4 Reasons Every Case Worker Should Also Be A Foster Parent.

Author of 5 books, podcaster, parent trainer, husband and father.

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In the 9 years that we served as foster parents, we met very few case workers who were active foster parents. We always found this odd, especially since we were relying on them to give us guidance and support on the difficult road of foster care.

I get it. I really do. The foster care system is a mess, and case work is hard, regardless of the state you’re from. It’s hard to find a case worker who is not both grossly overworked and grossly underpaid. The turnover rate is beyond measure.

In our time as foster parents we met some fantastic case workers with energy, passion to love children, and a dream change the system. With nearly everyone like this, however, we became sad because we knew they wouldn’t last. We were certain that in a year, or less, they would move on to greener pastures, better paying jobs, and fresh opportunities, because it was too much. Or too little.

But there were also a handful of case workers who seemed disconnected and distant. They didn’t get what we were really going through as foster parents. It would have made a world of difference if they would have worked a little harder to understand what life was like on the inside.

Which begs the question, why. Why aren’t more case managers also foster parents? Why isn’t this a requirement to work in family services? Perhaps it’s not permitted in some states? We’re not sure. But one thing we are sure of- foster parenting gives you a perspective that college degrees, or professional training, can never give you.

This post is for you- case workers, if you’re not an active foster parent. This is why you should also be a foster parent. It’s not meant to point fingers, nor is it blaming you for anything. It’s a challenge, an encouragement, to join our ranks, and sign on to our team. There are a few big reasons why this is so important to helping us, and you, on this extremely difficult journey.

Reason #1- First-hand Knowledge.

As an active foster parent you have first-hand knowledge of the entire experience. There is no greater knowledge than this when you’re trying to help us. Life in the trenches gives you the ability to authentically speak into the trials, feelings of defeat, frustrations with the court system, and the uphill battle were constantly in the middle of.

Airdropping in and out for a visit every now and then, or having brief interaction before, during, or after a hearing, doesn’t give you the same perspective.

Reason #2- Personal Identification.

When we’re so mad we want to cuss, so tired we want to pass out, so frustrated we want to drink, so pushed to the limit we want to break things, or just quit in-general, you’ll identify with us. You’ll understand because, honestly, you feel the same way about your own situation at times. Taking in placements, especially those from difficult situations, allows you to personally identify with our struggles. And that, my friend, will make our job a little easier and a lot less lonely than it often is.

Reason #3- Exclusive Camaraderie.

We foster parents are an interesting bunch. By interesting I mean, exclusive. Not exclusive like a celebrity or pro-athlete; exclusive like, “We bear the same wounds, could tell the same stories, and find comfort from simply discovering we’re not alone.” There’s no longer a you and us when you sign on to do the same thing we are doing, just an us! And the us is pretty powerful. It helps you get through the darkest days when you want to quit. It stands by you when all you want to do is curl up into a ball and claim defeat.

The reason we lasted for nearly a decade and so many others spend even longer than we did in this messy and backward system, is the camaraderie. The togetherness they find when another hand is on their shoulder, and someone else’s tears drip on their behalf. Fact is, you need this kind of camaraderie and you could find it as a fellow foster parent.

Reason #4- Compassion For Children.

I’m not saying that you don’t have compassion for the children in our care. I’m just saying that you’d have more if you were also an active foster parent. Life in the trenches of foster parenting brings a deep compassion for hurting children. You need this if you’re going to be successful at your job. You’ll also feel compassion for other foster parents. And you need this when you’re dealing with our meltdowns.

Think about it this way- when you first started college, or your training to be a case worker, social worker, or case manager, you would have had a difficult time learning from a person who had not actively served, or was actively serving, in any of those areas. Heck, you might have even dropped the course or changed your career path because you would have realized pretty quickly that the person who was supposed to be teaching or instructing you really had no clue what it was like to do what you wanted to do.

The same is true with foster parenting. We need you to speak into our lives from a been-there-done-that-got-the-scars-to-prove-it perspective. That helps us more than you can imagine. But it also helps you and what you do for a living more than you can imagine. So, what are you waiting for?

Are you a case worker AND a foster parent? How has this helped you relate to your parents?

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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.