Healthy relationships and young people in foster care

The last issue of Fostering Perspectives talked about what resource parents can do to promote the physical health of the children in their care. Physical health is critical, but there are other dimensions of well-being to think about, including social and emotional health.

One way to touch on these other facets of well-being is to focus on healthy relationships. There are many definitions of a healthy relationship, but we are partial to the one Dionna (age 16) provides in this issue: “Healthy relationships contain trust, loyalty, forgiveness, laughter, honesty, and unconditional love.” As a resource parent, your success hinges in part on your ability to form this kind of bond with the kids in your care.

From this foundation you can help them maintain the links they already have and create new ones with supportive people and institutions. These strong connections can buffer children against many of the risks they face and help them learn the skills they need to succeed in life.

Of course, relationship building isn’t always easy. It can take patience, persistence, and the courage to have uncomfortable conversations. It calls for an ongoing commitment to learning anything that might help your child. Like many of the best things in life, relationships are a journey, not a destination.

We hope the information, advice, and encouragement you find in these pages will be useful to you along the way.

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