When looking to send foster children back to school, I hope foster parents remember the following tips for helping their foster kids be successful this school year. I hope this is all just basic common sense to most foster parents, if not, may it be a reminder of what all kids need during the school year.
Foster Parent Tips for a Successful School Year
New school clothes and shoes. Try to send your foster children to school in clothes and shoes that the kids can be proud of owning. Don't purchase noticeably used garage sale finds or give your foster kids hand me down clothes from your neighbor's children. Sometimes other children can be cruel and foster kids have enough to battle just with the title "foster kid". So, buy the kids new stuff and send them to school with some style. Learn more about foster care subsidy and the items it should provide for your foster child.
After school activities. Your foster child benefits from after school activities too. After gaining social worker and birth parent permission, look into sports, clubs, or other activities for your foster children. This will allow them to explore different interests and will help in building up their self esteem.
Support your foster children in their activities. Attend your foster child's school programs, games, and other events. Again, invite the birth parents, if appropriate. This is another opportunity for your child to see how much you care about the things he is interested in and builds self worth at the same time.
Buy your foster child's school picture. Some foster parents have been known to refuse to spend money on their foster children's school pictures. Buy a modest package and place the pictures in their lifebooks, give some to the birth parents, and hang one on your living room wall. Nothing will make the child feel like they truly belong more than seeing their picture hanging next to other family member's pictures. This is another item that a foster care subsidy should cover.
Volunteer at your child's school. In some capacity, at least once this school year. It can be a small gesture like donate cookies to a party; or a bigger commitment, like helping out on a field trip. Your presence will help the teacher feel more comfortable speaking to you about any concerns she may have about your foster child and you can observe how your foster child interact with peers. Above all, you will validate your love and concern for the child when he sees you caring about him by just being there.
Go to your foster child's school conferences. Don’t forget to Invite the birth parents, if appropriate. You will be able to role model to the birth parent the proper way to ask questions and advocate for their child.
Advocate for your foster child's educational needs. You are the expert on that child while he is in your home. If, for example, visitation during the school day is not working out, then report that to the child's social worker. Advocate!
Remember your foster child's confidentiality even at school. The teacher does not need to know every aspect of the child's case or the birth parent's issues. Ask yourself, is this important to the child's education and safety or am I just gossiping. If you're unsure about what to share, ask your child's social worker.
I'm sure there are more ways to help build up a child's self esteem this school year. If you have an idea, stop by the blog posting about this topic and add your thoughts.