Giving Tuesday

February 23rd

#GivingTuesday is Tuesday, November 28. Find out more about this 24-hour, special opportunity to make 2X impact, click here.

Stories

1

Foster Friday: Building a Community of Support for Foster Families

Families face challenges. That’s a universal and unavoidable truth. It’s also why a healthy support system is vital to all families, especially those in need of extra love and support — like foster families. In fact, research shows that parents who foster for an extended period have a community standing alongside them.

 

Babysitters are often an essential part of the fostering community. In addition to the usual scheduling, chauffeuring, and shuffling required to raise children, foster parents often have additional responsibilities like extra doctor’s appointments, therapy, home visits, and court hearings. Burnout is a real possibility without babysitters offering to step in to give parents a much-needed break. As one amazing foster mom told us, “The energy to keep doing hard things is dependent on maintaining connections with my spouse and friends and participating in self-care.”

 

Unlike most families, foster families can’t just reach out to the high school student down the street when they need a babysitter for date night. Child care providers for foster families must complete a certified background check. This added step can often make finding appropriate child care difficult for foster families.

 

Becoming a certified child care provider is one of the most beneficial ways you can provide support to foster families as they embark on this rewarding, but exhausting, journey. Did you know that there are four different types of care you can provide for foster families? Each kind is characterized by the length and frequency of the care provided. Requirements can vary between foster placing agencies. The information below is based on the requirements of Upbring Foster In Texas.

 

Babysitting is short-term childcare which infrequently occurs and is under 12 consecutive hours. Babysitting is perfect for a date night, company outing or other adults-only events.

 

Overnight Care is temporary care provided for a child in foster care by someone other than the foster parents with whom the child is placed for more than 12 consecutive hours, but no more than 72 straight hours.

 

Long-term Respite Care providers can be used for longer-term placements and are defined as infrequent but planned round-the-clock caregivers who can be with the child for more than 72 consecutive hours and no more than 14 days with the intention to provide relief to the foster parents.

 

Regular Alternate Care is care provided for the child (such as by other adult household members or a daycare provider) at least four hours a day, three or more times a week and for more than nine consecutive weeks when the foster parent is not available. Regular Alternate Care is ideal for parents who work full time and need daily childcare for the children in their care.

 

Providing childcare for foster families in your community is a generous way to support those who have opened their homes to children in need. And, if you’re considering becoming a foster parent yourself, but aren’t sure if you’re ready to take the step, providing childcare gives you the opportunity to become familiar with the fostering process, the resources available and to see firsthand the difference you could make in a child’s life.

 

If you’d like to begin providing childcare for a foster family you know in your community, the best place to start is to simply ask! If a good fit, the foster parents can provide you with information on how to submit your background check or receive training through their foster agency. If you do not know a foster family and would still like to help or just learn more, please contact [email protected] and one of our knowledgeable Foster In Texas team members will be happy to give you more information.

 

There are also one-day trainings available in which you can receive your certification to babysit for multiple agencies at once. Age requirements for providing childcare for foster families vary by agency and type of care provided. Please check with your local certification program to learn more about specific requirements.

 

Fostering takes a village, and your compassion and generosity makes an enormous impact on the lives of those served through agencies like Upbring. Together, we’re working toward our mission of ending the cycle of child abuse by empowering children, families and communities.

 

If you’re interested in becoming a foster parent yourself, we’d love to hear from you! Visit Upbring.org/FosterInfo to submit our Foster Inquiry Form.

0

Foster Friday: Understanding Childhood Trauma

Traumatic experiences can have a long-lasting impact, especially on children. Children process trauma in countless ways. Some shut down while others act out. Some may openly talk about their emotions while others may bottle it up. There’s no rule book on how children should process a wide range of complicated emotions that follow dangerous or threatening circumstances. When deciding whether opening your home to a child who has experienced intense trauma, you might wonder how a decision like this could impact your life.

Read More

0

3 Impactful Ways for Foster Families to Form Authentic Relationships

Authentic relationships are a key factor in ensuring children in foster care are given the emotional support needed to heal from the significant trauma they’ve often experienced. As a foster parent, you’re given the opportunity to serve as a mentor, guide and advocate for the children in your care. We’ve developed three recommendations to help you engage children that have come into your care after spending time in an institutional setting like a hospital or treatment center:

Read More

0

5 Common Questions Asked About Foster Care

Becoming a foster parent is truly a life-changing decision. Considering whether to open your home and heart to children who have experienced hurt and trauma will likely leave you with some unanswered questions. At Upbring, we want you to feel comfortable asking whatever comes to mind. We are here to address any uncertainties you may have during your foster care journey.

Sometimes there are so many questions, you might not know where to start. We’ve found that it’s best to begin with the basics.  Here are answers to some common questions asked by people who are just beginning to learn about the foster care system.

Read More

0

Foster Friday: What do I really need to foster?

Make no mistake about it, becoming a foster parent is a big step and isn’t always a decision one makes quickly. After all, it is no simple task to open your heart and home to a child you’ve never met and has no trace of your DNA.

