Halloween Safety Tips

Posted by on Oct 15, 2013 in News | Comments Off

halloween-safetyHalloween is around the corner and is a great holiday for family fun! Here are some Halloween safety tips for you to consider when you celebrate with your family and foster children:

Pumpkin Carving

Depending on the age of the children, consider painting or drawing on your pumpkins instead of wielding knives. If your children are old enough to carve, review knife safety with them before you begin.

Keep fire safety in mind when lighting your jack ‘o lanterns — keep the flame away from any flammable items like decorations or leaves.

Trick Or Treating

While many experts suggest that children aged 12 and older might be able to go trick or treating alone, we recommend you accompany your foster children. Just like every year, make sure you double check the candy your children receive. Anything that doesn’t look official or tampered with should not be consumed.

Throw A Party

If trick or treating isn’t on the menu, offer to throw a Halloween party for your teen and his or her friends. Stay in touch with your teen’s friends’ parents. It’s important to provide a fun yet safe environment for your teen.

Do you have questions about becoming a foster parent with New Beginnings Family Services? Contact us today.

Developing Daily Living Skills With Your Foster Child

Posted by on Oct 1, 2013 in News | Comments Off

independent living skillsAs a foster parent, you want nothing more than to set your foster child up for success. In part, that means developing daily living skills. These skills can include anything from personal responsibility to household management to budgeting. Many of these children were deprived of excellent adult examples of these in their earlier lives so it’s up to you to not only be a role model but to give him or her chances to develop these skills.

Household Management

Empower your foster child through participation in your household day to day. Work out sharing chores and even cooking meals. The most important part is to be patient and give clear instructions and guidance on how to complete these tasks. Also, keep in mind that some things may be subjective. What’s “clean” to you may not quite be achievable by your foster child!

Share easy dinner recipes with your foster child. Allow him or her to participate in meal preparation. Start with something enticing like baking cookies. Remember to show the importance of kitchen safety and that mistakes and experimentation in recipes are okay!

Personal Responsibility

It’s okay to make mistakes. Let your foster child know that you understand we’re all human but it’s important that we all take responsibility for our actions. Sometimes foster children were deprived of essential developmental milestones that impact emotional intelligence so be patient as he or she works to be part of your household. Empower your foster child to take responsibility for his or her own tasks and property.


Try giving your foster child an allowance to stress the importance of saving. When you are out to make purchases like grocery shopping or back to school shopping, allow your foster child to help by providing a budget and allowing him or her to make decisions on what to buy. If you feel comfortable, walk your foster child through paying your bills. Even for family holidays, allow your foster child to budget by giving him or her a fixed amount of money to purchase gifts.

Helping your foster child develop independent living skills is not a simple task. It takes patience and time. Are you ready to foster?

Tips For Communicating With Your Foster Child

Posted by on Sep 17, 2013 in Blog | Comments Off

communicating with your foster childWhen a foster child is placed into a few family’s home, it’s only natural for the foster parents to seek emotional connectedness. However, this can be a daunting task. Often, new foster parents underestimate how untrusting and doubtful their foster children can be. It’s hard to put themselves in their foster child’s shoes, never having experienced the neglect and confusion that they have.

Here are some tips for communicating with your foster child:

Slow and steady wins the race

Your foster child isn’t going to completely open up to you in a day. Building trust is an ongoing effort that requires patience and consistency. There will be some days where you feel so frustrated you want to give up. Don’t. This persistence is what’s going to get you through.

Look for nonverbal cues

Your foster child may not have developed skills of self-expression. But, their nonverbal communication may have more layers to it than you’d suspect. For example, a physical tantrum over household chores could be telling you they have anxiety about adapting to new house rules.

Create a judgment-free environment

In order for your foster child to feel safe sharing with you, you have to eliminate any judgment from your reactions. Your foster child may tell you experiences that could elicit a negative reaction from you. Check that or he could feel too embarrassed to open up to you again.

It is important to develop open lines of communication with your foster children in order to keep them safe and to help their emotional development. This task may not be an easy one. Stay calm, don’t give up, and know that you are making a difference in a child’s life.

If you have questions about foster parenting in Kentucky, contact us today!

Art As Therapy: Why Therapeutic Foster Care Benefits From Creative Expression

Posted by on Sep 3, 2013 in Blog | Comments Off

art-therapyArt isn’t just something you look at or hang on your walls, it’s self-expression. The act of creating art is extremely valuable to any person, and it plays a very important role in therapy and childhood development. Whether you have a young child or a foster child, facilitating creative play will allow your children to develop emotionally, physically, socially, and linguistically.

Creative play can provide opportunities for self-expression and give an outlet for working through emotions to gain relief and understanding of them. Foster children may have not had needs meet from a young age or experienced events that could leave lasting impressions. Many foster children often deal with unresolved feelings of inadequacy and abandonment and providing them an outlet to safely express themselves can be the beginning of the important healing process.

