Having career conversations with your foster children is even more important these days. As always, they need your support and guidance to help them become responsible adults and enjoy a bright future.
However, they may now have less access to other resources due to COVID-19. It may be harder for them to talk with their guidance counselor and visit their school career center. They may also be facing a more difficult job market when they do graduate.
Here are some suggestions to help foster parents talk about career options and paths:
Explore Career Interests with Your Foster Children:
Start by having a relaxed chat about what your foster child likes to do and what they’re good at. Observe their daily habits and help them to recognize their strengths. Guide them as they clarify their values and their own definition of success.
The Occupational Outlook Handbook is still a valuable resource. You probably remember this classic Labor Department publication with its summary of all kinds of jobs along with the training and education requirements, earnings and hiring prospects, and detailed descriptions.
Of course, there’s endless information online too. Visit sites like Youth.gov, a federal government website for parents and youths. You’ll find everything from aptitude tests to current employment opportunities. Mentors and other role models help too, so kids can talk with someone about real life experiences and weigh the pros and cons of any field. Use contacts in your own network or ask your foster agency for assistance.
How do you translate these dreams into reality? Help your foster child to develop a concrete action plan. That might include preparing for college or vocational school, and seeking internships and other workplace experience. Discuss possible sources of financial aid. Make your career conversations ongoing, so your foster child will keep making progress toward finding the satisfaction and independence that come with meaningful work