10 Things Case Workers Wish Foster Parents Understood.

Author of 4 books, podcaster, parent trainer, wife and mother.

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Over the last few years we've written several posts geared toward helping case managers and workers understand the perspectives of foster parents. The content gave thousands of people in the trenches a voice. But in the process, we had many case managers reach out and share insightful information that would help foster parents on the journey.

In our nine years as foster parents, we have had the privilege of working with some amazing caseworkers. They patiently walked alongside of us as we navigated the foster care system with 22 children. Four caseworkers in particular stand out as the very best. They were the kind of people who fought for the best interest of each child in their care.

They treated us with respect. They treated our children’s birth parents with dignity and they treated our children with kindness. Recently we asked them what things they would tell foster parents if they could. Here are a few of their insights…

  1. Sometimes we have to do things we don’t want to do. We might have to move a child suddenly. We might not be able to give you all the details or share our own emotions and we might even cry on our way home.
  2. We invite these children into our hearts too. We love them and we are concerned for their wellbeing. We are so thankful when we have foster parents who love our children too. When you give them all the things you would give a biological child, it brings us joy. We need you to allow them to have all the opportunities your biological children have. (slumber parties, shopping trips, Christmas presents, sports, day care, preschool, haircuts, school supplies, doctor appointments and transportation.) We need you to love them unconditionally.
  3. Sometimes we might not call. We are really busy, and we are sorry for not keeping in touch as much as we would like to. Don’t hesitate to send us an update. The very nature of our job is to be a mediator in a situation that is deeply sad, when we receive a friendly email, a picture or a funny story it makes our day. We love seeing our children happy. Invite us to sporting events, birthday parties or school programs, if we can make it, we will.
  4. Sometimes things come up. We know you have a schedule to keep too. We respect your time. Please understand that sometimes we can’t tell you what’s going on. We may be involved in an emergency with another family. We may have been stuck in court all day. Please be patient with us. Breathe. You’ve got this. Sometimes we can’t respond to you right away, we know it’s frustrating. Often we have emergencies that are more pressing. When we have a good family like yours we know we can trust you. If we aren’t responding right away, it means we know you don’t need us to hold your hand. We are thankful for families like yours.
  5. We need you to do things you wouldn’t have to do for your biological children. (Keep documentation of diaper rash, falls, tiny bruises etc. Keep records of doctors appointments, vaccinations, changes in eating habits.)
  6. Please do not treat these children like puppies. They are people. Please do not try to find a better, cuter, more well-behaved one. Give the child that has been placed in your home your very best.
  7. Show respect to the child’s birth parents. If it is possible, build a relationship with them. Remember that our first goal is always reunification. Reunification may not always be possible. No matter what the outcome of the case the child’s first family will always be a part of who they are.
  8. We need more of you! There aren’t enough foster homes. Shout it from the rooftops, share your good experiences with friends and family.
  9. Don’t give up! Things are going to be hard and it will take a lot more than love to do your job. There will be visits, difficult conversations, and IEP meetings. There will be therapy, court hearings and children who act out. This will be the hardest, most rewarding thing you ever do. Please, don’t give up.
  10. Adopt. Sometimes reunification can’t happen. Be the one to provide the home they never have to leave.

One of the most beautiful snapshots of the foster parenting journey is seeing case managers and foster families work together, and hold the same value- loving a child unconditionally. We have been blessed to see that over the past decade. Our hope is that the insight shared in this post encourages and equips. Most of all, our prayer is that it brings continued unity!

Case managers and foster parents, what else would you add to this list? Share in the comment section below.

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Mike and Kristin Berry are the Co-Founders of The Honestly Adoption Company and have been parents for nearly two decades. They are the authors of six books, and the host of The Honestly Adoption Podcast.

Sarah Gray

Sarah Gray is the executive assistant to Mike and Kristin Berry. And she is the best in the land. In addition to providing a warm and friendly response to the many emails our company receives on a weekly basis, she also manages Mike and Kristin’s speaking and meeting schedules, and makes sure that team events go off without a hitch.

Nicole Goerges

Nicole Goerges is a Content Contributor & Special Consultant for The Honestly Adoption Company. She works with Mike and Kristin as a recurring co-host for the Honestly Adoption Podcast, and co-host of Kitchen Table Talks, exclusive video content for Oasis Community, along with Kristin. She is a fellow adoptive mom, and former foster parent.

Matt McCarrick

Matt McCarrick is the Content Production Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. If you’ve loved listening to our podcast, or enjoyed any of the videos trainings we’ve published, you have Matt to thank. He oversees all of our content production, from video edits, to making sure the tags are correct on YouTube, to uploading new videos to Oasis, to hitting publish on a podcast episode, he’s a content wonder!

Karen Anderson

Karen Anderson is the Community Engagement Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. She spends the bulk of her time interacting with, and helping, people through our various social media channels, as well as providing support for Oasis Community members through chat support or Zoom calls. In the same spirit as Beaver, Karen is also passionate about connecting with parents and making them feel loved and supported. Karen is also an FASD trainer and travels often, equipping and encouraging parents.

Beaver Trumble

Beaver Trumble is the Customer Care Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. Chances are, if you have been in need of technical support, or forgotten your password to one of our courses, you have interacted with Beaver. He is an absolute pro at customer care. In fact, he single-handedly revolutionized our customer care department last year. Beaver is passionate about connecting with parents and making them feel loved and encouraged.

Kristin Berry

Kristin Berry is the co-founder of, and Chief Content Specialist for, The Honestly Adoption Company. She spends most of her time researching and connecting with guests for our podcast, as well as direction, designing and publishing a lot of the content for our social media channels, blog and podcast. She loves to connect with fellow parents around the world, and share the message of hope with them.

Mike Berry

Mike Berry is the co-founder of, and Chief Marketing Specialist for, The Honestly Adoption Company. He spends the bulk of his time and energy designing and building many of the resources you see within our company, as well as social media and email campaigns. His goal is to use media as a means to encourage and equip parents around the world. He is also the co-host of The Honestly Adoption Podcast.