Let’s talk a bit about PRIDE. No, not about the parade – unfortunately. PRIDE stands for Parent Resources Information Development and Education and if you want to be a foster parent in Texas it is a state requirement. The purpose is to prepare you for foster parenting or adopting from the foster care system, particularly in understanding the differerent types of trauma that a child may have experienced and how to deal. They also set expectations for foster parents, what rules you will need to follow, what paperwork you will need to maintain and what supports are available. It’s a lofty goal and to be honest, I felt only partially prepared when we finished. I guess all parents feel partially prepared so maybe that isn’t anything to be concerned about.
It’s supposed to be 35 hours and our agency had diffferent times that you could take them. They had some that were all day for a week and some that were stretched out over weekend. We chose the option that was twice a week in the evening for a month and one fully Saturday. It was a lot less time consuming than we planned for because we never started on time and we always ended early. For a studious person like me, I was a bit dissapointed. I came prepared, ready to study and take notes – like the nerd that I am. I thought perhaps if I pay very good attention, I will be a great parent. Wood had a completely different attitude – you won’t really know until you are in it. He’s a lot more laid back than I.
I think the purpose was to create a cohort since the same people attended each session. But for some reason, it still didn’t seem very cohesive. Some people fell into an easy rhythym and usually sat at the same table. Most of us just attended and left without too much talking to the others in the class. I was kind of dissapointed in that also – I wanted to make some foster care friends. The class was pretty diverse with different genders, races – very mixed between black, latinos and whites – no asians. There were couples, gay and straight, and a few single people – even an single man. Economically, the people probably ran the gamut, based on what you can tell by general conversation.
As far as the information provided – meh. I really liked our presenter, she was very down-to-earth and approachable. She told stories about her time as a caseworker that were pretty interesting. Some of the information was great and was to help us understand that the children that are taken into foster care didn’t do anything wrong. They are the victims and unfortunately many have been abused or neglected in some way which may manifest in behaviors that make it seem like they are just bad kids. They need specific types of care and even discipline, which I thought the sessions highlighted well. But — the information provided just seemed incomplete. We would skip through some of the slides which was a bit offputting. Like, should we be talking about that? Some of the people from other agencies had nice big binders and I was like, uhmmm, where is my binder? Nerd – yes I know. And at the end, it just seemed like there wasn’t clarity on the next steps we should take to get certified.
All in all – foster care to this point seems very much about feeling your way through it. There is not a textbook that they give you that has everything that you need. You get information in bits and pieces and if you need structure and rules, this will be a challenge.