster parents,” he states. “There's a lot of opportunity to help kids, and a lot of opportunities to contribute to their healing process and relationship building. But, you know, there are challenges."

Information about foster parenting in Colorado is available from the Colorado State Foster Parent Association at

Eric Galatas, Public News Service - CO