Foster Parent Survival

How to Navigate the Child Welfare Matrix

Foster Parent Survival Classroom
Online Video Streaming Courses

Welcome to the Foster Parent Survival virtual classroom, where you can take training courses specific to foster parenting.

Conflict Chaos
and Crisis

$19
Online Video Training – 48 hour rental

The child welfare system is founded on the components of conflict.  These conflict components are the key elements of our child welfare work, identified as: Needs, Values, Interests, Power, Social Disagreement, Stress and Change.  During this training session the…

Safeguarding Against Alegations and Investigations
$19
Online Video Training – 48 hour rental

The session will focus on Safeguarding Against Allegations and Investigations in Foster Homes.  The objective of the session is to: understand and be sensitive to the impact of allegations against foster parents, identify risk, improve risk management…

The Impact of Fostering on Biological Children
$19
Online Video Training – 48 hour rentall

Participants will review the research on the impact of fostering on the biological children of foster parents. We will hear from 3 adult biological children who grew up alongside foster children and listen to their retrospective views on the impact of growing up with…

Participant Feedback

Learning about the history of Indigenous people in more detail. I was unaware of most of the detail of Residential Schools and the true meaning of reconciliation.

The fact that you are so passionate made this session very motivating

The information that was presented was really interesting and helped me get a better understanding of Aboriginal life

Learning that even though I am not Indigenous, I can be helpful and a part of building connectedness

Having a passionate and knowledgeable speaker engage the class about important topics

Take your workshop to other agencies so more workers get this information

Workers need to take this course!

The whole presentation was very informative and relevant in all areas

Absolutely everything taught was helpful

Could not have been done any better!

You have a good grasp on what we’re experiencing

Landy’s honesty, her history/experience, and her delivery was excellent

She shoots from the hip with conviction!

Excellent material, well packaged, excellent speaker

Landy, God bless you…. foster parents need your book!

Excellent balance of fostering family and worker perspective

This is the best presentation I have seen on this subject

It’s good to see someone on the inside advocating for the foster parents and strengthening our community

Excellent balance of fostering family and worker perspective

You walk the talk!

I love your insight into your understanding of the dynamics between workers/agency and foster parents

The fact that Landy has experience from all areas lets her put things in perspective

Repeat this training to ALL agencies and workers

I liked learning different ways to deal with the agency

Landy reminded me how to function as a foster parent effectively and protect my own biological children

This course is very effective and should be available to all agencies for foster parents and staff

I wish we had more time

You kept it "real" to what really matters, the children. Your high energy was contagious! Hope you get to the Kivalliq Region in Nunavut

You kept it "real" to what really matters, the children. Your high energy was contagious! Hope you get to the Kivalliq Region in Nunavut

Good to hear the overviews and how they are the same province to province

The open and flexible delivery of the information kept my attention and I appreciated the relevant examples

Landy Anderson

Landy Anderson is a former Foster Care Supervisor with 27 years experience in child welfare. She has worked as a child protection worker, supervisor, and manager in several Children’s Aid Societies in Ontario.

Landy is a strong advocate for foster parent rights and their inclusion as equal members of the service team. She is a dynamic speaker and has developed and delivered training in critical issues such as Behaviour Management, Investigations in Foster Homes, Foster Parent Advocacy, Customary Care, Placement Stability, Aboriginal Child Welfare and a Foster Parent’s Role in Permanency Planning for Aboriginal Children.

Training Offerings

Aboriginal Customs and Traditions

During this full day training session, participants will be introduced to Aboriginal Customs and Traditions, belonging mostly to Ontario First Nations – gaining familiarity with Aboriginal ways of life and the values associated with living a “Good Life” and having a “Good Mind” consisting of holistic philosophies based on traditional beliefs. The following topics will be discussed:

  1. Cultural Safety
  2. Aftermath of Residential School & Sixties Scoop
  3. Differing Worldviews & Values
  4. Importance of Ceremony, Customs and Traditions
  5. Sacred Medicines
    • Personal Altars
    • Let’s make Tobacco Ties!
  6. Sacred Bundles/Sacred Items
  7. Elders versus Elderly People versus Knowledge Keepers
    • Approaching Elders
  8. Protocols
  9. Teachings & Ceremonies
    • Differences amongst Nations

At the end of the session, participants will prepared to attend Ceremony with their children.

Allegations and Investigations in Foster Homes

Safeguarding Against Allegations and Investigations in Foster Homes (Part 1) – Training Description

In this informative session, the foster parent will gain a comprehensive understanding of the process to conduct a Child Protection Investigation in a Foster Home. At the conclusion of this session, the foster parent will walk away with a clear understanding of the following:  essential principles of the foster home investigation, roles of the participants, supports, Foster Parent Rights, case flow of the investigation, the decision making process, malicious complaints/false allegations, impact of the criminal investigation, outcomes, verification and closure.

