Alliance CaRES currently offers three types of support groups for caregivers at varying stages across their journey, and we’re expanding all the time!
In-Person Community Groups
We know caregivers feel successful in their journey when they are connected to other caregivers. That is why Alliance CaRES is in the community to help you connect with other local foster and kinship families to share common challenges, feel heard, and solve problems.
Spokane Walk and Talk
Being a foster and kinship caregiver might not be a walk in the park, but you can join our Community Connector Lindsay for a walk in the mall! Come out to the Spokane Valley Mall (14700 E Indiana Ave, Spokane Valley, WA 99216), meet in front of the Carters store at 10:00 am on Tuesday March 7th. Share with other foster and kinship caregivers as you problem solve, discuss issues and support each other. No training credit.
Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Prosser Community Group
Join our Community Connector Audrey on Tuesday, March 21, from 6-8 p.m. at Friendship Baptist Church (1801 Paterson Road, Prosser). Enter through the doors at the back of the church. Please bring a potluck item to share a meal together. Afterward, the children will head to childcare and foster and kinship caregivers will enjoy a relevant training as they problem-solve, discuss issues and support each other.
RSVP for childcare to email@example.com.
Yakima Community Group
Join our Community Connector Ashley on Sunday, March 12, from 5-7 p.m. at Westside Church (6901 Summitview Ave., Yakima). Start with dinner with the family, and then the kids will head to childcare while foster and kinship caregivers enjoy a training for credit hours and adoptive parents connect to discuss their shared experience. March training: “Substance Use, Abuse & Addiction.” Facilitated by Zia Freeman, MA, LMHC Community Educator with Coordinated Care.
RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Seattle Caregiver Coffee
Join our Mentor Lisa on Tuesday, March 21, from 6-8 p.m. at Denny’s (2762 4th Ave S, Seattle). No childcare is provided. Share with other foster and kinship caregivers as you problem solve, discuss issues and support each other. No training credit this month.
Please RSVP to email@example.com.
Seattle Caregiver Craft and Connect
Join our Community Connector CeCe at the West Seattle Meeting Room in West Seattle Library, for connection and crafts. Saturday, March 18th from 12:00 pm-1:30 pm. No childcare provided. Supportive conversations for foster parents & caregivers while completing an art project. Activity: Bunny themed
Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Renton Caregiver Meet Up
Join our Community Connector Barbara on Tuesday, March 28th, from 6-8 p.m. at Renton Highlands Library (2801 NE 10th St, Renton, WA 98056). Share with other foster and kinship caregivers as you problem solve, discuss issues and support each other. No training credit this month.
Please RSVP to Rentoncares@gmail.com.
Grand Mound Caregiver Coffee
Join our Mentor Amanda on Tuesday, March 28, starting at 10 a.m. at Starbucks (19725 Old Hwy 99 SW, Rochester). No childcare is provided. Share with other foster and kinship caregivers as you problem solve, discuss issues and support each other. No training credit. Please RSVP to email@example.com.
La Center Caregiver Walk and Talk
Being a foster and kinship caregiver might not be a walk in the park, but you can join our Community Connector Mindi for a walk and talk through Holley Park!
Come Thursday March 16 at 12:10 meet in front of the La Center Community Library (1411 NE Lockwood Creek Rd, La Center, WA 98629).
Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kalama/Longview Walk and Talk
Being a foster and kinship caregiver might not be a walk in the park, but you can join our Community Connector Mindi for a walk and talk through the mall! Come Thursday, March 2, at 5 p.m. to the Three Rivers Mall in front of JC Penney (351 Three Rivers Drive, Kelso). Please RSVP to email@example.com.
Vancouver Community Group
Join our Community Connector Brittany, on Thursday March 2nd from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. (14311 SE Mill Plain Blvd Vancouver, WA 98684). No childcare is provided. Share with other foster and kinship caregivers as you problem solve, discuss issues and support each other. No training credit this month.
Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are interested in hosting a group in your area, please reach out to the CaRES team:
Christa Murray at (253) 678-1956 or email@example.com.
Dive into education topics with local experts as they provide tools, resources, and support to help foster parents and kinship caregivers guide their youth to academic success.
Education Resource Wednesdays is a free drop-in group that meets on the third Wednesday every other month from 6:30-8:00 pm. These virtual meetings will take place on Zoom. There is no need to register, just join us for whatever meeting fits your schedule.
In partnership with Treehouse, the Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF), and the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI), these sessions will provide you with the opportunity to learn directly from educational experts and connect with foster parents and kinship caregivers by sharing your experiences.
