Foster Talk with Dr. John – Mondays at 7 EST

Don’t forget to join Dr. John DeGarmo and the National Foster Parent Association, every Monday evening at 7:00 pm EST, for Foster Talk with Dr. John. 

Dr. John DeGarmo, renowned expert in foster care, shares his expertise and insight with families across the United States, as well as, provides a small interview with a National Foster Parent Association leader periodically on the show.   Foster Talk with Dr. John is geared to provide support and education to foster, adoptive, and kinship families

Ask Dr. Holmes: Why does my child need to see a psychiatrist?

dr. william holmesQuestion
Why do I have to take my child to see a psychiatrist? Why can’t we just be seen by our pediatrician for medication?

This is a very good question. In many cases, a primary care physician, such as a pediatrician, is able to appropriately monitor and adjust some medications that are normally used for emotional and behavioral reasons. In particular, pediatricians are often comfortable with managing medications is cases of “uncomplicated” ADHD. It would be important to discuss this with a primary care physician in order to assess the physician’s level of comfort in dealing with psychiatric medications.
At the same time, children and adolescents in the foster care system often present with very complex symptoms and difficulties. Many times a psychiatric provider has more experience in dealing with these difficulties, especially when there are concerns related to PTSD or mood related difficulties. For these reasons, child placing agencies and caseworkers often have policies or prefer that these children and adolescents be seen in a psychiatric setting.
So, the decision or need to use a psychiatrist can depend on the specific situation and need for specialty services. If a foster child has responded well to treatment, and is relatively stable, it is worthwhile to investigate the possibility of continued follow-up through the primary care setting.

Dr. William Holmes, M.D., is the Senior Medical Director of Cenpatico Health Care.  To submit a question about your foster child’s medical treatment, please email the question to

New mobile app for finding foster and adoption resources

NFCAD mobile appIf you hadn’t already checked out the National Foster Care and Adoption Directory (NFCAD) website, you should.  NFCAD is a fairly extensive database that lets you find foster care and adoption agencies and organizations in your area.  You can look for contact information, training organizations, as well as state and local governmental contacts.

Now the NFCAD data is available as a mobile app for iPhone and Android devices.  Prospective foster and adopt families can find websites and phone numbers for both private and public agencies.  Child welfare professionals can find resources in other states and regions.  Now you can do all that on the go!  But remember to pull-over to the side of the road first 🙂

I installed the app on my iPhone to check it out.  After allowing it to use my location, I was able to search for local foster/adoption agencies, support groups, and statewide resources.  For a new app it’s pretty good!  You can easily view agency websites, click to call, or get map directions.

This app isn’t useful for everyone, but for those that want the NFCAD information handy, this app does the job.   Find the app by searching for “nfcad” in the Apple App Store or Android GooglePlay.

The Emotional Container in Real Life

In this podcast, foster parent Diane Lanni gives an example of how she remained calm and acted as an emotional container when her child grew agitated. Her story shows how it is possible to understand behavior through a trauma lens, react in a way that gives a child what s/he needs, and then later teach skills so the child can ultimately manage his/her own emotions rather than forever relying on caregivers to be that emotional container.  Listen to this podcast at:

See the NCTSN podcasts on iTunes at

Podcasts are provided by National Child Traumatic Stress Network Learning Center who offer free online education.  We thank them!

Save the Date! NFPA 2016 Convention in Las Vegas

Las Vegas Sign

Mark your calendars and plan to attend the 2016 Annual National Foster Parent Association’s Convention, June 22-25, 2016 at the Flamingo Las Vegas Hotel & Casino.

For this year’s convention NFPA is partnering with the National Kinship Alliance for Children (NKC).  Both NFPA and NKC are excited to hold a combined education convention.

So why attend the NFPA / NKC convention?  This is an opportunity for foster, adoptive and kinship parents as well as child welfare professionals to learn from some of the best minds in child welfare.

More information available at the convention web page.  See you in Las Vegas!


