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What Is a Cover Story and How Can It Help Foster Children?

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Question: What Is a Cover Story and How Can It Help Foster Children?
Sometimes foster children share too much information or are asked very personal questions by other children, and sometime adults. It is our job as foster parents to teach our foster children how to answer these difficult questions or come up with answers before the questions are even asked. One way to do that is through the use of a cover story.
Answer:

Cover Stories are just that - stories to provide cover or protection. Using cover stories is not about telling lies, it's about keeping information private that could be used to tease and harass. By doing so we are trying to create the best possible environment for our foster children.

  • Some foster children choose to refer to their foster parents as "mom and dad" while at school, even if they don't call their foster parents "mom and dad" at home. Another option is referring to their foster parents as "aunt or uncle." This works for some kids, but if they move into a well-known foster home, the kids at school will catch on quickly.
  • If your foster child's birth parent(s) is/are in prison, teach your child to say, "My mom/dad is unable to come to visits right now." or "My mom/dad is out of town and I can't wait to see him/her again." As long as your child understands the truth there is no harm in keeping these facts within your foster family and within the case.
  • Teach your foster children to be choosy in who they do share information with. Friends are important, especially with older children. Let your children know that if he/she does choose to share more personal information with people to make sure that they know this person well and have established a friendship over a period of time.
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