8 Ways Educators Can Support Children in Foster Care


  1. Use “Parent Neutral” phrases. Instead of asking a child to pass something on to their mom or dad, ask them to give it to their “adult”.  This creates a more inclusive environment for children in foster care, group homes, those living with grandparents or other alternative living situations.
  2. Besides changing your terminology, make sure that activities can be easily adapted to include foster parents, adoptive parents, or other special people that a child considers family. A family tree with only a space for “mom and dad” might make a child feel forced to choose who they assign that role to.  This is something children in foster care often struggle with.  Sometimes it can feel like accepting foster or adoptive parents as parents means replacing their birth family.  We want to emphasize that this is not the case and encourage inclusion between the foster and biological family when healthy and appropriate.
  3. Practice Trauma Informed Teaching. At it’s heart, trauma informed teaching and parenting is remembering that children can come from traumatic pasts. They are not bad children; their behaviors are just their trauma manifesting.
  4. Have lots of coping tools and activities in your classroom to help the children regulate. It is hard to tell what might be triggering for a child that has been abused, neglected and subsequently traumatized, so be prepared by having a space or toys that can help the child regulate.
  5. Switching schools and be difficult, for a foster child a new school often means a new foster family, a new house, new rules, and new routines. Be patient with a child as the adjust to all of these new changes.
  6. Be flexible with late assignments. If a child in foster care is living in a group home or settling into the routine of a new foster family, they are just starting to gain trust with the new adults in their lives. They may not yet feel comfortable asking for help with homework, and  the adults may still be learning when the child needs help, or how much homework they should expect a night.
  7. Participate in Child and Family Team Meetings and IEP’s when appropriate. The Child and Family Team (CFT) meeting is a meeting for children in foster care where the whole team comes together to discuss progress being made, and needs that still need to be met in the child’s life.  These meetings typically include the foster parents, the case manager, the therapist, and any other family or professionals that have insight that might be beneficial.
  8. Become a foster parent! The best way that you can help a child in foster care is by becoming a foster parent yourself! Create a stable and loving home for children that need them! Therapeutic Foster Parents make a difference in a child’s life by teaching them coping skills, day to day skills, and supporting them as they work towards healing. It is a great way to change a life and supplement your income up to $36,000 per year.