Emotionally and socially, foster children especially can struggle. If a child develops in an impoverished environment or does not have his needs met, he might not reach developmental or emotional milestones at the same age as other children. However, creative play or activities can often incorporate social elements like collaboration or cooperation, which is extremely beneficial to all children’s development.

From the Art Therapy Blog:

“If a child experiences something tragic, that event usually gets buried in their subconscious where it affects them in the future. These types of things are not easy for kids to talk about, especially when there are deep-rooted emotional issues in play. Through art therapy children can help bring these suppressed emotions to the surface so the art therapist can then focus on healing the child’s issue(s).”

Learn about emotional age.

Starting Creative Play With Your Foster Child

Children who are in the foster care system are often emotionally damaged and are not quick to trust. It’s important that you provide a safe and secure environment to allow your foster child to feel free to express himself through art. Try providing activities that are based on the children’s interests and ideas. This means learning how to listen intently to what your children are saying.

For example, if your foster child expresses an earnest interest in dinosaurs, encourage a sculpting project of a dinosaur.

It’s important to keep in mind that your child may have a propensity for one art medium over another so provide him opportunities to experiment with different ones. There isn’t just painting or drawing but photography, dance, or theatre.

As you facilitate creative learning, emphasize feelings and responses. Treat your child artists and their work with respect and let them know that their work is valued by displaying it proudly. Ask questions about what their art is conveying and if it seems your child is stalled, make suggestions for alternatives.

Engaging in creative play with your children, foster or adopted or natural, will not only further their development but will strengthen your relationship.

50 Phrases To Encourage Kids

Posted by on Aug 20, 2013 in Blog | Comments Off

Sometimes with your kids you can feel like you’re always correcting them or telling them what not to do. However, positive reinforcement and encouragement is essential to your child’s self-esteem and emotional development. Here are 50 phrases to encourage kids:

encourage kids1. You’re so much fun to be around!

2. You get better at that every time I see you. Way to go!

3. Hang on a second while I call Sports Illustrated — they’ll want a picture of this!

4. You must be so proud of this!

5. I look up to you!

6. That’s the best ____ I’ve ever seen!

7. This is a tremendous improvement!

8. You are so thoughtful!

9. Good for you!

10. You are such a joy!

11. You must be so pleased with your progress!

12. May I put this up so I can see it everyday?

13. You handled that beautifully!

14. That’s incredible!

15. You’re always teaching me something wonderful!

16. I can see the effort you put into this!

17. You’re really special to me — and getting more special every day!

18. Keep that up and you will continue to improve!

19. I really enjoy being with you!

20. What a super effort!

21. I can’t wait to see your other work!

22. I am grateful to be your foster parent!

23. Spending time with you is so fun.

24. I really enjoy your smile!

25. That’s fabulous!

26. There you go, that’s it!

27. You are so helpful! Thank you!

28. You are going to make it!

29. What a great kid you are!

30. I believe in you!

31. You’ll always be in my Hall of Fame!

32. I’m impressed!

33. I know you worked very hard on that. Great job!

34. You’re the best!

35. You sure know how to do it right! Outstanding!

36. I love to hear your laugh!

37. You are something else!

38. That’s amazing! How did you do that?

39. You take my breath away!

40. I really like that!

41. Sensational!

43. Awesome!

44. Absolutely superb!

45. I know you can do it!

46. Excellent! That’s a great way to do it!

47. You make my day!

48. Fantastic!

49. You make me smile so much!

50. I love you!

Are you ready to change lives through foster parenting? Contact us today.

Foster Parenting From A United Front

Posted by on Aug 6, 2013 in Blog | Comments Off

Parents swear, and children sufferWelcoming a foster child into your home, whether it’s for the first time or the third, can turn your family dynamic upside down. And, as each child is different, there will be different challenges, conflicts, and solutions. One of the most important things to remember is foster parenting from a united front.

The key to stability with your foster child is consistency. That means a routine, and predictable consequences. Every single time. This goes for both parents.

According to expert, Sanda Lundberg:

It is very important that you both commit to nurturing and disciplining your child using the same methods. If you are divided about what techniques to use, your child (or children) will perceive a crack in the unity between Mom and Dad and will find a way to exploit it.

Your child or children may figure out they can manipulate one parent more than the other or even pit them against each other. Few parents are okay with being the “bad guy” in the house. And, not only is it essential for your foster children’s development to live in a stable environment, you owe it to your partner to uphold the rules and have his or her back when consequences are called for.

The first step in achieving the united front is to clearly outline the family’s routine, rules, expectations and consequences so that everyone is familiar with them. Then, implement a policy of always staying on the same page as your partner. If your foster child says “Dad said I could”, don’t just believe him. Check with Dad to verify the story.

Sometimes achieving this balance comes through trial by fire. As you learn what works and what doesn’t, communicate that to your partner and with your foster child.