The meetings will start with a 45-minute presentation by Treehouse and OSPI and conclude with a 45-minute Q&A around services of CaRES, Treehouse and OSPI. The educational topics were selected based on common areas foster parents and kinship caregivers would like more support around, and training credit will be provided.
We’ll meet in the same Zoom room every month. Zoom meeting ID: 979 4221 7041; https://washington.zoom.us/j/97942217041
6:30-8 p.m. on the third Wednesday of the month:
September: How to advocate for and monitor Academic Progress (view recording)
November 16, 2022: Supporting the Academic Success of Your Student (View the recording)
January 18, 2023: Addressing Challenging Student Behavior (View the recording)
– Treehouse Educational Advocate Directory – Presentation slide deck
March 15, 2023: Post-Secondary Resources for Education & Career Planning (View the recording)
May 17, 2023: COMING SOON
What can I share in the group? Will my social worker or licensor know I attended this group? Will I receive training credit for attending? Find the answer to these and other questions by clicking here and reading the Drop-In Group FAQ.
Lunch with Luanne: Personal support for those getting a kinship or general foster license. Lunch with Luanne is the place to come to get your licensing questions answered.
Every Tuesday 12:00 to 1:00 pm Click here to join the Zoom session.
It’s All Relative: Kinship Support Drop by for kinship resources, help with licensing, and answers to your kinship questions.
First Thursday from 7:00 – 8:00 pm Click here to join the Zoom session.
TBRI Tuesday: Dive in and discuss parenting challenges using Trust Based Relational Intervention principles! Gather with other caregivers as we discuss how to connect, empower and correct children the TBRI way.
*There is no need to have completed a TBRI training to attend this group. Just come and learn more!
Second Tuesday of each month 7:30 – 8:30 PM Click here to join the Zoom session.
Fostering as a Single Parent: Single foster parents manage circumstances and challenges that other groups don’t face, so we’re excited to host a drop-in group just for you! No registration required.
Third Thursday of each month 8:00 – 9:00 pm Click here to join the Zoom session.
Supportive Facilitated Discussions
These are the support groups we are currently scheduling. Please check back frequently since we’re adding new sessions and topics all the time! If you have ideas or questions, please email Lead Mentor Coordinator Shana Burres.
Grief and Loss in Your Fostering Journey: As a caregiver for a child in the foster care system, grief and loss are an inherent part of your journey. You may be grieving a placement that isn’t going as expected or hoped. Even as you celebrate a child’s return home or to an adoptive placement, your family may be grieving the loss of a child or experiencing a sense of loss due to a disrupted placement.
During this supportive facilitated discussion, we will talk about the realities of grief and loss as they relate to the fostering experience. We will share strategies for recognizing grief in yourself, partner, or your children. And we will look at ways to acknowledge the complexities of loss, navigate grief, and share healthy strategies for walking through the grieving process. Register here!
Self-Care for Caregivers: The very best thing you can do for those who depend on you is to take care of yourself. This group will engage in conversations around how to make sure you see how valuable your contribution is, as well as also how demanding it can be. You can talk about challenges you’re facing when thinking about self-care, because real life does sometimes make it hard to prioritize. You’ll work toward developing an action plan that takes into account your unique circumstances and proactively addresses things that might derail your self-supporting activities. Register here!
Boundaries As Self-Care: As a caregiver, the very best thing you can do for those who depend on you is to take care of yourself. This group is an extension of the supportive facilitated discussion group “Who Is Taking Care of the Caregiver?”
In this group, you will engage in conversations around how to make sure you see how setting and keeping healthy boundaries allows you to continue doing the valuable work you do while protecting your important relationships. You can talk about challenges you’re facing when thinking about boundaries, because real life sometimes makes it hard to say no or hold to your priorities.
You’ll work toward developing an action plan that takes into account your unique circumstances and proactively addresses things that might make it hard to maintain your identified healthy boundaries. Register here!
Supporting LGBTQIA+ Youth in Foster Care: Understanding your child’s identity is critical to providing them the care and support they need to navigate the development years. Children with an LGBTQIA+ identity may need additional support as they navigate extra social and cultural factors. In this supportive facilitated discussion group, you will have an opportunity to talk through LGBTQIA+ terminology and identify concrete tools you can use to support a child’s LGBTQIA+ identity.
During the two facilitated discussion sessions, you can ask questions about support resources, share ways you have supported a child in your care, and hear how other caregivers have navigated situations related to a child’s LGBTQIA+ identity. Register here!
