For Foster Parents

You have a voice.  FosterCare.Team makes sure it's heard.

 

What is FosterCare.Team?

Foster parents love FosterCare.TeamFosterCare.Team is web-based, team-centric, foster care collaboration software that improves foster parent support and increases the quality of care for children in foster care.  Some of the biggest challenges foster parents face are because of poor communication and support.  In fact, 40% of foster parents who quit cite poor communication and poor agency support as the primary reseasons they quit fostering.  FosterCare.Team can fix this.  When you have better communication, everyone on the foster care team can see a clearer big picture.  This leads to more accurate recommendations and decisions, which yields better foster parent support and higher quality of care for children in foster care.  

Why do I need FosterCare.Team?

Because you deserve better communication and support and you need to have your entire care team on the same page - with everyone having complete information and an understanding of exactly what you and your foster family are dealing with.  And… because you want to do everything you can to make sure your foster child receives the highest quality of care possible.  FosterCare.Team will also help you and your foster care team shrink the gap between issue identification and issue resolution.  With an engaged and collaborative team around you, your job as a foster parent will become easier and less stressful.  

Will my agency let me use FosterCare.Team?

Some agencies are hesitant to allow their foster parents use FosterCare.Team because they don't understand what it is.  They might think it's a social network or a public foster care support forum, which it isn't.  But legally, your agency cannot prevent you from using FosterCare.Team.  FosterCare.Team is a private, secured, pay to access, team-based, encrypted communication and collaboration platform.  And, unlike those Facebook support groups you are a member of, where everyone can see your name and read about your "FS 10" or "FD 8", on FosterCare.Team, nobody even knows you are there except the members of your care team.  It is significantly more secure and private than what you are already doing.  Additionally, there are no HIPAA requirements that prevent your use of FosterCare.Team and there are no SACWIS requirements that prevent your agency's use of FosterCare.Team because CCWIS rules allow for modularity.  So your agency can utilize FosterCare.Team.  If your agency has concerns, please let us know.  We'd be happy to talk to them about FosterCare.Team and any concerns they have.  Ultimately this works the best when everyone has complete, accurate information and we can all strive towards providing the best possible support for foster families.

What's in it for my foster child?

In a word: EVERYTHING.  Our counselors love the daily journals and the behavior tracking features of FosterCare.Team.  It allows them to tailor their weekly therapy sessions to deliver just what the children need when they need it.  They feel they can be significantly more effective with the information they receive from FosterCare.Team.  When everyone on the team is aware of the successes and struggles of the foster child, it helps them identify the key support needs of the child.  Also, these needs are identified much faster with FosterCare.Team than without.  Additionally, when your foster child gets a new caseworker (unfortunately, this is not uncommon), FosterCare.Team allows for a full and complete transfer of knowledge from one caseworker to the next.  This is vital to the care and well-being of your foster child during this transition period.

Wait, you said daily journals...am I writing those?  Does this mean I have one more thing to do?

Yes.  It's like putting on a parachute before jumping out of an airplane.  It takes a little more time, but it's essential and the end result is worth it.  For years, foster parents have rightfully complained about receiving inadequate training and poor support from their foster care agencies.  In fact, those are two of the biggest reasons foster parents call it quits.  This is your chance to fix that.  Your caseworker and foster care team cannot support needs they aren't aware of.  They aren't mind readers.  The quality of support you and your foster child receive directly relates to your ability to communicate your struggles and needs with your foster care team.  FosterCare.Team is that communication tool.  This will take you about 5 - 15 minutes a night and it's one of the most important things you can do as a foster parent. Your use of FosterCare.Team not only benefits your foster child, but it benefits you as well.  Journaling is highly therapeutic.  It's one of the best tools counselors recommend to people who are dealing with stress, grief, loss, and trauma.  It helps you organize your thoughts and process what you are going through.  It also gives your team valuable insight into your home.  It helps them identify ways they can help you and your foster child.  (Nikki just mentioned that it takes a lot less than 15 minutes if you dictate your journal entries on your phone.)  That's a great point because FosterCare.Team will run on your mobile device.  While more therapeutic benefits of journaling are realized when you sit, think and type, if you need to get a quick update in using your phone can be a way to do it.

