In January 2021, the TFYHI Caregiver Consultant Group met for the first time. Five foster and adoptive parents joined a zoom call to get to know each other and share why they had decided to become a TFHYI Caregiver Consultant. Next, the group discussed the challenges foster families are experiencing around supporting youths’ sexual health and healthy relationships, and what information, resources, and messages they need to help meet or alleviate those challenges.
What Are the Challenges Caregivers Identify?
- Balancing the youths’ needs for independence with concerns about their safety;
- Setting expectations and boundaries in the home that may differ from what the youths are accustomed to;
- Establishing trusting, open, and nonjudgmental relationships, so young people know they can talk to their caregiver about these topics and not only rely on the internet and friends;
- Providing appropriate guidance in a world where youth have access to pornography and other graphic material online;
- Accessing up to date information to answer young people’s questions
What Do Caregivers Need?
- Support and knowing that they are not alone in the challenges they’re experiencing;
- Information and understanding that it’s okay not to know everything!
- Resources for supporting youth, preferably all in one easy to navigate and access space.
In the next Caregiver Consultant meeting, the group will begin the process of creating strategies and materials that meet these needs in coordination with the rest of the TFYHI team.