This is a parenting book for new and current foster moms and dads who are raising their foster children. This book is all about empowerment. By empowering our foster parents to be more successful, we empower our foster children to heal and increase their future chances of succeeding in life, thereby breaking the cycle of abuse and neglect from their biological family. A change in one family changes the lives of its subsequent generations. There are about 700,000 children in the foster care system nationally in the United States at any given time and 200,000 get to go back home each year, leaving most of the rest to foster parents who get an opportunity to raise them.
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The Supportive Foster Parent: "Be there for me" based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
This is an invaluable book filled with all the basic information needed by prospective and current foster parents. All those who are contemplating, or have already taken on, the momentous responsibility of fostering a child, not to mention several children, should equip themselves with this book.Dr, Gopal is an experienced clinical psychologist and has specialized knowledge on child sexual abuse, parenting, attachment issues and other related fields. Her wisdom and understanding shine through this book.Stirring, in fact shocking, quotes from foster children are aptly provided at the beginning of the book. These will give you direct insight into how neglected and damaged these children are. They are not removed from their birth parents for no reason.Those who take on the charge of fostering must thus be particularly mature, well-balanced and responsible, and be educated as to what to expect from these children and how to care for them and tackle their problems in the best possible way. The purchase and reading of this book would be an important first step in the way of educating foster parents.All stages of the fostering process are dealt with, from the preliminary one of contemplating one's motivations for fostering, planning to do so, the welcoming stage, the educational stage, the empowering stage and the letting go/adopting stage.One section deals with how to ensure good relations between your birth children and your foster children. Information is provided regarding common behaviour seen in foster children due to neglect, physical and/or sexual abuse. Another section deals with attachment/bonding issues, where both avoidant, resistant and disorganized attachment are explained. (These are forms of insecure attachment that often occur.) It is indicated how to develop secure attachment in your foster infant/child and how to help the infant/child gain emotional control. Various types of mental and conduct disorders are listed and information is given as to how to deal with these.This book spans over many, many subjects within the field of fostering and contains a wealth of essential information that space does not permit me to mention here. It seems to me that all necessary themes, problems, disorders, helpful means of treatment and basic parenting skills are covered.A valuable part of the book is one listing various programmes for foster parents by which to optimize their parenting skills, including a programme for "collaborative co-parenting" between biological parent and foster parent. (Such programmes should in my view be available to all parents, and perhaps be mandatory for many parents with problematical backgrounds.)It must be pointed out that most of the book is not in ordinary narrative form, but is composed of lists and tabulations under appropriate headings, providing detailed information about each theme/subject. The book is thus extremely compact and informative and is thus not one that can be easily read in one sitting, but may need to be tackled in chunks of a few pages at a time. But it should be read in its entirety, perhaps several times, prior to deciding whether or not to foster. Subsequently, it can be used as a handbook or guidebook for reference purposes. Perhaps Dr. Gopal will later author further books on fostering in a more conversational style. However, this book constitutes a basic and valuable fount of information for all foster parents.According to the author, 80% of those incarcerated in the USA have been in the foster care system. In this connection, I must concur with what is indicated on the back of the book, that it will contribute to empowering foster parents to transform for the better their foster children's quality of life, which will in turn transform their lives as adults. Thus could change the very fabric of society, and drastically reduce crime, drug addiction, prostitution and mental illness.
As a special educator who has worked with special needs foster children, I found The Supportive Foster Parent to be an excellent, practical source of information and advice for potential and experienced foster parents. Foster parents seeking to improve their personal knowledge will be able to easily read and digest this well-organized and concise text. Professionals who work with foster parents will find the text invaluable as a tool for training and on-going support. The text will also provide teachers and caregivers of foster children with a family perspective of the fostering process. Dr. Kalyani Gopal, a clinical psychologist whose years of experience working with foster children and their families is clearly apparent in the text, takes the reader through the life cycle of fostering. The text begins with a list of quotes from foster children so realistic and thought-provoking that one can nearly sense the children's physical presence. What will their emotional futures be? How can I, as a foster parent, turn the tide of despair for these children? From here, the reader is guided through stages of fostering: Motivational; Planning; Welcoming; Adapting; Educational; Empowering; and Letting Go. Readers are asked to think about themselves (e.g., intentions, desires, behaviors) in relation to being a good foster parent; given factual information about what to expect from children put into foster care (e.g., examples of typical behavior from children who have been neglected or abused); and provided with sensible advice for coping with difficulties (e.g., ways to help the anxious child/teen). An especially good section of the text is on school-oriented issues where Dr. Gopal explains conditions that often result in the foster's child need for special education services. Individualized education programs are addressed and a variety of mental health and learning disorders are explained with suggested parenting strategies. Throughout the text, there is a juxtaposition of troubling facts about outcomes for children in foster care and proactive strategies to improve success. Dr. Gopal makes the point that one-third of foster parents give up fostering due to children's disruptive behavior but follows up with a list of evidence-based therapeutic parent management programs that foster parents can pursue and that professionals should be aware of. Similarly, the fact that 3 of 10 homeless adults were raised as foster children is addressed by a variety of strategies for supporting transition to independent life. Overall, the text leaves the reader with a realistic but hopeful view of fostering that makes one consider the powerful and positive influence of a supportive foster parent. Rita Brusca-Vega, Ed.D. School of Education Purdue University Calumet, Hammond IN