There are thousands of extraordinary children across Texas who need a safe home with adults who will encourage their dreams, remind them of their importance and give them a chance to simply be a kid. Before you count yourself out of the running, let’s talk about six things you DON’T need to become a foster parent:

Read More

0

9 Steps to Become a Foster Parent in Texas

Wondering how to become a foster parent in Texas? Foster In Texas (FIT) works with the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) to find loving families for thousands of children each year. We know that getting started as a new foster parent may seem overwhelming, so we’ve simplified the process into nine steps.

Read More

1

8 Last-Minute DIY Halloween Costumes

Fall is a busy time in households across the U.S. with school, extracurricular activities and the holiday season in full swing. Between navigating homework assignments and driving to soccer practice, meal planning and bedtime, some like-to-do list items are bound to fall through the cracks – like finding the perfect Halloween costumes for your family that won’t break the bank!

Halloween is a fun time for children to create lasting memories as they use their imaginations to become a fairy, a dragon or even a superhero! Invite your children to join you as you find creative ways to put together costumes from items easily found around the house or at the dollar store. Below you’ll find 8 DIY costumes that are sure to bring a smile to their faces:

 

1. An Emoji

Emojis are everywhere, from movies to pajamas! Cut a giant circle out of yellow poster board and have your child use markers to draw his or her favorite emoji face. Punch two holes at the top, attach string to both sides so they can wear it like a really big necklace and you’re ready to go!

 

2. A Train

Grab some empty boxes and help your children paint them to look like the engine of a train. You can use paper plates or leftover cardboard to create wheels and a battery-operated light to complete the look. Use string or rope to create two straps and you’re ready to send your children chugging along!

 

3. A Minion

Paint two paper plates to look like eyes, glue them onto a headband and dress your child in a yellow shirt for a look that’s sure to bring joy and laughs.

 

4. Salt and Pepper

If you’re taking two children trick-or-treating this year, grab a black t-shirt and a white t-shirt and use paint pens to draw an “S” on one and a “P” on the other. For an added bonus, you can make a shaker “lid” hat out of tin foil.

 

5. A Bunch of Grapes

Blow up purple balloons and glue or tape them to a black or green t-shirt. Just be careful not to sit down!

 

6. A Lego

Cut head and arm holes into a large cardboard box and attach paper bowls with glue for the “pegs” – then paint the whole thing your child’s favorite color. If you’re taking multiple children trick-or-treating, you can make a Lego in each color and have them “stick” together!

 

7. A Ghost

For a unique take on the classic “sheet ghost costume,” use layers of tulle (and ribbon to keep it together) to make a fluffy, spooky spirit! Use construction paper to make eyes and glue them to the tulle to complete the look.

 

8. A Donut

Glue construction paper sprinkles onto a round pool float for a simple and fun costume.

 

With a blank t-shirt or a cardboard box, the Halloween costume opportunities are endless. And spending time creating, making a mess, and maybe even a mistake or two will create memories that will keep your family smiling.

 

What are some of your favorite costumes from childhood? Let us know in the comments! Happy Halloween!

 

 

0

Dr. DeGarmo’s Classroom Tips

Education is one of five key markers of every child’s success. Sadly, only 50 percent of children in foster care graduate high school, and a mere 3 percent earn a college degree.

As a doctor in education, former teacher and longtime foster parent, Dr. John DeGarmo, director of The Foster Care Institute, knows that the trauma associated with abuse and neglect compromises children’s classroom success. He also knows foster parents can serve as powerful advocates for the children in their care, ensuring they get the best education possible.

As a primer for this week’s free Foster from the Heart conference, Dr. DeGarmo offers these five tips foster parents can follow to help their children build brighter futures through education.

 

Build positive relationships with school staff

It is essential that you remain up-to-date on your child’s progress, academically and behaviorally. Nowadays, there are so many ways to stay in touch, including phone calls, text messages, email, Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms. Make sure counselors, teachers and administrators know they can always contact you to discuss your child’s education. Similarly, reach out to them and ask for as much information and as many updates as possible.

Advocate for your child

The more interested and involved you are in your child’s academic life, the more likely they are to thrive. Consider volunteering as a classroom assistant, playground monitor or field trip chaperone. Or, perhaps you could leverage your talents by leading an art project, building theatrical production sets or speaking during career day.

At home, help your child complete their homework and study for tests

Remember that children in foster care, like all children, can never read too much. Take time every day to read to younger children or listen to older children read to you from a book they choose. Quite simply, be an advocate for your child’s education.

Encourage participation outside the classroom

You can help foster your child’s growth by encouraging her to participate in activities outside the classroom such as sports, music and clubs. Studies show that children who participate in extracurricular activities make better grades, maintain more positive attitudes toward school and aspire to greater academic heights. In addition, your child will have the opportunity to build self-esteem, make friends, discover new interests and develop life skills such as teamwork and time management.

Set goals, celebrate success

School work typically does not come easily for children in foster care, who tend to perform below grade-level behaviorally and academically, particularly in math and reading. Work with your child’s teachers to identify accommodations that need to be made and to set realistic goals for your child. In addition, talk to your child about setting their own goals. Perhaps most importantly, celebrate every success, no matter how small.

 

You’re invited!

Upbring invites you to meet Dr. DeGarmo and hear more about his experiences during the Foster from the Heart Conference in San Antonio on October 20. The conference is open to foster and adoptive parents, social workers, counselors, child protection staff, educators and anyone else interested in child welfare. Limited seats for the free event are still available, so register today. We hope to see you there!