Foster Care to Success: A Complete Guide

Kids hands holding a red heart on a blue background

Studies have found that up to 43% of girls and boys experience at least one instance of childhood trauma. Additionally, 3% to 15% of girls and 1% to 6% of boys will develop PTSD

Unfortunately, many children in the foster care system have PTSD. They need additional care and love to thrive. Still, if they're given that love, many go on and make many outstanding accomplishments. 

There are plenty of inspirational foster care success stories out there. Today, we'll talk about how you can be a part of another success story and help your foster children succeed in life! 

Keep reading this guide on foster care to success to discover tips on helping a foster child cope with trauma, overcome challenges, set goals, and more. 

Resources for Foster Youth: Foster Care to Success

Many children who "age out" of the foster care system still need substantial support to establish an independent life. Many foster care youths aren't prepared for college and the experiences that come with it. Whether it's financial obstacles, struggles to find housing, or some other challenge, pursuing education isn't always easy. 

The sad reality is that most jobs require a college degree, which can disqualify many workers. This requirement is especially tough for workers of color

It's a problem in America that needs addressing. For now, foster kids that don't pursue higher education may struggle to find work. 

Around 20% of former foster care youth become homeless. Thankfully, some programs can help children in the system pursue education and find stable jobs. 

The nonprofit organization, Foster Care to Success (FC2S), strives to help young, college-bound foster care adults. The organization provides information, support, and funding to help kids continue their education. 

FC2S provides grants, living stipends, book money, and emergency funding. They offer access to academic coaches, personal mentors, and internship opportunities. 

Some programs FC2S provides: 

  • Academic success coaching
  • Education training vouchers
  • Scholarships and grants
  • Student care packages
  • Reach USA (grant programs in Missouri and North Carolina)

Foster care youth can take advantage of these benefits and programs to find stable, fulfilling careers. 

What Foster Programs and Parents Can Teach Kids

As a foster parent, there's much you can teach the children in your care to help them succeed. Parenting is a journey, but each lesson you teach your kids will leave an impression on them. You can change their life for the better. 

Others can help foster children thrive, such as teachers, counselors, therapists, and mentors. 

The Importance of Education and the School System

For one, you should teach them the value of education. Attending school teaches kids critical thinking, creativity, and essential life skills. They'll learn how to communicate with others, work in a team, overcome complex challenges, set goals, and much more. 

Kids will form some of their most important friendships during school and build a support network. Unfortunately, foster care kids who go through multiple placements may be unable to solidify that network. Moving from school to school can also make it more challenging to meet educational benchmarks. 

As such, many kids give up on education altogether. As a foster parent, you must teach them to keep trying. 

If your child is struggling to keep up, see what you can do to help them find a tutor or take time to study with them. Talk with their teachers and take steps to show your support and interest. 

How to Ask for Help: Counselors and Child Psychologists 

Getting help from a Counselor is a skill many adults could also stand to learn. Teach your foster kids that it's okay to ask for help when they're feeling overwhelmed and that they don't need to deal with all the stress alone. How to pick a good therapist?

We're often taught to be self-reliant and independent, which are good skills. However, we also need to know when it's too much to handle. 

We mentioned the high rate of trauma among foster care youth, including PTSD. According to a 2018 study, when a placement is disturbed, that child may feel guilty or rejected, resulting in damaged attachments. These external and internal stresses can also result in behavior issues, resulting in multiple placements. 

Trauma is complicated, and only a mental health professional can help a child cope with it. If your child needs to speak with a counselor or child therapist, tell them it's okay and encourage them to ask for help. 

Parents Teach Them That They Matter

One of the primary jobs of foster parents is to show unconditional love and support. Sometimes, the children in the foster care system never receive this love from their biological parents. It would be best if you showed them that they deserve it. 

There are many ways you can do this. Be patient and let your foster children adjust to the home. Communicate with them and show that you are genuinely interested in their thoughts and feelings. 

The children in your care may exhibit behavioral problems. Taking parenting classes can help you deal with any challenges. It would help if you were patient and supportive while still setting rules. 

Ask your child about their day and their friends. Please encourage them to try new things and learn new skills. When they accomplish something and are proud of it, be proud of them too. 

When you teach kids that they matter, they'll be able to go into the world with a strong sense of self-confidence. 

Learning Life Skills

There's no doubt that school is a valuable resource for learning all sorts of skills. However, the school doesn't teach your kids everything. 

For instance, they might not learn how to budget or do bills, cook, open up a bank account, etc. The older your kids get, the more they'll need skills like these to thrive on their own. You can teach them, or they can look to a mentor. 

Here's an excellent list to get started: 

  • Money management
  • Cleaning
  • Hygiene 
  • Meal prep
  • Time management
  • Simple maintenance tasks (change a light bulb, take out the trash, etc.) 

Help Them Become Successful Kids

If you're interested in taking kids from foster care to success, start with these tips. Be there for them, express the importance of school and continued education, and teach them they matter. 

Here at FosterVA, we want to help kids succeed as much as you do. 

If you're interested in learning more about fostering or adoption, sign up today to help children make the most of their lives. 

Fill out our web form