Support is Available
You're not alone when you become a foster parent. If you need assistance, there are financial resources and entire communities that can - and want to - offer you a helping hand.
Financial support is available for foster families. The amount is based on the child's age and certain services provided to the child. Review the MDHHS Foster Care Rates for a detailed overview.
Additional reimbursement may be available based on your needs when a child comes into your care. Contact your local agency for details.
Advocacy and Support Organizations
We envision a foster care community where parents providers are empowered, supported and recognized as partners, creating a solid foundation where children can thrive. To that end, we recommend that you take advantage of the numerous community and faith-based organizations across the state. These groups are comprised of people who understand the challenges of caring for children who are not your own, and more importantly, will help you navigate the challenges and celebrate your successes. Several of those organizations are listed here to get you started:
Kinship care is often a rewarding experience for both the child and their relative caregiver, it can also come with many challenges. The Kinship Care Resource Center (KCRC) at Michigan State University is a statewide program in the School of Social Work that serves families raising relative children by providing information and referrals to resources and services. With the support of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, families and service providers are connected with Kinship Care Navigators, who are experienced kinship caregivers. Kinship Care shares information about local support groups, offers trainings and conducts other outreach. Kinship Care also offers support to professionals serving kinship families. Additionally, through partnerships with two local Area Agencies on Aging, Kinship Care administers a respite program for eligible caregivers in these communities. To learn more about services offered through the Kinship Care Resource Center call 1-800-535-1218 or visit the website at www.kinship.msu.edu.
Adoptive Family Support Network (AFSN) has a Statewide Parent to Parent Program providing post-adoption support, education and resources to families across Michigan, regardless of where they are on their journey. Visit them online at https://dabsj.org/what-we-do/adoption/post-adoption-support.
Family Enrichment Center is a consumer created, consumer driven nonprofit agency, dedicated to help foster, adoptive and kinship children by supporting the families they live with through trainings, support groups, family activities, moral support and advocacy. Visit them online at www.FECFamily.com.
Foster Care Navigator Program - Whether you have been a foster parent for several years or you are just inquiring about becoming a foster parent, the benefits of having a Navigator are invaluable. The staff of navigators work with both the State of Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and private agencies to support the continuing growth of Michigan's foster parent population. Navigators work to empower, educate and advocate for all individuals who wish to become or continue as foster parents. Visit them online at www.fcnp.org.
Fostering Forward Michigan is a statewide coalition of foster, adoptive and kinship caregivers that support, train, educate, and advocate on behalf of Michigan's children and families. Fostering Forward members are working together to impact and improve outcomes. They provide services as requested by families, attorneys and courts, therapists and other advocates, as well as direct contact workers on a case by case basis. They also report on trends and offer support toward positive change within the child welfare system. Fostering Forward is the Michigan affiliate to the National Foster Parent Association and routinely partner with other statewide and national organizations. Visit them online at www.fosteringforwardmi.org.
Kids Belong is an organization that serves foster, adoptive and kinship families in Muskegon County and surrounding areas. It is a collaboration of churches working together with families and child welfare agencies to meet needs and make connections. Kids Belong has Sharing Closets in three different churches as well as multiple support groups that meet at variety of times. They can be found on Facebook and online at www.kidsbelong.com.
The Kinship Care Resource Center (KCRC) is a non-profit statewide organization through the School of Social Work at Michigan State University. While kinship care is often a rewarding experience for both the child and their relative caregiver, it can also come with many challenges. The KCRC supports Michigan kinship families by utilizing research to provide education and outreach for communities, agencies, and individuals involved in supporting kinship families. Visit them online at http://kinship.msu.edu/.
MARE Adoption Navigators -The Adoption Navigator program is operated through the Michigan Adoption Resource Exchange (MARE). Adoption Navigators are experienced adoptive parents who offer guidance, support and personal knowledge to potential adoptive families throughout the entire adoption process. They have years of parenting experience, resource and service finding skills, and knowledge of foster care and the different procedures for infant, older child, domestic, and international adoptions. Having a Navigator is a free, voluntary service, and families are not required to have a Navigator to contact MARE for any questions. Visit them online at www.mare.org.
Muslim Foster Care Association (MFCA) is a non-profit organization based in Michigan, established to improve the lives of foster children and provide a support network for foster parents. MFCA's goals include educating the community about the growing reality of Muslim children in foster care, providing assistance and resources for Muslim families considering foster home licensing, and advocating for children and families experiencing foster care on the local, state, and national level. Visit them online at https://muslimfostercare.org/.
Whether you are a foster parent who enjoys talking to and interacting with others or you tend to be quiet and reserved, preferring to sit back and listen, support groups are a resource you should consider utilizing. Foster parent support groups are made up of new and veteran foster, adoptive and kinship parents who come together, forming social communities and creating safe spaces to share personal experiences without fear of judgment. Foster parents who attend support groups often feel understood because others will have gone through similar experiences. Feelings of uncertainty, anger, anxiety, and frustration are often validated as legitimate emotional responses to difficult situations. As a result of the insight, suggestions, and encouragement offered by other parents, those who attend support groups often find a place to learn new skills to help cope with their seemingly unique situations.
Many support groups provide training opportunities and plan recreational activities for children and families experiencing foster care. They offer socialization, help to build supportive relationships, and form a community of mentoring. Visit the Foster Care Navigator page to learn about support groups in your area: http://fcnp.org/support-group/
Foster parents often wonder which decisions they are able to make on their own about everyday matters involving the child in their care and which ones require special permission or consent. The Reasonable and Prudent Parenting Caregiver Training is a web-based training that helps to bring clarity to many of those concerns. You must complete the Note Sheet and provide it to your licensing worker as verification that you have completed the training.
The 2021 Virtual Foster, Adoptive, and Kinship Parent Conference was presented by MDHHS and hosted online by Fostering Forward Michigan in May 2021. Workshop topics included "Trauma, Resilience and Redemption" by former foster youth and national speaker Derek Clark, "Engaging & Co-parenting with Birth Parents" by relative engagement expert Dr. Joseph Crumbley, "Brave Girl, Speak" and "Forgotten Victims: Caring for the Non-Abused Siblings of Sexual Abuse Victims" by survivor and child advocate Kendall Wolz. Several presentations from the conference are still available at https://ffmichti.thinkific.com/. Free registration is required to access the trainings.
MDHHS hosted the 2019 Foster, Adoptive, and Kinship Parent Conference at the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa in Traverse City. There were 281 people in attendance for this conference, which featured a keynote presentation by Bryan Post and sessions on topics such as: Triggers Experienced by Children in Transracial Foster and Adoptive Families, Trying Differently Rather Than Harder, Preparing Siblings for New Placements, The Joys of Parenting Teens, and Where Do the Dads Fit In?- A Men Only Workshop.
View Bryan Post's presentations, streamed live from the 2019 Foster, Adoptive, and Kinship Parent Conference:
The Science of Love in Parenting
How to End Lying, Stealing, and Defiance in 30 Days or Less
Additional free online training opportunities are available for foster, adoptive, and kinship parents, addressing many of the unique concerns and challenges you might face as caregivers.
If you are a foster parent who has not received emails from MDHHS regarding training conferences and would like to be added to an email list for information about future training opportunities, please email Monica S. Jackson, Statewide Adoptive and Foster Parent Recruitment and Retention Coordinator, at JacksonM9@michigan.gov.