Arizona has nearly 12,000 children in foster care and gets around 25 more often. Whether temporal or permanent, these children need safe, supportive, and loving homes to help them thrive. Adults can help them by becoming foster parents or donating to the Arizona Friends of Foster Children Foundation, which funds fun and other services for children in foster care to touch their lives positively.

We understand that being a foster parent is challenging. However, it is always worthy and rewarding, especially when you help make a difference in a child’s life. Here is some excellent advice that might help If you are planning on becoming a foster parent in Arizona.

Prepare Yourself and Your Family for the Life Change

When opening your home and heart to children in foster care, consider that these children have different histories and stories. It might take time to fit into your family’s expectations or lifestyle. There is no perfect time in life to take placements. We encourage foster families to be compassionate and patient and to adjust their lives to meet the child in foster care needs.

Learn How to Be Child-Centered and How to Put Their Needs First

Children in foster care are of different ages, ranging from infants to teenagers. In most cases, their past experiences and separation from their families affect them in different ways. When providing care, be mindful of the child’s likes, desires, habits, needs, strengths, and weaknesses. Doing so will allow you to provide a caring, nurturing environment where children can heal from their experiences and grow to their fullest potential.

Support The Child’s Cultural Connection

Keeping kids connected to their culture is perhaps one of the most important foster parent tips. Many kids in foster care, especially the young ones, often lose touch with their cultures when placed in different foster homes. Culture involves things like social habits, food, and language. Foster parents should spend time with their children to understand their culture and background, such as family activities, traditional foods, and norms.

By learning about and tuning into the child’s culture, your family can practice cultural sensitivity and help the child feel welcome and at home. You might consider creating a consistent ritual to help the child adjust if they do not remember anything.

Complete Any Recommended Training before Taking a Placement

Adults in Arizona willing to take children for placement must complete the required comprehensive training to acquire a license to be foster parents. In addition, sometimes helping kids in foster care can be challenging, so you need the training to understand the kids better, boost your personal growth, and become a prospective foster parent. Many foster care licensing agencies, approved by the Department of Child Safety, offer training and help to become licensed foster parents.

Identify Community Support for Foster Care

Don’t be afraid to seek help; you need support for your overall well-being and build resilience as you open your home to a child in foster care. Take advantage of the many support groups, annual events, and credible Facebook groups for solid foster parent advice in Arizona. Additionally, you can tap into your foster care licensing agency for support and extra training.

Help Support Children in Foster Care Today

If you are unable to be a foster parent, you can still make a positive impact on children and youth in foster care by donating to AFFCF. We simply cannot do what we do without you. Our donors’ generous support allows us to work toward our mission of creating opportunities to build self-esteem and empower children and youth in foster care. We rely on them to fund the dreams and hopes of children in foster care in Arizona. Every donation helps change the story for kids in foster care. And because AFFCF is a qualifying foster care organization, your gift may be eligible for a credit on your Arizona state taxes.

The maximum amount an individual can donate and receive a dollar-for-dollar credit is $500, while a couple can donate up to $1,000. Be sure to consult your tax professional for more information and to learn whether you are eligible for the tax credit. There are many other ways to support AFFCF without making a financial contribution. AFFCF is grateful for all contributions that help us better serve children and youth in foster care. Contact us for more information.

Image Source: zimmytws / Shutterstock

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