Top Ten Books if You’re Thinking of Fostering
Last updated: August 18, 2023, at 9:23 a.m. PT
Originally published: February 14, 2023, at 10:32 a.m. PT
Core Caregiver Training – that's the mandatory WA State program for anyone looking to become a foster parent. It covers the basics. And learning a little more can make a huge difference, both in the lives of new families and when it comes to improving the system.
But there’s so much great information out there! It can be hard to know where to start. So, our foster care team put together a list of their top ten recommendations. It features the voices of people who have fostered, who were fostered, and who work in the foster system.
Connections Over Compliance by Lori Desautels
Traditional disciplinary systems often retraumatize children. And they often don’t work. Grounded in neuroscience, this book provides applicable strategies to help teach regulation by first regulating ourselves in order to bring about long term, relational-based behavioral change that is trauma-informed.
How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish
“I was a wonderful parent before I had children...” Addressing the heavy stuff while keeping things lighthearted is where this book shines. Straightforward and logical, it will help you avoid resorting to punishment and includes workbook sections so the lessons really sink in.
In Their Voices: Black Americans on Transracial Adoption by Rhonda M. Roorda
Shattered Bonds: The Color of Child Welfare by Dorothy Roberts Helping your foster youth get where they want to be means understanding where they came from. Roberts makes otherwise dense legal research on the foster care system digestible and accessible and mixes in interviews with Chicago foster families to put it into context.
Racial identity matters. And parents who are a different race than their foster youth have a duty to build the foundation for them to develop a positive racial identity. Roorda explains the whys, hows, and whens without getting overly academic. Also included are stories and anecdotes from adoptees who are a different race than their foster parents.
Eye-opening and empowering, Menakem breaks down how racial trauma is embedded in all our bodies and offers a process for how we can all heal from it.
Shattered Bonds: The Color of Child Welfare by Dorothy Roberts
Helping your foster youth get where they want to be means understanding where they came from. Roberts makes otherwise dense legal research on the foster care system digestible and accessible and mixes in interviews with Chicago foster families to put it into context.
Taking Children: A History of American Terror by Laura Briggs
How did we get here? Though the recent separation of migrant families at the border has been shocking, Briggs demonstrates how the thread of separating children from their parents runs throughout our nation’s history.
The Connected Child: Bring Hope and Healing to Your Adoptive Family by Karyn B. Purvis
Written by research psychologists, this one addresses the unique challenges of fostering youth who may come from a troubled background, have special behavioral or emotional needs, or be from another country or culture.
The Connected Parent: Real-Life Strategies for Building Trust and Attachment by Karyn Purvis and Lisa Qualls
Sometimes techniques that work with birth children don’t work with foster children. Dr. Purvis has tools you can apply to encourage everyone in your family to develop secure attachments, including scripts, strategies, and stores. Her co-author is a foster mother who has road tested them.
A foster mother offers a heartfelt look at what it is like to grow up in all parts of the foster system. Though she casts light on so much that needs to change, Beam also includes uplifting stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things to change kids’ lives.
Trauma Stewardship by Laura van Dernoot Lipsky
Ever feel tired, numb, and like you couldn’t possibly ever do enough? You aren’t alone. Lipsky provides simple but profound practices, grounded in psychology and spirituality, that we can use to renew ourselves and our ability to care for others.
If you’re interested in becoming a foster parent or advocating for kids in foster care, subscribe to our monthly newsletter or reach out to our team by filling in this simple form.