The Health Benefits of Journaling

There is increasing evidence to support the notion that journaling has a positive impact on physical well-being. University of Texas at Austin psychologist and researcher James Pennebaker contends that regular journaling strengthens immune cells, called T-lymphocytes. Other research indicates that journaling decreases the symptoms of asthma and rheumatoid arthritis. Pennebaker believes that writing about stressful events helps you come to terms with them, acting as a stress management tool, thus reducing the impact of these stressors on your physical health.

Scientific evidence supports that journaling provides other unexpected benefits. The act of writing accesses your left brain, which is analytical and rational. While your left brain is occupied, your right brain is free to create, intuit and feel. In sum, writing removes mental blocks and allows you to use all of your brainpower to better understand yourself, others and the world around you.

Scientifically Reviewed Purcell, M. (2018). The Health Benefits of Journaling. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 3, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/lib/the-health-benefits-of-journaling/
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.

When Nikki and I started journaling, we and our foster care team found a significant amount of value out of it as we describe on the About Us page.  There wasn't a system that was accommodating what we were trying to do, so we built it.  Our primary reason was to make it easier to communicate our journals because we found so much value in that.  It simply grew from there.

How does it work?

There are two ways, one with your agency and one without.  We suggest starting with your agency.  You can direct them to our For Agencies page, or shoot us an email and ask us to follow up with them on your behalf, or better yet, do both.

If you're not getting anywhere with your agency, don't worry.  You can sign up for yourself and get your team added.  To do that you need to register, create your team and invite members of your foster care team to join.  There is no charge for members of your foster care team to join.  Prices for foster parents can be found on the registration page.  Next, create your first journal entryTutorials are available.  If we're online, we can help you through the registration process, setting up your team and inviting team members to join.  Just check the chat icon in the bottom right corner to see if we are online.

What's one feature I will love?

I can't pick one, so I'll give you two.  The first is the 'View Tracking' that is done on nearly all of our pages.  It shows you who has seen your journals or photos.  It's how you know if other members of your team are keeping up to date with what you are posting.  Once your agency registers, your caseworker's supervisor will also have access to see how his or her caseworkers are utilizing FosterCare.Team and if they are keeping up with their journal reading.  When you see that your team members have viewed your content, you'll know that you aren't alone in this and they are aware of what you are going through.  

Secondly, I'd say the behavior tracking is something you'll like.  It can help identify triggers and patterns and will help you and your team better understand the causes for your child's behavior, and the greater that understanding is the more likely it is your team's assessments will be accurate, recommendations will be effective and you’ll be able to plan for and respond before the triggers become overwhelming.

Why isn't it free?

If your agency is using FosterCare.Team, it is free for the foster parents and everyone else invited to join the team.  That is why we encourage foster parents to reach out to their agency before signing up themselves.  Adding a paywall to the site also adds a level of separation between us and internet bad actors who try and exploit the resources of "free" sites to do their bidding.  As much as we would like to do it, we don't have the time and resources to support thousands of free users.  It would end up affecting our ability to effectively support our paying customers.  Also, from a security and HIPAA standpoint, keeping it a pay-for-access site is important.  Finally, we have development plans for additional features, functionality, and integrations and the revenue from the site helps pay for these enhancements.

Learn More

Most of the module bullets on our home page are clickable.  It's a great place to learn more about the features and functionality of FosterCare.Team.

What's next?

If you have any questions, chat with us if we are online (see the icon in the lower right corner of this page) or contact us using the link at the bottom of the page.  If you are ready to get started, talk to your agency or go ahead and register and let's get the rest of your team on board!