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Navigating Being a Member of the Team

We design our support group gatherings to build a connection and give opportunity for learning. Each of the last seven weeks we have been exploring tough issues in foster care. Every week, we've delved into different topics. These include motivation, expectations, loneliness, criticism, bio kids, love, and this past week the “team”.


What team are you talking about?

Team

When we say the team we are talking about the family support team. This is primarily made up of the case manager, their supervisor, the Guardian Ad Litem or GAL, the juvenile office, the family of the child in foster care, and the foster parents. The family support team works together to make important decisions about the case and then make recommendations to the judge. When we start our foster care journey we envision being a key team member because we know the most about the child. We are with the child day in and day out. We care for this child when they are having melt downs after visits, helping the child with their homework, taking them to all their appointments. But we quickly learn this is not the case.


Why do I feel like I am not a part of the “team”?

Being a part of a team means working together to achieve a common goal. A foster parent often feels like everyone has a different goal. That the child's best interest is not the most important factor in the decisions. In fostering, it might sometimes feel like decisions are made without your input or that your input is ignored. Everyone on the team has a job to do and they are going to do that job, regardless of how you might feel about the outcome. Sometimes there are things we’re not aware of, so that impacts decisions being made but the teams fails to inform us. Eventually you feel like the least important person and so you think why even bother. This can be one of the most frustrating aspects of foster care.


What do I do?

There is so much value in reflecting on these tough issues and how we perceive them. It is important to ask yourself what was my vision of the team when I started? Do I understand each team member's role? What really has been your experience been with the team? The answers to these questions can help us as we decide what our next step should be. Here are some thoughts about what you can do when you feel you're not a part of the team.


A - Advocate. This is both for you and the child. It's easy to give up but don't. Hang in there and keep advocating.

B - Build rapport. Every interacting with the team should have the goal of building trust. Moreover, you may have to take initiative to make additional opportunities to build rapport.

C - Communicate effectively. Make sure you have given the team clear details of your thoughts while being factual and respectful. Another important part in make sure your active listening so the conversations can be productive.


Our Next Support Group Sessions

We would like to invite you all to join us for our next session which starts April 11th. We will be simulcasting the Hope for the Journey Conference from Show Hope. Hope for the Journey Conference brings together proven, practical teaching and insight as well as everyday, hopeful wisdom designed for caregivers meeting the needs of children impacted by adoption and/or foster care. Foster parents, adoptive parents, and relative foster parents are encouraged and welcome to attend. You will gain a better understanding of the complex needs of caregivers serving these children along with resources to equip you in your walk with them. Our learning will include four modules based on the principles of TBRI (Trust-Based Relational Intervention) and the work of Karyn Purvis (author of The Connected Child), long considered one of the gold-standards in caring for children touched by adoption and foster care, along with a fifth module focusing on the gospel and TBRI. Each session can count towards 1.5-hours of continuing education for foster parents. Registration is required as a meal and childcare will provided at each session.


Hope for the Journey

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