Facebook is everywhere and has been since it opened to everyone in 2006. You have an account, your mom probably has an account, and the local coffee shop you frequent has an account. It’s a place where people share opinions, pictures and stories with their friends and family. But for prospective and current foster, adoptive and kinship parents, Facebook is much more.
Foster, adoptive and kinship parents across the country face a unique set of challenges that most of the general public wouldn’t understand. Whether it’s the complicated licensing process, the myriad of policy issues or the foster care placement procedure, foster parents are confronted with an intricate government system that often varies state by state.
While helpful resources are available, many prospective and current foster parents are turning to each other on Facebook for guidance, understanding and acceptance through their fostering journey. Nationally, foster parents turn to the Facebook pages of organizations like The National Foster Parent Association for information on foster care specific topics such as aging out and multigenerational care. This page, like many other organizational Facebook pages, is a place where previously published information is gathered from across the internet and published in one convenient place.
Fostering a Family with Facebook: FAFS on Facebook
The Facebook page of Foster and Adoptive Family Services (FAFS) also shares pertinent information with foster parents. Whether it’s a blog explaining why placements take time or a piece about the history of foster care in New Jersey, foster parents can find and discuss it on FAFS’ Facebook page.
However FAFS’ Facebook page also looks to do something different. Instead of dictating the discussion, FAFS looks to let foster parents lead the conversation. Every Wednesday, during the “A Foster Parent Asks…” feature, FAFS posts a question from a foster, adoptive or kinship parent with the hope that foster parents will respond with advice and guidance.
Fostering a Family with Facebook: Peer to Peer Support
One Wednesday, FAFS posted this question from a prospective foster parent: “I’m 50 and I’m thinking about becoming a foster parent but I’m afraid I might be too old. What are your thoughts on how old a foster parent should be?”
Foster parents chimed in almost immediately with supportive words and suggestions. “Trust me,” one foster parent wrote, “you will know what you can handle and how much you can do. You are never too old to give a child a safe home!”
Another adoptive parent responded, “If you are in good health and have the energy then you can give a child a safe home until they can return home or an adoptive home can be found.”
Fostering a Family with Facebook:Join Today
These supportive responses are commonplace when many foster parents reach out to one another. For foster parents who are looking for advice from those who have gone through the experience and have a personal understanding of the situation, FAFS’ Facebook is an undeniable resource.
“FAFS’ Facebook page is a wonderful resource for the foster care community,” said Director of Communication and Development Lynn Patmalnee. “It gives foster, adoptive and kinship parents the opportunity to receive help from their peers and, just as importantly, allows them to share their valuable experiences and offer help in return. Our Facebook page also keeps resource parents updated on FAFS’ services and helps our donors and Premium Members understand the positive impact their support has on children in foster care in New Jersey.”
To join the conversation today, visit FAFS’ Facebook page.