There are a multitude of resources for new foster parents out there. On this page, I discuss some of my favorites that I’ve relied on over the past years- both in my professional life as well as when I was starting the process of becoming a foster parent.
Foster Parenting Books
These books range from fiction, to anthologies, to just general parenting information. No matter the genre, I love them all and I’m glad to share them with you!
- The Body Keeps the Score: I was sent a YouTube video of the first portion of this book and spent the next 16 hours listening intently. Apparently, this is like the book on trauma. Even though some of the information is slightly outdated, I thought The Body Keeps the Score was a great introduction to trauma. The book also does a good job of explaining various treatments for patients suffering from extreme traumatic events. While not specific to foster youth, many of the examples given are experiences that children in foster care have experienced.
- Three Little Words: This autobiography paints a very detailed account of one girl’s experience in 14 foster homes. I thought Three Little Words was well written and explained what foster care can be like for real life kids. There is a sequel to the book, but I have not read it yet.
- The Invisible String: The facilitator recommended this book in my foster parent training classes and it‘s a great book for kids dealing with separation or loss. The Invisible String seems especially helpful for kids in foster care who still have connections with family members and navigating those connections.
- The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: We read portions of this book for my graduate school program. While this book isn’t necessarily foster care specific, it makes the readers consider different aspects of the child welfare system. The point of this book is to make you consider whether the actions by the immigrant parents are considered to be neglectful or part of the culture- and I feel like the author definitely accomplished this goal!
- The Explosive Child: Another book that is not specific to foster children’s experiences, but can be helpful is the Explosive Child by Dr. Ross Greene. This was a book recommended to me by the assistant principal at my school and I found it extremely valuable!
Television & Movies
Here are a few of my favorites movies or series about foster parenting:
- Instant Family: This is probably the most popular and well-known movie about foster parenting. Instant Family has an all-star cast including Mark Wahlberg, Octavia Spencer and Joan Cusack. For me, the plot was pretty predictable but easy to follow. The movie brings up a variety of issues faced by foster parents, children in foster care and their families. It’s a good starter movie to watch or share with family members who may not understand the choice to become a foster parent.
- The F Word: This is a short docuseries that follows a couple on their journey from fostering to adopting. There are currently 2 seasons and the series has won multiple awards. The F Word is very informative while maintaining sharp comedic clips from each of the individuals in the couple.
- The Fosters: The Fosters is produced by Jennifer Lopez, so obviously it’s one of my favorites! Similarly to Instant Family, The Fosters is a pretty simplistic storyline discussing various issues faced by children in foster care and their families.
There are quite a few podcasts out there about parenting in general, and even a good amount about fostering. However, I think my all time favorite is Instant Mom. Instant Mom is a single foster mom, so I can relate to her experiences and she keeps it pretty “real” and basic.
I also follow a foster mom on Instagram who has a podcast as well. I haven’t listened to too many Two Attached episodes, but so far I have really enjoyed it.
Facebook is the major “marketplace” for states’ Heart Galleries. Heart Galleries are state specific websites designed to highlight some children who are looking for an adoptive home. Here’s Colorado’s Heart Gallery facebook page.
There seems to be a limited presence of foster parents on YouTube. One foster family that I sort of stumbled upon (thank you TikTok For You Page…) is From the Fosters. Similar to Instant Mom, I like From the Fosters because they are “foster parents in real life”- which just happens to be their tag line.
Speaking of TikTok, I also really like Laura, Foster Parent Partner (this is her Instagram, but I follow her on TikTok too). I appreciate her practical videos that help give some scripts or ideas around what to say or do especially for first-time foster parents.
Web Resources for New Foster Parents
There are so many websites out there about foster parenting. However, I’ve struggled to find websites that are useful resources for me as a new foster parent.
The best information I’ve found that is helpful to my journey as a foster parent came from my city/county website. You can find most answers there about your local rules and regulations. And you can sign up to learn more about fostering right there! How convenient!
Specialized Resources for Various Topics
Depending on the type of foster child in your home, different resources may be more helpful due to some of the common issues that arise. Check out these upcoming posts for the following topics:
- Resources for Unaccompanied Refugee Minor foster parents
- Resources for in-depth information on trauma
- Resources for data tracking (such as life books or progress monitoring)
- Resources for kids with special needs or disabilities
Other Resources For New Foster Parents
Now that I’ve listed some of my favorite books, podcasts and social media sites, let’s talk about some of the other resources for new foster parents out there.
- Love & Logic: The Love and Logic curriculum is quite literally the gold standard in parenting tools. Love and Logic does not just target foster parent issues specifically. The Love and Logic: Trauma Informed Care curriculum discusses parenting issues relevant to foster and adoptive parents.
- ADCO Foster Parent Mentorship Program: This is a “hot off the presses” new resource for foster parents. Adams County (in Colorado) just introduced a new program for foster care mentorship. Below is their poster that talks about the services the program provides.
- Foster Source: I just found out recently about Foster Source. It is located in the northern suburbs of Denver, so the resources they provide are generally local to that area. Foster Source is an AMAZING resource for Colorado families- I cannot speak highly enough about them. Here are some of the resources they provide:
- Clothing/ food/ diapers other basic needs resources
- Access to free therapy services
- Free sensory items (when available)
- Equine assisted therapy training for the parents
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