All states in the United States, as well as most countries require single people or couples interested in becoming foster parents, or those interested in adopting from foster care, to attend training or parenting classes. This is the case even if you are already an experienced parent, teacher, social worker, or day care provider.
Why are these classes important? What can one expect from these classes? What is the purpose of spending several hours in training? Isn't the desire to want to help kids enough?
Many people ask these very questions. Here are several reasons that explain the purpose of these classes from the stand point of the prospective parents, the leaders who train the courses, and the agencies that sponsor the homes attending the classes.
Parenting classes for prospective foster and adoptive parents help parents...
...learn about the children in the foster care system.
...learn how abuse and neglect may impact a child's behavior.
...learn how to help a child deal with grief and loss.
...learn discipline techniques that are appropriate for children who have experienced abuse and neglect as corporal punishment is not allowed.
...learn how to work with birth parents and how to partner with them to help their children return to a safe and loving home.
...learn a bit about the court system and the processes involved.
...learn how to work with social workers and be a part of a case plan team.
...explore their initial motivations for taking the classes.
...make informed, educated decisions on which path is best for them and their family; if they want to continue towards licensing in order to foster or adopt a child. Some families change their minds from wanting to adopt to wanting to provide foster care or vice versa. Other families simply decide that parenting children in foster care is not for their family at this time and seek other ways to reach out to youth in the community.
Parenting classes help leaders teaching the classes to...
...determine if a family is stable and can provide care and guidance to a child within the system and meet the minimal requirements of a foster parent.
...determine if a family's home meets state or regional regulations for safety and cleanliness.
...determine if a family's income is sufficient enough to meet minimum standards.
...determine if the family is secure emotionally and if the relationships within the home are strong. This includes between the adults in the home as well as with the children.
...determine if the family is able to work with a team to help a child return home or to embrace a child that is not biologically their own.
...determine if a family is ready to handle the challenges associated with parenting children from the foster care system.
...write recommendations to the sponsoring agency based on what they learned about each family in the class during the trainings. The recommendations or summaries state if the leaders believe that a family is ready to pursue licensing as foster parents or ready to adopt a child from foster care.
Parenting classes help sponsoring agencies to...
...know how to help each family do their best work as foster or adoptive parents bases on the written recommendations.
...learn which children would best match with each family, whether in a foster or adoptive setting.
...determine which families are ready to license as foster parents.
...determine which families are ready to adopt a child from foster care.
...determine which families should seek to help children through other service or community programs.