Ongoing Foster Care Support Resources and Services in Virginia

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Introduction to Ongoing Training and Support for Foster Parents in Virginia

Ongoing training (also known as in-service training) is a requirement for Virginia foster parents. You must complete at least 10 hours of training annually or 30 hours every three years.

You can also access foster care support in Virginia through peer support groups and professional services.

The Importance of Continuous Learning and Foster Care Support in Virginia

Every foster child is different; even the same child will change as they develop or encounter new life challenges. These factors make continuous learning as a foster parent crucial for improving child welfare outcomes.

Yet, taking courses on subjects like the impact of trauma or how to handle behavioral issues is not always enough. A foster care support community of fellow foster parents and other players in the foster system can help fill in the gaps.

Overview of Resources Available and Importance of Ongoing Training Beyond Initial Pre-Service

Parent Resources for Information, Development, and Education (PRIDE) is the preferred pre-service and in-service training program of the Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS).

You can also find ongoing training through the Department of Family Services (DFS), Foster Parent College, or your foster care agency. These organizations offer support and teach foster parents skills to apply today.

Foster Parent Training Essentials

Multiple training resources are available for foster parents in Virginia. You can access a pre-selected list of in-service training topics through the PRIDE program.

Key Training Topics for Foster Parents

PRIDE has a specific framework for in-service training. The framework includes topic recommendations for ongoing foster parent education.

Ideally, you want to tailor your ongoing education plan to your needs. For example, say your foster child struggles with mental health. In that case, look for suicide prevention and mental health courses to help you better understand and support your foster child.

Resources for Training: In-Person Workshops, Online Classes, Videos, and CEUs

Courses are available in various formats to suit foster parents' unique lifestyles and needs. PRIDE and DFS courses tend to be in-person, allowing foster parents to connect.

Foster Parent College is an excellent source for online ongoing training. These courses are also self-paced so that you can complete them at leisure.

Conferences like the National Foster Parent Association Conference may be eligible for ongoing training credits. These in-person events also offer space to connect with fellow foster parents.

The Role of Peer Support Groups and Associations

Foster parent support groups are integral to your journey. You can access assistance and additional services from like-minded foster parents in person or online.

Benefits of Connecting With Other Foster Parents

No one understands being a foster parent better than your peers. Support groups allow new foster parents to find others at the same stage of their journey and get advice from those with decades of experience.

Services Offered by Local Groups and How to Find and Join Them

The best way to find and join local support groups is through the VDSS's post-adoption support search bar. Search by zip code or county to find a foster parent support group near you.

In addition to peer support groups, foster parents can access case management, counseling, crisis response, respite care, and training. Some programs also have peer support groups available for your foster child.

Online Support Forums for Foster Parents

If you don't find what you want through the above resources, consider joining an online forum. The following forums are free, and you can access them from anywhere in Virginia:

  •'s Foster Parent Support forum
  • The What to Expect Community's Foster Parents forums
  •'s Adoptive and Foster Parenting forum

Reddit groups like r/Fosterparents, r/fosterit, and r/Fostercare are excellent places to find peer support, educational resources, and more.

Services Provided by Statewide Foster Care Associations

Statewide foster care associations offer peer support groups and informational resources for foster parents. Foster parents can also access tutoring, counseling, parent coaching, ongoing training, and many more helpful services.

Therapeutic Services and Respite Care Options for Foster Children

Therapeutic services offer the treatments your foster child needs when you've run out of options. Respite care for your foster child provides a safe space for your child to live while you take a temporary break from caregiving.

Types of Professional Support Available and How to Request and Utilize These Services

If your foster child has additional emotional, behavioral, psychological, or medical needs, they may require additional support. Therapeutic Foster Care providers offer treatment and training for foster parents like you.

You can access these services through organizations like Extra Special Parents.

Respite Care Options and Guidelines on When to Use them

When you need a short-term break to practice self-care or socialization, it is time to take advantage of respite care. You can request these services for up to 14 consecutive days.

You can request respite care through your agency social worker. As long as you choose an approved provider, these services are reimbursable.

Leveraging Additional Agency Support Resources

Professional support services for VA foster care parents are also available. If you don't find what you need in a peer support group, your agency likely has the services you need.

Types of Support Provided by Foster Agencies

Foster agencies provide professional assistance, support, resources, and ongoing training for foster parents. Foster parents can also access support for their foster child and information about fostering-to-adoption.

However, the services offered will vary depending on the agency.

How to Effectively Utilize These Resources

The best way to utilize foster care agency support resources is to talk to your agency social worker. You can also learn about the services and support available in your area.

If you still have more questions about foster care support in Virginia, FosterVA is here for you. Search our convenient database of support resources or contact us to foster today!

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