Safeguarding Against Allegations and Investigations in Foster Homes (Part 2) – Training Description

The session will focus on Safeguarding Against Allegations and Investigations in Foster Homes.  The objective of the session is to:

  • Understand and be sensitive to the impact of allegations against foster parents
  • Identify Risk – why allegations occur, taking into account the child, family and agency factors
  • Improve Risk Management strategies – consider ways to project foster families including: biological/foster children, babysitters, boarders and extended family
  • Help foster parents express their views, experiences and recommendations for Agency consideration
Childhood Anxiety Disorders
During this informative session, participants will review the major characteristics of Childhood Anxiety and subtypes of Anxiety defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders with particular attention to: Separation Anxiety Disorder (SAD), Specific Phobia, Social Phobia, and Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). Signs and symptoms of Anxiety based on physical, cognitive and behavioural issues will be explored. Common developmental fears will be distinguished from abnormal psychopathology. Possible developmental pathways/causes for anxiety and the influence of cognitive deficits, family impact, temperament and environmental factors will be discussed.  At the end of the session, participants will understand the invisible nature of the symptoms including effective strategies to manage the disorder.
Conflict Chaos and Crisis

When foster parents open their homes to a foster child, they also open themselves to criticism.  Somehow everyone involved with the child is an “expert” and because everyone is an expert their expert opinions may not always match. In essence, the multi-disciplinary approach is a breeding ground for conflict. The potential for conflict infers that conflict already exists.

A foster parent’s ability to manage the three C’s… Conflict, Chaos and Crisis is a test of their character and an indication of their ability to be a strong partner or a leader.  In order to survive foster care, it is critical that all members understand the role that the three C’s plays in our day to day work, which includes defining conflict, chaos and crisis and exploring how our actions contribute to improving or worsening matters.

The child welfare system is founded on the components of conflict.  These conflict components are the key elements of our child welfare work, identified as: Needs, Values, Interests, Power, Social Disagreement, Stress and Change.  During this training session the relationship between conflict and child welfare and its impact on the child, biological parent, foster parent, agency and government will be examined.

Effective Teamwork: The Importance of Developing a Role Supportive Culture

In child welfare, it’s crucial for team members to work effectively, united in their vision, mission and purpose to achieve good outcomes for the children and families that we serve.  Understandably, success is measured in outcomes, adding scrutiny and pressure to the child-in-care team to produce good results.  In order to create a Role Supportive Culture, the team needs to understand each other’s roles and responsibilities and support other people’s roles and responsibilities while fulfilling their own.  In a Role Supportive Culture, team members must have a genuine interest and willingness to learn about each other. The objective of this informative session is to have interdepartmental participation and authentic conversations about the challenges in creating and maintaining effective teams in a child welfare setting including a frank discussion about the implications and systemic barriers to engaging all team members.

During today’s session, designed exclusively for Staff & Management, participants will identify and analyze the following concepts:

  • What is a team and how do you build a team?
  • What does belonging to a team mean?
  • Characteristics of an effective team
  • Barriers to effective teamwork
  • Pros and Cons of teamwork
  • Personality, conflict and communication styles
  • Challenges of Foster Care Resource Workers
  • How to develop a Role Supportive Culture
  • How to engage workers across departments
Fostering an Aboriginal Child

During this session, participants will be introduced to Aboriginal Culture. Participants will become familiar with Aboriginal definitions and terms specific to cultural norms and practices including how the Aboriginal worldview differs from the Eurocentric worldview. The importance of building cultural attachments for Aboriginal foster children will be discussed and practical strategies to maintain culture in foster care will be reviewed. The following topics will be explored:

  1. Defining, assessing and measuring culture
  2. The unique relationship between the Aboriginal community and Canada’s history
  3. Why Aboriginal children are overrepresented in our child welfare system
  4. Ontario demographics in the Aboriginal community
  5. Cultural terms and practices including typical stereotypes
  6. Native and Eurocentric worldviews
  7. Sacred medicines & the medicine wheel
  8. Strategies to infuse Aboriginal culture in a non-native setting

At the conclusion of the session, participants will understand the critical importance in preserving culture for an Aboriginal Foster Child and how to develop a cultural plan to support this.

How To Provide Effective Support To Foster Parents During Foster Home Investigations & Complaints

This session is designed exclusively for Staff who conduct Foster Parent Investigations or those who work closely with Foster Parents.  During the training session, Workers will be provided with the Foster Parent Perspective/Response to being subjected to an investigation and/or complaint.  The following topics will be reviewed:

Working with Foster Parents  – A Specialty

  • Life in the fishbowl
  • The 1 minute assessment
  • Recognizing the Foster Parent Stage of Development

The Foster Parent Perspective

  • Spoken fears & Unspoken fears
  • Conflict, Chaos and Crisis… a concentrated period of a stress
  • The aftermath of the Investigation

How to Help – Offering Effective Support

  • The importance of time
  • Clear and consistent communication
  • Language & Terms of Reference

At the end of the session, participants will gain a unique perspective in the complexity of conducting and supporting Foster Parents during Foster Home Investigations and Complaints – leading to a better understanding of how to effectively provide support during this potential crisis and ease the trauma that foster parents experience after undergoing a formal child protection investigation.