Navigating Fostering as a LGBTQIA+ Caregiver: As an LGBTQIA+ caregiver have you felt that your Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression (SOGIE) impacts your fostering journey?
In this supportive facilitated discussion group, you will get a chance to talk with other LGBTQIA+ kinship and foster caregivers about their experiences and share your own. As a group, you will talk about useful tools and techniques for navigating common issues faced by LGBTIA+ caregivers and use these to develop strategies specifically for your family.
This single session facilitated discussion is specifically for kinship and foster caregivers who identify as LGBTQIA+ caring for children with any SOGIE. Register Here!
Dancing with a Porcupine: The CaRES team leads you through a reading and discussion of “Dancing with a Porcupine” by Jennie Owens. This book shares the compelling story of the author’s struggle to save her own life while caring for three children she and her husband adopted from foster care.
During the three sessions, you will discuss themes including: self-care; trauma-informed care; expectations and hurt feelings; compassion fatigue; and balancing real life with the outside pressure to look like you are doing it all well. This book club is offered as a special event. Email AllianceCaRES@uw.edu to be put on the contact list for the next event.
FASD Trying Differently Rather Than Harder: The CaRES team leads you through a reading and discussion of “Trying Differently Rather Than Harder: Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders” by Diane Malbin. This book is a readable, narrative discussion of the neurobehavioral approach to working with children and youth with FASD. The book focuses on understanding behaviors differently through case studies and examples of how FASD impacts everyday life.
During four sessions, you will be discussing themes including: adaptions, common challenges, cognitive changes and strategies to address them, working with memory disruptions, and talking about FASD in a supportive informative manner. Register here!
TBRI: The Connected Child: The CaRES team will be leading a group through reading and discussion of “The Connected Child,” by Karyn Purvis.
“The Connected Child” lays out the foundational principles for Trust Based Relational Intervention (TBRI), a therapeutic model that trains caregivers to provide effective support and treatment for at-risk children.
Discussion at the four weekly book club meetings will dive into what TBRI is, and discussion will include a look at new strategies for building connection and managing behaviors.
So you can fully participate in the class, please have access to a copy of the book. You can find “The Connected Child” on Amazon, at your local library or at local retailers. Register here!
TBRI The Connected Parent: Join us for another TBRI book club! “The Connected Parent,” by Karyn Purvis and Lisa Qualls is the companion book to the widely popular, “The Connected Child.”
Discussions during the four weekly book club meetings will review TBRI principals and dive into practical parenting applications and real life strategies for understanding attachment, teaching respect, understanding sensory needs, adapting strategies for teens, and taking care of yourself.
So you can fully participate in the class, please have access to a copy of the book. You can find “The Connected Parent” on Amazon, at your local library or at local retailers. Register here!
Caring for Drug Impacted Infants and Children: This facilitated discussion group is open to all caregivers of infants and children but was designed to follow the Alliance courses, “As They Grow: The Drug Impacted Infant and Toddler/Child” During this facilitated discussion, you will consider the signs of withdrawals in infants; what works best in caring for an impacted infant including therapeutic handling techniques and resources. You will also discuss issues, behaviors, interventions, effective parenting techniques, and resources for the children in your care. Register here!
Littlest Lives and Their Big Needs – Parenting 0 to 2: As a parent of an infant or toddler, the earliest development years are among the most critical to a child’s long-term development. Children under 2 who are in foster care often require supports and approaches that are not so typical for their peers. You will talk through their needs, develop strategies to address those needs, and identify the resources available to help you support the littlest lives in care. You will also be able to build community with other caregivers of kids under 2 to share resources, experiences and problem-solving strategies. Register here!
Parenting in the Digital Age: Ready access to smart phones, tablets, and computers has created a whole new world of challenges for parents of pre-teens and teens. Youth do not need to leave their bedrooms to be introduced to risky situations. And it is challenging for caregivers to know how to guide children to appropriate use while keeping them safe.
During this single session supportive facilitated group, you will talk with fellow caregivers about the challenges of parenting in the digital age. You will learn some warning signs when a child’s internet usage has become unsafe and potentially dangerous. You will discuss basic internet programs, apps, geo tracking data, dangers in sharing pictures, videos, and personal information online. And you will have the opportunity to practice having a conversation about internet safety with your pre-teen or teen. Register here!
Parenting Teens: This facilitated discussion group is a continuation of the seven-part “Parenting Teens” webinar. This group will continue to explore strategies for parenting teens with a history of trauma, developing healthy and supportive relationships with your teen, nurturing their identity, and understanding their challenging behaviors. You’ll work with other parents of teens to develop an action plan that takes into account your and your teen’s unique circumstances and proactively addresses the challenges you face. Register here!
