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Communication Skills You Need for the Social Worker

Thriving as a Foster Parent Series: Becoming a Professional Foster Parent

What Communication skills will you need when communicating with your social worker?

Have you ever wondered how to become the BEST Foster Parent? Look no further. I once was intimidated by the thought of a social worker or someone from an official capacity coming into my home evaluating my children, looking at my house cleaning skills, and seeing my day-to-day life. No more. I have made friends with the workers and now enjoy their visits - well, some of them... When wanting to be the best foster parent, ask yourself, "What Communication skills will you need when communicating with your social worker?"

I created a system that I utilize to communicate effectively with these professionals that help me gain confidence in working as a team member with them. This system allows me to actively and proactively communicate.

Formulate your thoughts....

There is a simple system that I use to formulate your thoughts into a sequence of communication where you are the expert at evaluating and caring for the children you are charged with keeping will be key in becoming a professional.

Write What Should Not Be Forgotten

You won't need many supplies, a good notebook, a bookmarker, a few pens, a calendar, and some time (sorry - I know this one is a stretch).

First, you will need to create a list of items that you want to share with the worker. Here are a few suggestions, but be aware that you won't want to overwhelm him or her with details that are insignificant. Remember CPS workers work overtime. I heard today of a worker at my local state (not private) agency that had 60 cases.

Potential topics to take notes on throughout the week:

  • academics (did they get a note from the teacher or report card?)

  • behaviors (new behaviors that are starting or worsening from the last week)

  • peer interactions (how have they gotten along with other children in the neighborhood or at school?)

  • sibling interactions (do they only want to be soothed by an older sibling or do they resist playtime alone with a sibling? do they fight more or less than 'normal'?)

  • authority - figure interactions (do they resist authority more than normal?)

  • physical issues (any illnesses)

  • communications with others (how did the last visit or phone call go prior to and afterward)

  • positive accomplishments

  • anything else significant.

Second, create a summary of the top four or five issues that need to be communicated. Type up a paragraph for each of the issues that you deem important. Utilize on emails to ensure the sentence structure and grammar, as well as spelling, is accurate.

Lastly, print the email out to have at the visit so you can discuss these issues and any updates. After the visit place the email in the child's life book. Make any comments that the child makes to the worker on the printed email as well.

I usually do these comments in quotations such as the following example:

Johnny stated, "I like when we go to the park to see Mommy, but not when we go to her house."

Boy on a visit...

This will give the child, perhaps, a chance to remember the actual visit later on when they recall this specific time in their life.

What Communication skills will you need when communicating with your social worker?

Finally, I did a mini-training that you will find valuable if you want to go even further. Communication skills from written to verbal will make perfect sense; You'll get a guide for speaking with the professionals when they arrive at your home. I go over many of these in more detail and let you know a few more ideas along the way. Watch it here on YouTube:

Take these notes to create an MDT report. Learn more about that from this post:

What Communication skills will you need when communicating with your social worker? You will need excellent written and oral communication skills. Nonverbal communication skills will be helpful for good interactions as well. Work on these skills when you interact with the transporter, paraprofessionals, and workers. Practice makes progress. Progress will make communication smoother.

What communication skills will you need when communicating with the social worker?  Let me know your communication strategies?  What would work for you?  

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Impressing Minds is about creating value in the mind of a child through the foster parents. Imagine the mind of a child being made of play-doh, and you are about to make a permanent impression. What type of impression will you make? I will encourage you to make a soft, lasting, affirmative impression in their mind by giving tools to get started fostering, accomplishing a great foster care home, and serving the children in your care. I offer support to you and others fostering. An important element of Impressing Minds is the support that others have given to those in need.


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