Leadership Within a Team Construct

During this session, participants will increase their understanding of their own leadership style and develop a vision of leadership. Leadership values and competencies will be explored, focusing on the characteristics that people value the most in their leaders (Kouzes & Posner, 2012, p. 3), such as:

  1. Model the Way
  2. Inspire a Shared Vision
  3. Challenge the Process
  4. Enable Others to Act
  5. Encourage the Heart

Emphasis will be placed on the ability to demonstrate reflective leadership as part of a team, taking into consideration the pros and cons of teamwork and the functional abilities of teams. Communication and conflict management styles as factors to teamwork will be explored. Engagement strategies including contributors, tools and barriers to engagement will be discussed. At the end of the session, participants will have a better understanding of how to engage and motivate staff.

Placement Stability

Placement breakdowns are prevalent in child welfare and a growing phenomenon as children in care become more difficult and costly to manage, often being placed at the onset with a host of challenging behaviours, emotional and social difficulties and increased complex psychiatric diagnosis.  The placement needs of the child and foster parent are inextricably linked.  This notion is supported through an examination of a number of research projects regarding; placement stability and placement satisfaction in foster and group placements, permanency, trends in moving, covariates of placement success and resiliency. This informative session will provide foster parents and child welfare staff with an overview of the research and a broad understanding of the factors that contribute to placement stability and the issues that affect policies and practice. During this session, the following topics will be explored:

  • Review of placement stability and placement satisfaction research in foster and group placements based on a cross comparison of measurable outcomes
  • Predictors of placement stability
  • Deconstructing the breakdown/Agency Contributors
  • Overview of healthy placement transitions
  • The “Love Match”
  • Resilience, placement preservation & permanency
  • Placement Team – Clinical Role/Strategic Planning
Reconciliation, What it Means to me
In this brief and provocative session, participants will learn about Indigenous Peoples in Canada and the history of colonialism.  Typical stereotypes of Indigenous peoples will be explored. The implications of our Canadian history and its current-day impact on the Indigenous community will be reviewed. Emphasising the current reconciliation efforts and inviting participants to take responsibility in Canada’s history by exploring what reconciliation is and what it means to them.
The Career Foster Parent

Fostering is a calling, but it’s also a career. Foster parents are not employees in a workplace, which is why they don’t have the same rights and entitlements that employees have under labour law.  Even though foster parents are not employees, they are still pursuing a career in fostering and must take their career seriously, just as any other career-minded individual. In this self-reflective session, foster parents will gain an understanding of the agency perspective in choosing one placement over another and authentic reasons for empty beds, including foster parent contributors. During this informative session, foster parents will review:

  • Qualities of career foster parents
  • The “Money Talk”
  • Relying on fostering as income
  • Agency intentions for placement/flow of beds
  • The “Business” of foster care
  • Foster parent contributors to empty beds & negative opinions
  • Understanding the agency perspective in placement practices

How negative opinions about your home are formed and how to turn this around

The Impact of Fostering on Biological Children of Foster Parents

The decision to foster belongs solely in the hands of foster parents. While we may politely ask our children about their opinions towards fostering during the application phase, simply put, they don’t know what they don’t know. Most children will support their parent’s decision to foster and they are usually excited at the prospect of helping other children and look forward to the companionship. Neither the foster parent nor the biological child can truly understand what it’s like to live with a foster child until they experience it firsthand.  Once a foster parent begins fostering and growing up their biological children alongside foster children, the reality of this unique relationship between biological children and foster children quickly transforms family dynamics requiring a specialized parenting approach to effectively meet the biological and foster child’s needs.  During this reflective and interactive session, foster parents will review the research on the impact of fostering on the biological children of foster parents.  Themes  explored are:

  • Loss of privacy
  • Physical threats and abuse
  • Living with lying, stealing and manipulation
  • Coping with frightening situations related to the foster child’s trauma
  • Experiencing loss and issues of trust
  • Competing for parent’s time and attention

At the end of the session, foster parents will discuss strategies to help their children cope while living with foster children.

Under a Spotlight and In the Public Eye

Under a Spotlight and In the Public Eye (Part 1)

“As parents we all have our bad days but as foster parents one bad day in public is not easily erased”

In this informative session, participants will focus on the scrutiny of fostering and what it means to live up to the standards of a “State Parent” bound by Society’s values, rules, policies, judgment and legislation.  The danger of applying a “One-Minute Assessment” to form an opinion on a foster parent’s capacity/character will be discussed. The notion of adapting to “Life in a Fish Bowl” using strategies to manage allegations and navigate community relationships will be explored.

The Stages of Fostering (Part 2)

This part of the session will focus on moving from parenting to foster parenting through the Stages of Fostering defined as:

  1. Helper – Acts and behaves as “volunteers”, appreciative, lacks judgment and insight into child welfare matters, overall lacks independence
  2. Partner – Acts as a “corporate parent”, truly understands how to navigate the child welfare matrix, works independently
  3. Leader – Acts as an “advocate”, well trained and confident, embraces conflict professionally

Each stage of development will be examined.  At the end of the session, participants will have an opportunity to self-reflect and consider areas for their own professional growth and development.

The Foster Parent Survival Guide
How to Navigate the Child Welfare Matrix

Copyright © 2017 Keewatin Press. All rights reserved.

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