Practical Parenting Skills for Caregivers: It isn’t always easy to meet the complex needs of a child while navigating a new parental role. Foster parenting calls for a trauma-informed, mindful, and positive response to a wide variety of behaviors. You will work with fellow caregivers to develop practical parenting strategies that are trauma-informed, appropriate for the child, and suited to your home. Register here!
Building Connections with Kids and Youth
Caregiver Strategies for Holidays and Celebrations: Holidays and celebrations can be a time of family togetherness, but they can also be a time of stress and heightened expectations. It takes intentional planning to give the children in your care a wonderful experience that includes the things that make the holiday or celebration special for everyone.
In this 2-hour supportive facilitated discussion, kinship and foster caregivers will talk with each other about ways to manage the expectations of the child, their family, and your family. You will also talk about how to plan ahead to minimize the emotional challenges that sometimes come with family celebrations. Lastly, you will have an opportunity to create a celebration action-plan that is specific to your family and the child in your home. Register here!
Fostering Across Race, Ethnicity, and Culture: Welcoming a child into your home, even temporarily, means accepting and affirming their whole selves. When a child has a different racial, ethnic, or cultural background than yours, it can be challenging to know the best ways to properly care for their unique physical, spiritual, and cultural needs.
During this facilitated discussion, caregivers will share their racial, ethnic, or cultural perspective and develop strategies for meeting the needs of a child who has a different background or perspective. The discussion will also include some tips and tricks for finding resources, maintaining community connections, and addressing biases in the community.
Facilitated by caregivers with lived experience in transracial and multi-cultural caregiving, this group aims to discuss the full scope of multi-racial, ethnic, and cultural foster families. Register here!
Fostering While Parenting, Supporting Our Biological and Adopted Children: When you have children who live at home with you, becoming a foster parent also means becoming a foster family. Growing up with foster siblings comes with unique challenges but there are strategies you can use to help your bio and adopted kids adapt and thrive!
During both sessions of this supportive facilitated discussion, you will collaborate with fellow caregivers to identify some of the unique challenges bio and adopted kids face, consider the impact fostering may have on your children, and share strategies you can use to nurture strength and resilience as a family unit. Register here!
Using Storytime for Connection and Support: Reading with your children can do much more than support their academic growth! During this supportive facilitated discussion caregivers will discuss strategies they can use before, during, and after reading to build social-emotional learning with the children in their care. Caregivers will also collaborate to identify techniques they can use to increase attachment with their child through reading and story time. Whether it is picture books, a chapter book or a series, reading with the children in your home can lead to deeper attachment and improved social-emotional skills!
Participants will also receive a pdf resource with book lists for various age ranges and topics. Register here!
Fostering as Part of a Team: As a caregiver for a child in the foster care system, you are part of a parenting team. The courts, social worker, CASA, GAL, medical team, therapists and the child’s biological family all have a role to play. Knowing what your role is and how to partner with the other member of the child’s team improves the child’s care, your experience as a foster parent, and the long-term outcomes of the placement.
During the three sessions, we will talk about who the members of the child’s foster care team are and their roles, and identify ways to promote positive relationships with them. This will include a look at how to support family time and partnership with the biological/first family, understanding the role of DCYF staff, and how to positively partner with them for placement success. You will also identify the opportunities and limitations of the caregiver role in decision-making and planning. Register here!
WAITING CAN BE HARD
While You Wait: You have thought long and hard about what it means for you to be a foster parent. You may even have ideas of what it will be like to welcome a child into your home. While you wait for your license or first placement to arrive, this facilitated discussion will help you consider some of the needs in the fostering community and how you are suited to meet them. You’ll talk with fellow new foster parents about some of the changes and expectations that come with fostering. You will also have a chance to consider your role as part of the caregiving team and how you can partner to support the child(ren) while in your care and as they move into permanency. Lastly, you’ll work towards developing a set of parameters for accepting your first placements to promote a good fit for both you and the child(ren) placed in your care. At the conclusion of this 2-hour supportive facilitated discussion, you will receive a list of resources and trainings to help you continue to build your caregiving tool kit now and throughout your fostering journey. Register here!
Certificates of Completion
For groups that offer training credit, you may retrieve your certificate by logging into your profile on the Alliance website and clicking on “My account” the “courses”, and “Completed activities”. This will bring up a list of classes you have taken with the option to print a pdf copy of your certificate to the right of the course name.