Blog Post

The Foster Parent Shortage in the North State

Foster parents with multi-racial children in foster careCalifornia has 62,000 children in foster care. According to Dr. John DeGarmo of the Foster Care Institute, the number of children being placed in the foster system has steadily been increasing nationwide while the number of foster parents has been decreasing.

In Shasta County, the number of children entering foster care is more than twice the number of children entering care in the rest of California. For infants, the ratio is more than three times higher. This has lent to a massive shortage in an already limited pool of caregivers.

The Foster Care Institute conducted a study, which uncovered several factors contributing to the crisis:

Drugs

More children are being placed in foster care because of the dramatic increase in drug abuse by biological parents. This drug crisis has reached unprecedented levels. Because California hosts some of the largest transportation hubs in North America and international entry points, it has some of the nation’s largest drug trafficking problems. Northern California has been designated an HIDTA (High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area). The most prevalent drugs in California are meth, heroin, and prescription painkillers.

Foster Parenting Challenges

Given that most foster children have experienced some form of trauma—as well as separation from biological parents, frequent changes in caregivers, and more—foster parenting can be quite challenging.

Foster parents in The Foster Care Institute’s study overwhelmingly reported feelings of grief and loss. Half of these parents also reported not feeling supported by their caseworker or agency. Many parents felt that they had not received sufficient training for foster parenting. And over half of them said they wanted to quit at least once during their time as a foster parent. Burnout is a reality for many.

A factor that contributed to the stress was the frequent changes in caseworkers and the lack of adequate information about the children that were placed in their care. When there were special needs or behavioral issues, the parents felt they weren’t always properly informed or trained.

Stereotypes

Another factor that may contribute to the trouble in recruiting foster parents is the frequent negative media coverage of foster parents.

In Dr. DeGarmo’s words, “One simply has to open up a newspaper, turn on the television, listen to the radio, or engage in some sort of social media and learn about yet another ‘bad foster parent’ incident. The media focuses upon those negative stories about foster parents, thus helping to perpetuate an already negative viewpoint and stereotype of foster parents. This type of negative awareness only hurts those foster parents who strive to be the best foster parent possible; work hard to give the child in need the support, stability, and love that they need.”

What You Can Do to Help

There are several ways you can get involved.

  • Foster Parenting: Couples or single individuals over the age of 21 can become foster parents. A few qualifications apply.
  • Respite Care: If you’re not able to be a foster parent, you can sign up to provide respite care for others.
  • Volunteer or Donate: Look for opportunities to volunteer at local foster agencies or to donate food or clothing to foster parents.
  • Create Positive Awareness: Share positive stories of foster parents who are doing a great job and foster children whose lives have been changed because someone took them in.
  • Support Foster Parents: Become a listener, offering a safe place for foster parents to share their successes and struggles.

Together, we can close the gap between children who need families and families who can care for children. Foster parenting is challenging, but with the right resources and supportive network, it can become more possible for more parents. At Children First, we seek to provide the kind of strong support that both foster parents and foster children need.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts

foster care child waking up in bed
12 Requirements for Housing Foster Care Children

For most, becoming a foster parent is a rewarding experience, but becoming approved to...

IQ plus emotional intelligence equals success formula on blackboard
Foster Care Tips: Helping Children Develop Emotional Intelligence

Few skills are as important as emotional intelligence. It’s been shown to be a...

older foster care youth drives family in van
Aging Out: Successful Transitions from Foster Care are Possible

Each year, 26,000 American youth “age out” of the foster care system. In the...

Mother with kids at the kitchen
Foster Parenting: Teaching Practical Life Skills to Foster Kids

When a foster child comes to your home, you’re not only becoming a caregiver—you’re...

eating healthy food
Foster Care Parents Can Promote Healthy Lifestyles

As the need for two incomes has become more necessary many families are finding...

A mixed race mother and daughter at their home
How To Get Started in Foster Care

Around 425,000 children are in the United States foster care system. Unfortunately, in many...

Little girl introduction her new babysitter
Shasta County Support Services Make Foster Parenting Easier

With more than 62 thousand foster children in the California system, it is important...

Boy lying on floor and reading something on digital tablet
Foster Parenting in the Digital Age

Trying to protect a child in your home, whether they be biological, adopted or...

mother with daughter isolated on white
Foster Care Agencies Provide Options for Caregivers

Raising children is no easy task, but when caring for someone else’s children, it...

Mother and toddler
4 Myths About Foster Parenting

Foster parenting is quite a bit different than parenting biological children. For those who...

Multi-racial Family Portrait Children Only
True Success Stories of Foster Care

Too many times, we hear about negative things that happen in foster care, but...

Two teens sharing music on headphones
Discipline for Older Foster Children

Foster children frequently come from traumatic situations, where they’ve faced abuse, neglect, rejection, or...

