Succeeding as a Foster Child: A Workbook

By Jamie Schwandt Adoption World Publishing, 2017, 60 pages, $13.95 Life would be so much easier some days if it came with directions to help navigate the various challenges we often face. For kids in foster care, those challenges can be even more immense than those faced by the general population. Understanding that from the personal perspective of having been in foster care and aging out of the system, Dr. Jamie Schwandt has created a guide for other kids in care. The new “Succeeding as a Foster Child” is a workbook that is designed as a guide to help current and former foster youth grow and overcome the obstacles that are so often faced and often lead to harsh statistics: only 54 percent of foster children complete high school, 2 percent complete a bachelor’s degree, 25 percent become homeless after exiting care, etc. The workbook is designed to inspire individuals to overcome the challenges and hopefully avoid becoming one of those statistics. “Succeeding as a Foster Child” includes 10 chapters covering everything from positive thinking to the power of education. Each chapter provides information on the topic being discussed as well as exercises to complete. The exercises focus on mindfulness around the various thoughts, feelings and emotions they may have about being in foster care and their life in general. The workbook encourages the reader to do some deep thinking and create goals, personal mission statements and visions for the future. It includes pages to identify a post-high school plan, as well as a transitional plan to adulthood. There are some simple lists of important documents to secure, and questions about health insurance, obtaining birth control and housing information. The workbook is a practical, hands-on tool that’s easy to use for kids in foster care who will be transitioning to adulthood soon. The topics covered could potentially save a child’s life, especially considering that about 20,000 youth age out of foster care every year without any type of permanency. Having information on insurance, important documents and other details can help to set up youth to be better prepared for adulthood. The last chapter is a list of resources that youth can access for help. The great part about “Succeeding as a Foster Child” is that it was created by someone who has aged out of foster care and has been thoughtful about what pieces are most important for transition-age youth. If you currently have a youth in your care who’s 16 or older, this workbook would be a great tool to provide. — Reviewed by Kim Phagan-Hansel  

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