Foster Parent Training in the 1980s – The Progression of FAFS Training Part 1

To quote Chinese philosopher, Lao-Tse, “If you tell me, I will listen. If you show me, I will see. But if you let me experience, I will learn.”

Parent and Child BondingIn terms of foster parent training, the purpose is to learn how to provide the best care possible for children that enter into your home. It is no doubt important to be as prepared as you can be so the child in your care has everything he needs to be happy and healthy. That basic principle of knowledge in foster care was as true in the 1980s as it is today. The mode in which training is provided, however, has progressed over the decades. We are going to take a look back at how FAFS provided foster parent training in the 1980s.

Foster Parent Training in the 1980s – Face-to Face Training by Foster Parents, for Foster Parents

Picture the 1980s. Even though it was only about 30 years ago it can seem like a different world. The overall culture of that decade was much slower than the fast paced technological world we know today. Before there was Facebook, interaction involved seeing another person’s face, and the only book available was most likely through the local library. Without internet as an option at the time, people had to actually make more of an effort to not only interact with one another on a more personal level but also to access information. There were a lot more women who were stay-at-home moms, so when there was an opportunity to leave the home it seemed more appealing – an escape from the norm of house chores and taking care of the immediate needs of the children. Nowadays, gone are the times of walking to a neighbor’s home and sitting down for a cup of coffee or tea and catching up on the issues of day-to-day life. All you have to do now is check the latest status updates of friends or family members to know how they’re doing – it’s all about quick convenience.

Since the culture was more face-to-face in the 1980s, one could understand how the primary and most effective mode of educating foster parents was County-Based Training (CBT). Employees of the New Jersey Foster Parents Association (NJFPA, now Foster and Adoptive Family Services aka FAFS) worked part-time and were foster parents themselves. This was imperative to the success of the training as they were able to relate to and address specific needs of other foster parents. The trainers would meet at a central location within a specific county, and topics relevant to foster care were discussed. At this time training was not mandatory. Foster parents were motivated to take the training so they could acquire knowledge to use in their homes.

Foster Parent Training in the 1980s – Meeting the Needs of the Community

It was important to ensure the information being dispensed was relevant, useful and met the needs of the foster care community. Speaking directly with foster parents helped to determine not only the kinds of courses that were provided by the NJFPA, but also determined the way the courses were delivered. That proudly still rings true to this day. Even though the delivery of training has progressed in a more technological form, CBT is still available in counties throughout New Jersey.

As we move into the 1990s, you will see how much training progressed in just ten years via the different styles and methods that were utilized. Stayed tuned.

One thought on “Foster Parent Training in the 1980s – The Progression of FAFS Training Part 1

  1. With my daughter and step son we ofeferd the opportunity to wear big girl (or big boy) underwear. It also worked with my sister when she was a baby.I took my daughter to the store and let her pick her new panties.My step son had been working on it for a few weeks. But he finally found the control when he had the opportunity to wear a pair of spiderman underwear.At some point we all reach the point where we feel the indignity of having our diaper changed and the discomfort of wetness on our bum.Learning to use the toilet is self motivating at this point. Picking out and getting to wear big kid underwear is a positive reward.Another little tip is to forgo the baby potty altogether. My mom had us facing the rear of the toilet and gripping the top of the toilet seat. There is no danger of falling in this way and all you need is a little stool for the child to climb up on.They are extremely proud of themselves whenever they get up and use the big person’s potty.Start out with big kids undees during the day and remind them to go potty. Especially before and after meals. Before laying down and upon waking up. Remember: nothing to drink an hour before bedtime.I used to clap whenever my daughter would put one in the toilet.Moms need to teach little girls to wipe the proper way so they don’t get germs from the rear into the front.Make sure clothes are easy to remove: especially when you go out. I once heard a little boy in the stall next to me struggling with his belt and slowly going to tears because he was unable to get his pants off and ended up peeing on him self although he desperately wanted not to.

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