Foster Parent Training

In many aspects of life, training is essential if one wants to be good at a particular task.  Professional athletes are only successful after a life time of 
training.  Future school teachers while in college have a period of time in which they spend in the classroom, gaining valuable experience in a real 
life setting.  Musicians spend hours a day practicing, training in hopes of becoming the best they can be.  For foster parenting, training is a valuable 
time to learn the skills one  will surely need later on when caring for children in need.  To be sure, one never knows when a skill learned in training 
might be valuable later on.  Much like the high school student who complains that the math class is not important, only to find it important, indeed, 
when trying to balance a check book, pay bills, and manage finances; foster parent training will go a long way in helping a foster parent prepare for 
the many challenges that will surely await in the ever changing world of foster parenting.

Making the decision to being a foster parent is a difficult one.  It takes incredible commitment, unconditional love, and patience.  In truth, it is a 
decision that is not to be taken lightly, and one that must take a great deal of thought, discussion, and consideration.  Foster parents the nation over 
will inform you that being a foster parent is both a rewarding and an exhausting job; one that will involve the entire family. Like any job worth doing, it 
will take a great deal of training to become a strong and supportive foster parent.  After you determined that you are ready to begin, there are long 
hours of training ahead of you before your first foster child is placed in your home, and becomes part of your family.  

As each child is unique, each child’s foster care placement will bring unique challenges and experiences to it.  Some children may struggle with 
learning disorders, while others struggle with behavioral issues.  To be sure, there are high levels of mental health problems with children under 
foster care. The majority of foster children face the reality that most mental health problems are not being addressed as needed.  Furthermore, 
psychological and emotional issues that challenge foster children may even worsen and increase, rather than improve and decrease, while under 
placement in foster homes and care. Foster children, in many cases, do not receive adequate services in regard to mental health and developmental 
issues and will not likely do so in the near future, due to lack of government funding and lack of resources, as well the simple matter that child welfare 
caseworkers are understaffed and overworked, in most states across the country.  Thus, it is so very important that foster parents get the necessary 
training in these areas if they are to help the children in their homes.

Your training will likely come into play the moment a child is placed into your home. In this regard, it is important to build trust with your child from day 
one, and training in this aspect is essential for the well being of all.  When a child is suddenly taken from his home, and from his family, and placed in 
a home against his will, there are bound to be issues of trust.  Many children in foster care have never had an adult in their life that has not betrayed 
their trust; why should they trust you?  Indeed, when a child in foster care first moves into your home, he is bound to be suspicious, as he is now 
living in a stranger’s home; your home.  One way to combat this is to create a trusting and nurturing environment within your own home.  These first 
initial days and weeks are essential in regards to building trust.  Training in how to build trust will be one of the more important aspects of your foster 

But, how does one find the training they need to become a foster parent, and what is required? As each state has its own set of laws and policies in 
regard to foster parent training, your situation will likely be different than somebody in a neighboring state.  The first step is to locate your city’s child 
welfare agency, and contact them.  Perhaps you already know someone who is a foster parent, and they can help you find the correct contact 
information.  If so, you are one step ahead.  If not, the phone book or internet is a great way to find what you are looking for.  As each state is 
different, you will find that there are a number of different names for child welfare agencies

Before contacting the agency nearest to you, it is important to determine if you qualify as a possible foster parent, as there are requirements to be 
met before you become certified.  Requirements such as age, character, finances, health, and supervision are factors that may go into consideration.

After contacting the agency in your city, you will likely begin the first phase of your training, the pre service portion.  In some states, this is known as 
the Model Approach to Partnership in Parenting, or MAPP, while other states refer to this first training as Parent Resource for Information, 
Development, and Education, or PRIDE.  Both of these initial training sessions, as well as others, concentrate on delivering information in regards to 
the basic requirements you will need if you choose to become a foster parent.  As you begin this training, your state’s child welfare agency will ask 
you to perform two important tasks; a criminal background history, and a home evaluation.

   Your local agency will set the per diem rate, according to your foster child’s age.  A per diem rate is the daily amount of money you will receive in 
order to properly care for your child.  Rates for children are broken down into three age groups; birth to 5, 6 to 12, and 13 to 18.  The rate is further 
more separated into three other categories; basic, special, and exceptional.  Basic payment is for those foster children who have not been identified 
for special or exceptional needs.  Those children who have tested for special or exceptional needs will receive a slightly higher rate of daily per diem 
reimbursement.  In order for you, as a foster parent, to care for a special or exceptional child, you will be required to participate in additional training, 
as well as show that you are able to work with the professionals involved in the child’s treatment plan.