Foster care is a valuable service provided by The Children’s Aid Society who are rescued from unsafe or unstable homes. In the past, foster homes were sometimes viewed with criticism and concern, as some questioned the credentials of those appointed to care for children in need. However, in recent years the system has been improving through a series of important changes that help to better prepare, monitor, and coordinate foster families and their needs.
Applicants for foster parenting positions are carefully screened through a variety of factors. From background checks to references, foster care applicants must be carefully evaluated to ensure they can provide a safe and nurturing foster home for a child that may be struggling with numerous or very challenging problems. Counseling, workshops, support groups, and other resources are routinely provided to parents who want to take in foster kids. A college degree in social work, like the online MSW degrees offered by Rutgers, ensures that professionals working in foster care placement have the skills and tools needed to train and equip parents for this task.
A more detailed process of monitoring parents, children, and the home environment is now being developed. Without violating privacy or personal rights, the social work system is able to oversee and guide the foster parenting process to ensure everyone functions effectively within their new home. Reporting processes have been clarified and implemented to facilitate monitoring of especially challenging family structures and situations.
The communication process, which is critical for the success of any organization, continues to be updated in foster care. Foster parents can connect with social workers or the agency through cell phones, land lines, and texting as well. In many cases, social media is used as a communication device as well. Agencies issue periodic reports that keep parents aware of new developments and recommendations for dealing with common issues. Calls to the agency are often recorded, and social workers generally return calls within a short period of time.
Coordinated Problem Solving
A graduated system of problem solving encourages foster families to work within their own home to resolve conflicts when possible. Social workers, counselors, and other professionals are also available to assist or intervene if needed. Resources like books, videos, and occasional presentations with speakers continue to train and support foster parents while offering new problem-solving strategies.
Foster families can sometimes be challenging to work with, depending on their unique circumstances, and the foster care system continues to work diligently to find ways of facilitating the program on behalf of both the parents and children. In time, more changes will be able to better help these families and children in need.