Brown-haired child in a field of grass
Preparing Your Home for Foster Parenting

So you want to become a foster parent? Whether you are planning to become...

Sad little boy in black and white
The First Day: How To Help a Foster Child Feel At Home

When a foster child comes to your home, it’s often a frightening and overwhelming...

Boy eating a biscuit from a biscuit bowl
Helping Foster Children Overcome Eating Disorders

Some foster children have experienced the trauma of not having enough to eat. Others...

Bullied teen sitting on cement slab on city street
How to Address Bullying, A Problem That Many Foster Children Face

Bullying is a prevalent problem in American schools. In 2015, almost a quarter of...

Developmental process of boy looking at school book
Developmental Challenges That a Foster Child Might Face

Foster children enter the system when there’s been a traumatic situation in their family,...

Young girl with blonde hair smiling
Helping a Foster Child Heal from Trauma

Whether you’re a foster parent or an adoptive parent, you may encounter a child...

Facts and Myths About Foster Care in Shasta County

There are hundreds of children in foster care in Shasta County. These children have...

Resources That Help After You Foster Adopt in Siskiyou County

If you’ve elected to foster adopt in Siskiyou County, we’re sure it was no...

Things to Know When Becoming Involved With Tehama County Foster Care

It’s no small thing to decide to become a foster parent. It takes a...

Foster parenting shasta county
Preparing for Foster Parenting in Tehama County

Every child needs a healthy, supportive home environment. With foster parenting, you can provide...

Things to Know About Foster Care and Foster Parenting in Shasta County

There are plenty of opinions and preconceived notions, as well as a lot of...

Happy Kids
Circumstances That Often Lead to a Shasta County Foster Care Placement

As a foster parent, you must recognize that you’ll be opening your home to...

Shasta County Foster Care Guide to National Adoption Month

It has been 19 years since November was officially recognized as National Adoption Month,...

Key Facts and Figures of the Foster Care System on a National, California and Shasta County Level

Many people don’t realize how many children are placed into foster care on a...

Foster care shasta county
What You Can Expect During the Shasta County Foster Care Home Study Process

Choosing to open up your home and become a foster parent is one of...

Foster parenting shasta county
Differences Between Foster Parenting and Foster Adoption

Providing a foster child in need with a loving, stable environment is a rewarding...

Parenting Wisdom For Those Looking to Foster Adopt in Shasta County

Most mothers and fathers find that just when they conquer one phase of parenting...

Strategies For Successful Shasta County Foster Parenting

Becoming a foster parent is a rewarding experience for families and individuals who are...

fishing with foster dad shasta county
Bonding After Your Shasta County Foster Adoption

While love is definitely an important factor in any relationship, it’s necessary to recognize...

Foster Parenting in Shasta County Changes Lives For the Better

Foster parenting is a term that almost everyone has heard of, but few realize...

How the Decision to Foster Adopt Can Positively Influence a Shasta County Foster Child

Parenting any child, biological or otherwise, takes patience, love and commitment. However, foster parenting...

Types of Shasta County Foster Care Placements

Numerous children continue to enter the foster care system every day, each with a...

Foster parenting daughters shasta county
Support Foster Adoption in Redding During National Adoption Month

Every child deserves to grow up in a loving, stable home environment that promotes...

Foster care shasta county Cake
Is Sugar Addiction Real?

YES! A new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition by Harvard’s...

Often Unrecognized Safety Hazards in the Household

Accidents can happen in an instant. While most household hazards are commonly known and...

What You Can Do to Help Children in the Foster Care System

Children of all ages and backgrounds are placed into the Shasta County foster care...

Foster care shasta county Baby
Sleep…It’s Overrated! Or is it?

Sleep is one of the most important (and easy) things that we can do...

Foster care shasta county baking
Muddy Snowballs

Chocolate-lovers will devour this cocoa version of snowballs, the classic holiday cookie. To make...

Toys for Foster parenting shasta county
Managing Holiday Stress

Wrapped up with the enthusiasm of holiday fun, excitement, busyness, activities, and celebration is...

Tips For Foster Care Families During the Holiday Season

The holidays are supposed to be an especially joyful and magical time of year,...

Halloween Safety

Fun Fall Party Mix

Have fun with this recipe. Ingredients can be added or substituted for personal preference. Make it...

Baking Foster care shasta county Events
Candy Cottages

This is an activity for those that the thought of actually making and cutting...

Creative Gift Idea

Foster care Family walking shasta county
4 Reasons Foster Parents Are Always Needed in Shasta County

If you are sensitive to the plight of abused children who have been removed...

Exercise Makes You Smarter

What????!!!  It’s true! Exercise can boost your intelligence with benefits from children through seniors...