Know a family that would make great foster parents? Refer them to us!

Transitioning Out Of Foster Care

Posted by on Jul 23, 2013 in News | Comments Off

transitioning out of foster care

Between the summer of 2010 and summer of 2011, 531 foster children aged out of the foster care system. Where did they go? At the time, the state didn’t have any provisions for these young adults and many end up incarcerated or homeless. In April 2012, the governor Governor Beshear signed Bill 213 which included provisions for help assistance to teens transitioning out of foster care.

Under Bill 213, when a foster teen turns 17 and a half, social workers must inform the teens of their right to extend their commitment. The cabinet also has to provide specific options on housing, health insurance, education, mentors, and employment. In 2011, 556 foster children between the ages of 18 and 21 extended their stay in foster care to get help with housing, living expenses, health care and other vital services until they turned 21.

However, there are things the foster parents can do to help their foster teen adjust to the world outside of their home.

  • Maintain a strong relationship with your foster teen.
  • Support educational or employment initiatives to extend past 18 years old.
  • Help your teen develop a monthly budget and Teach budgeting skills through small activities, like grocery shopping.
  • Help your foster teen learn the public transportation system.
  • Work on housework and independent living skills.

If you have questions about what else you can do in transitioning your teen out of foster care or what it takes to be a foster parent, contact us today!

Success Story: The Jackson Family

Posted by on Jul 9, 2013 in Blog, Success Story | Comments Off

SuccessI first met Sierra in June of 2012. She was almost as I had pictured her in my mind.

We hit it off from the very start, but I had a lot to learn. She was very loud, talked real tough, and ate very, very fast. She wasn’t taking any stuff from anybody. She didn’t take to daily hygiene. I gradually learned that she needed lots of attention and hugs, and that’s what I tried to give her. We talked a lot, and she began to trust me.

I wasn’t looking forward to the start of school; she was a fight ready to happen, but I am happy to say she stayed out of trouble. She got good grades, was on the dance team, and is in the choir at school and at church. She is polite and helpful at home. No more bravado and bad attitude.

Now, it has not all been a bed of roses, but I’m glad she is the child I have. The adoption of Sierra has made our family complete.

Confessions Of A Foster Care Director AND Parent, Kathleen Hughes

Posted by on Jun 18, 2013 in Blog | Comments Off

kathleen hughesKathleen Hughes is the site director for the Northern Kentucky region of New Beginnings Family Services. She and her husband both have extensive experience working with foster care systems and they have recently begun foster parenting. She keeps a blog of her experiences with the three siblings, which she refers to by their ages, currently 8, 10, and 13. Here’s an excerpt from her recent experiences. Her blog title is “Suddenly…Kids: How Two Dinks Took On 3 Kids And Tried To Survive“:

But, as I have learned, whether you birth ‘em or not, there are rough patches. There have been quite a few days where I can’t believe everyone got out alive. It’s crazy.

13 gave us a run for our money there for a while. We weren’t sure we could do it. We weren’t sure if we were what she needs at this point in her life. Have we turned a corner? I’m not sure. We’ve hit some milestones. We’ve started to really build some trust. And the threat of losing her phone for even one day is enough to make her think twice. And we are still having moments. But who isn’t, right? Show me a parent who isn’t having a moment and I’ll show you a parent who is a lying liar who lies.

I sat with a woman in my office today as she struggles with the kids she’s taken in. She’s new to this, brand spanking new home. No kids. Just her and the hubby and the dogs. Sound familiar?  That was me in August. She’s not a bad person for admitting that it’s hard. Because it is. So bloody hard. It’s okay to cry. You’re going to yell and lose your temper and say things you don’t mean. That’s life. That’s family. That’s parenting. Heck, I had a very experienced foster dad look at me tonight and say, “We’re just making it up 99 percent of the time.”

But if you are ever wondering, “What’s THAT like?” I recommend a book called Instant Mom.  It’s by Nia Vardalos. You know, from My Big Fat Greek Wedding.  Yeah, her. It’s like she was hiding in my closet and writing this book about my experiences instead of hers.  I like knowing that someone who is besties with Tom Hanks is experiencing the same things I am.

Success Story: The Hodge Family

Posted by on Jun 4, 2013 in Blog | Comments Off

Success-StoryThe Hodge family came to New Beginnings Family Services from another agency in October of 2011. Ken and Kim Hodge have been foster parents for a number of years and have a lot of experience in dealing with children that have severe and out-of-control behaviors. They believe in discipline, structure and love. They believe that families should live and work together and subsequently structure their home in that way. Through their hard work and dedication to children in need, they have successfully discharged dozens of children during their years as foster parents. In December 2012, they finalized adoption of their daughter, Brittney. She had been with them for almost three years and the Hodges have brought Brittney a long way from where she started. They are one of our all-star families and the Northern Kentucky region would not be the same without them.

Thank you, Kim and Ken Hodge!