Fighting Foster Family Stereotypes

By Laurieann Thorpe, President, Foster Families of Utah

Maybe you have noticed there are a few stereotypes about foster families in the media.  They run the gamut from foster parents as villains to foster parents as saints.  My personal favorite is the foster-parents-are-in-it-for-the-money stereotype.  Ha!

Did you know that Foster Families of Utah has a committee for fighting those stereotypes?  Because at the end of the day, foster parents are just people who want to help kids, not extraordinary and not money-grubbing-bad-guys either.

Fighting inaccurate perceptions in a tough job.  But think about it, if you weren’t capable of doing tough things, you wouldn’t be a foster parent!

The first and best way to change perceptions is on a grassroots level.  It’s having a conversation with everyone you know and saying things like, “Oh, that’s funny.  Do I seem rich to you?  I guess I’m not in it for the money.” or, “Sure, it’s hard to let them go.  But it doesn’t mean they don’t deserve to be loved.”

Then, maybe you say good things about fostering in your social media.  Maybe you start a blog and talk (appropriately and preserving confidentiality) about your fostering experiences.

Then, maybe you see a misperception online and correct it.  You write a letter to the editor and say, “That’s not been my experience.”

You can chip away at misperceptions by doing small things every day.  And, you can volunteer with Foster Families of Utah and we can help you do some of the big things.

Please contact us on our hotline (801) 252-5395 or email us at fosterfamiliesofutah@gmail.com and follow us on Facebook.

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