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How Foster Parents Can Set SMART Goals for the New Year

Being a foster parent can be rewarding and overwhelming at the same time. Not only are you providing a loving home for a child who cannot live with their biological parents, but you also want to support their emotional growth while they’re living with you. At RISE Services, Inc. Idaho, we offer Foster Treatment Services that are specifically for foster children with behavioral, emotional, or medical needs.

Goal setting is an important practice to put into place to help foster families keep their stress levels down and achieve their goals. Furthermore, knowing how to set SMART goals with the vulnerable children in your care, or for yourself, can be quite valuable. Keep reading to find out how SMART goals can help you, and your foster children, succeed and grow.

How Foster Parents Can Set SMART Goals for the New Year

What Are SMART Goals?

SMART is an acronym that’s used to help individuals set goals that are unique to their particular situation. When it comes to foster parenting, this means setting a goal for yourself as a foster parent or with your foster children that is specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound. Regardless of the specific goal you wish to achieve, this method allows you to break down your objective into smaller tasks, making it simple for you to reach even seemingly difficult goals.

Examples of goals that foster parents may want to work toward include the following:

  • Becoming licensed as a foster parent
  • Making improvements to their home to accommodate foster children
  • Reaching out for more help or scheduling respite care services
  • Practicing more self-care for both yourselves and your foster children
  • Finding assistance for your foster child based on their specific needs

How to Set Smart Goals

It can seem overwhelming to sit down and plan out a SMART goal, but each step is designed to make the process uncomplicated and straightforward. Let’s take a closer look at what it means to set goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound. 

  • Specific: A specific goal is much easier to work toward than an ambivalent one. This will help you set a well-defined objective and have a clear understanding of the main purpose of this goal. Maybe you’d like to complete licensing as a foster parent or ask for more respite care this year. Perhaps you want to work with the school to make accommodations that can assist your foster children or you’d like to learn some coping techniques that you can teach them. Whatever the goal is, make sure it’s specific.
  • Measurable: You need a way to determine if you’re on track to meeting your goal or if you need to make some changes. There are different ways to measure your goal, depending on the objective you have in mind. If you’re applying to be a foster parent, you can set a deadline for having all the paperwork completed and returned. If you’d like to request respite care, think about how many times a month or year you could use a break.
  • Achievable: Avoid setting goals that may not be achievable. Maybe you would like to open your home to three foster children at one time, but your current lifestyle may not allow you to right now. It’s OK to start small and then dream bigger as your life changes. 
  • Realistic: Similar to achievable, a realistic goal needs to be one that can be attained within a particular period of time. Perhaps you’ve set a goal to become licensed as a foster parent within three months. While getting a foster parent license is achievable, the deadline may not be. Your case manager can help you set a realistic deadline which will keep you on course for receiving your foster care license.
  • Time-Bound: Setting a deadline for achieving your SMART goal is essential. It’s too easy to procrastinate or completely avoid the necessary steps for finally meeting your objective. If you would like to see your foster child receive counseling services or educational resources, work with the school, counselor, or case manager to set a deadline for services to begin. 

Supporting Foster Families Across Idaho

Learn more about our treatment foster care services by contacting RISE Idaho today. We offer several valuable solutions for families and their loved ones with developmental disabilities including children’s behavioral health services, developmental therapy for adults, community-based rehabilitation services, post-permanency services, and many more.

Source: Martins, Julia. “How to write SMART goals (and why they matter).” Web article. Asana. 19 Jul. 2022. Web. 10 Jan. 2023.