Words have many different meanings and it’s funny as a foster parent you learn quickly the words you should and should not use when dealing with the state.  Here’s my big WARNING sign to you all.  The language you used before becoming a foster parent will have to be adjusted.  You might be thinking like not using brown words like Sh!* or F@c$; are the main words I would be focusing on but truth be told I’m a mama that cusses and these are not the brown words that may get you in trouble with the state.


Discipline and Punishment.  These are two words I used with my bios for years.  I’m pretty old school when it comes to rules.  When your asked to do something you do it and our form of discipline or punishment normally would fall under the you’re grounded or you cannot participate in certain events.  It’s a common practice that most parents I know use and for years I’ve watched children including mine grow to understand that if I do this I may not be able to go to the movies or hang out with my friends for the next week luckily my kids are smarter then I was as a child and normally pick the right path.

Now I’m not saying that in those moments of when a child misbehaves there cannot be CONSEQUENCES what I’m saying is when you are dealing with the state when you are dealing with describing your interactions with the children in your home your brown words list becomes a whole new list of do’s and don’ts.

Here’s a personal example Ill share with you.  I use the word the word grab.  Hey son will you go grab your sister.  Hey kids will you go grab me a drink.  Hey cutie will you go grab your shoes.  There’s no harm in the word grab that’s until you’re dealing with an assessment.  When I was recently being interviewed for an assessment that had been placed on me I was questioned about the day.  My interactions with the child what may or may not have happened (side note always make sure you have your foster representative with you or someone who can be your witness when dealing with assessments and the state).  In this particular case our FS (Foster Son) they were questioning me about is a runner he always has been and it’s something that we are finally seeing improvement on.  I’ve heard case workers, SSA’s and other state staff use grabbed when dealing with him.  “Today at visit he made a run for it so I grabbed him before hitting the parking lot.”

So when describing our day “Yeah we came home that day and I grabbed him out of the car at one point”.  I guarantee when I just used the word grabbed you thought nothing of it no brown word here but this would come back and bite me in the ass. Apparently the “eye witness” testimony which was not told to me until after my statement was taken described me as AGGRESSIVELY GRABBING our FS.  Do you see the oohhh crap connection moment happening here?  So guess what word is now added to my brown list?

Discipline and Punishment are words that should be added to your brown list words.  Maybe it’s because most of us were raised when discipline and punishment were words to describe forms of corporal punishment so when talking with the state this is where their heads go.

You guys these are the things you are not warned about these are the things that foster parents have to deal with.  Being a safe place to land for fosters is amazing doing the dirty work is amazing but we as a community (foster and non foster) need to start discussing need to start educating what foster care really looks like and how to protect the kids and the people that serve them.

What does your BROWN list of words look like?