More About the New Journal


James Kenny, PhD

What Foster Parents Need to Know can be purchased directly from for $4. The book covers all topics related to using a journal to protect one's foster child in the legal system.

Caring for children damaged by abuse and delay is a tough and often thankless job. What Foster Parents Need to Know is a no-nonsense book by professionals and foster parents about how to navigate the system, deal with problem behavior, and be effective.

The book has twelve chapters. Because of their importance and only partial availability elsewhere, three of these sections are offered on this website. First, “How to Keep a Journal” is the reason this book was written. Second, the “Quarterly Summary Outline” to help organize the journal data for presentation. And third, the material on “Adoption Subsidies” is of critical importance for foster-to-adopt parents and is not always fully presented by agencies or child welfare departments.

Keeping a diary is easier than it sounds, especially if you make brief notes daily. An opening section describes how to keep a journal online or in a handy notebook. The following chapter offers a handy outline to help organize and summarize your raw data in order to make a strong presentation at case conferences and in court.

Here is what else you can find in What Foster Parents Need to Know. Chapter three gives detailed information on how and why to prepare a Life Book. Foster children are shuffled around in the system with minimum concern for continuity. A detailed Life Book can give those all-important memories and connections that provide them with a base.

Permanence is discussed in chapters four and five, offering evidence on every child’s right to a permanent home, plus a legal definition of Bonding that can be presented in court.

Chapters six and seven are about foster parent effectiveness, your rights to be heard in conferences and in court and how to make your voice count.

Five different subsidies are available to foster parents who choose to adopt. Chapter eight identifies the subsidies, discusses a child’s eligibility, and tells how to find out the varying rules and policies that apply in your state.

Healing is the subject of the next two chapters. Because of a foster child’s history of abuse and/or neglect, physical punishment is unacceptable. Lying, stealing, fighting, failure to do schoolwork, etc. must still be dealt with. Twelve more effective ways to achieve these important developmental objectives are offered. Further, all foster children come with attachment issues. A wise approach to treating Reactive Attachment Disorder can be found in chapter ten.

Allegations happen. How to prevent and survive them, a fine article from NACAC’s Adoptalk, concludes the main portion of the book.

What Foster Parents Need to Know suggests the best strategy to allow you to advocate successfully for the children in your care. Start with a regular diary to describe events as they occur and then organize your material to share when decisions are made. In official proceedings, the written word usually trumps merely verbal recollections and undocumented opinions.

Table of Contents

  • How to Keep a Journal
  • Why and How to Prepare a Life Book
  • There's No Place Like a Permanent Home
  • Legal Definitions of Bonding
  • A Voice for Foster Parents
  • Making Your Voice Count
  • Adoption Subsidies
  • Allegations Happen: How to Prevent and Survive Them