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Episode 233: You Don’t Have to Foster to Care (w/ Maddie Box)

You will often hear us say, “You don’t have to foster to care.” One of the most important aspects of foster parenting (without burning out) is having a supportive community of people around you.

I have the honor today of talking with someone in this critical support role. Maddie Box  is 26 years old and works as a pediatric speech-language pathologist, and she has organically found herself in the role of a support person to multiple foster parents.

In this episode, you’ll hear how this role is far more critical than many people realize, some of the simple ways foster parents need support, the most practical way to offer help, and so much more.


1. The small things add up.

When it comes to supporting foster families, you won’t be able to take everything off their plate. However, you can take away some of the smaller things. You may be able to help bring them a meal or play with children so the foster parents can get a load of laundry done, take a shower, or catch up on some things. It may seem small but these things add up over time!

“There are so many things that I didn’t realize in the moment meant so much to them.”

2. People in support roles help families feel seen.

When you step up to meet practical needs, foster parents feel seen. You are communicating that they are not alone and that you are with them when times get tough. This may mean showing up even when it isn’t convenient or on a hard day.

“It’s those moments when foster families feel like you really do see them.”

3. Assume there is a need.

Rather than asking if there is a need, assume there is. Instead of asking if they need a meal, ask this: “I’m at the grocery store, what can I pick up for you for dinner?” This small change helps out in a big way! The type of need may change as new children come into their home, the age of each child, or as the children are in the home for longer, but there will always be various needs for support.

“There are always needs.”


We hope this episode has helped you wherever you are on your foster care journey. That’s the goal! If so, will you tell others?

Share this post or rate the podcast on Apple Podcasts (or wherever you listen) and leave us a brief review

Meet Our Guest

Maddie Box is a pediatric speech-language pathologist. She serves the foster care community in the role of a support person. Maddie loves working with children, her cat, October, and asking good questions.

Foster Parents, check with your agency to see if listening to this podcast will count toward your foster care training hours!


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