Free Training For Foster Parents in NJ Means Better Care For Foster Children in the State
When we started back in the early ’70s, there was no free training for foster parents in NJ offered or required by the State, nor paid training for that matter. But then, just like now, foster parents were taking children into their home who had experienced abuse and neglect, or had serious medical issues. Foster parents wanted to help the kids – and wanted help helping the kids – but there wasn’t anything “official” available. Many foster parents took trainings in one parenting skill or another from various sources, but there was no consistency. If you lived in Essex County, for instance, you might be doing something totally different than a foster parent in Mercer County. We’ve come a long way since then! (Click to learn more about currently offered free foster parent training in NJ.)
When we started the NJFPA, now known as FAFS, we knew we wanted to make free training for foster parents readily available and that we wanted to make it consistent throughout New Jersey. We also knew we wanted a foster parent to provide and present the training. We told DYFS (now DCP&P), “We have a foster parent that is very knowledgeable and knows a lot about training, and we would like that person to be in charge of the training.” Back then, we were met with some resistance – not so much to the training itself, but to having a foster parent in charge. But we told them, “I think they (the foster parents) want that, and that’s what we’re going to have to get.”
After that, the pre-service (now known as PRIDE) training was consistent and uniform throughout the State. That eventually ran into mandatory in-service training. Before that, we had 16 hours that were voluntary, and people were signing up galore! That showed that, yes, foster parents wanted the training. They wanted to have the skills to help their foster children be the best they could be.
FAFS still is a leader in free training for foster parents in NJ, forty years later. Things sure have changed now, with new technology and all the new ways we have to learn. Today, FAFS offers an extensive course list that can be taken online, as home correspondence courses, or in person in every county. We even offer webinars now! One thing has stayed the same now, even with all these different ways to take the trainings; foster parents still want to learn to take the best care possible of their foster children, and our trainings help them do exactly that.