Ask Dr. Holmes: Communicating with your Doctor

What can I do to improve communication with my medication provider?

There are several strategies that foster parents can utilize to help improve communication:
1. Make sure your provider understands your needs and requirements concerning the need to receive consistent and comprehensive information concerning your child’s treatment.
2. Find out from your provider’s office the options available for communication with the office. Many providers now have arrangements for communication by phone, fax, email, text, and instant message. There are privacy rules concerning these types of communication, so you would need to make sure that the office has set up a secure network.
3. Check with your provider concerning his/her willingness to communicate between appointments.
4. Document any questions or concerns that you want to bring up at the time of the appointment. Don’t rely on your memory alone.
5. If you have difficulty communicating with your provider, discuss this with him/her. If difficulties continue, use your agency to try to get help with this matter.
Remember, it is your right and responsibility to be fully informed. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and to insist on getting the information you need.

2016 Horatio Alger Scholarship Recipients Anounced

We are pleased to announce that the 2016 Horatio Alger National Scholarship recipients have been selected!  Please click the following link for the list of scholarship recipients:

What it means to be a National Scholar:

• Recipients receive a $22,000 scholarship which is disbursed over the course of their collegiate career.

• Recipients are required to attend the National Scholars Conference which takes place in Washington, DC at the end of March.

• The conference focuses on college readiness and allows scholars the opportunity to meet with Association Members, who like themselves have overcome adversity and achieved success.

• For more information about the National Scholars Conference, please find attached a copy of the Curriculum Guide.

• Scholars receive access to various support services offered by the Association which include:

▪ Financial aid counseling
▪ Mentoring Program
▪ 24-hour support and referral line
▪ Scholar and Alumni meetings/events
▪ Graduate school grant opportunities
▪ Special assistance grants
▪ Internship Programs
▪ Involvement with an active Alumni Association

Scholarship Program Updates

Idaho, Louisiana, and Montana
The Idaho, Louisiana, and Montana Scholarship programs will re-open January 15. The deadline to complete an application for students in these states is April 15. If you are in northern Idaho, Louisiana, or Montana and would like posters or bookmarks to promote these scholarship programs please let us know.

2016 Application Process
The application for high school seniors graduating in spring 2016 will open August 1-October 25, 2016. Please encourage rising seniors to apply for the Horatio Alger Scholarship programs beginning August 1.

Please note that the State Scholarship recipients will be announced in the coming weeks.

Is my child exhibiting ADHD or Trauma symptoms?

Do you know a toddler who can be unusually aggressive or easily frustrated?  A school-aged child who is frequently distracted in class or a teenager who struggles to focus on more than one activity at a time?  If so, have you ever wondered if this child might have ADHD?

In this seven minute podcast, Beth Barto, LMHC, interviews Heather C. Forkey, MD as she explains how children exposed to traumatic events can exhibit symptoms that overlap with ADHD and, in some cases, could result in inaccurate diagnosis.  Dr. Forkey then suggests ways to talk about impulsive and disruptive behaviors with school staff and pediatricians to make sure that a child gets the services she or he needs.

Listen to this podcast at:   (this page includes other supportive resource as well)

See the NCTSN podcasts on iTunes at

Podcasts are provided by National Child Traumatic Stress Network Learning Center who offer free online education.  We thank them!

NFPA Youth Scholarship Open

NFPA is proud to provide a scholarship opportunity to the foster, adopted and bio children of our NFPA members.  

The 2016 NFPA Youth Scholarship is now accepting online applications!  Applications are due no later than March 10,  2016 with notification of by April 15, 2016.

The National Foster Parent Association offers scholarships for foster youth, adopted youth, and biological youth of currently licensed foster parents, who wish to further their education beyond high school, including college or university studies, vocational/technical school or junior college.  Five scholarships will be awarded to high school-level students who are graduating or getting their GED in 2016.  The foster parents must be or join as members of NFPA.

See the details on the NFPA Youth Scholarship web page.

Want to help a youth of a foster family succeed?  Donate to NFPA!