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Recommended Books for Foster Parents

Updated on April 4, 2017

Looking for books specific to foster care? Are you baffled by the system or the kids behaviors? These books help deal with everyday life & the realities of fostering kids in the system. I personally adore the Love & logic books, they really seemed to make a difference. However depending on the ages & special needs of the kids you take you may find many other helpful.

You'll find autobiographies of former foster kids, foster parents & great books to add to your toolbox!

Welcome to the Rollercoaster

This was a fantastic book! It several different perspectives at fostering and a few at adopting. The stories were real, filled with heartache and happiness, frustration with the system and hope for changes. There wasn't a single story that I didn't love and want to know more about. My favorite was Beautiful Transformations. I wish this foster parent would write an entire book on her experiences with medically fragile infants. This was a quick and easy read. It fanned the flame of desire in me to foster children and excites me greatly. I hope they write another book!

Faith & Foster Care: How We Impact God's Kingdom

Highly recommend this book for all foster parents and perspective foster parents. Anyone involved in the system knows it can be challenging, and filled with emotional ups and downs. This book reminded me why I started this journey in the first place. Dr. DeGarmo gives a biblical and honest perspective, and speaks from the heart from his years of experience as a foster parent. Yes, even with all of their experience, he and his wife still have days when they feel tired and burnt out. I loved the real-life stories from foster parents and especially the powerful stories of former foster youth.

Another Place at the Table

I love this book! I have purchased it four separate times already. Every time I meet someone interested in fostering I give my copy to them and have to rebuy it. I've read and reread it many times! Such an inspirational read for any foster parent or hopeful foster parents.

This book is great for a view of how the system works, what will really happen with the kids & real life experiences. The writer has been a foster parent over 13 years & has seen more than her share of issues.

The Explosive Child

Your not alone, the fits, the rage & the never ending arguments. There is help, this book is amazing, it not only helps explain the why's but puts practical tools in place to help you cope, help & deal with the little rager in your life.

I read The Explosive Child after reading The Defiant Child (and attending a Douglas Riley-esque parenting class). The problem with the premise in The Defiant Child, and in most of the negative reviews on this book, is that there are many adults who cling obstinately to the belief that these children are capable of doing better than they are, and if the adult can just make said child's life difficult enough, he/she will shape up.

The problem with that line of thinking, and the subsequent "strategies" it produces, is that no matter how much I punish a child, if he/she is incapable of doing better, the issues we face will persist. It is akin to punishing a child who needs glasses for not being able to see. A much better solution all around would be to get him/her glasses.

My daughter, in the Riley worldview, would be "punishing me" or "controlling" and "manipulating." What I saw was a little girl who was so very overwhelmed by various aspects of her environment, that she had no adaptations, no ability to cope. I can't imagine what it must be like to live in a world where the way your plate is turned at dinner, or which direction your socks are facing, is so overwhelming a proposition that you lose the ability to function and/or think rationally. That's the little girl I was living with. The little girl who could blow up over the most incomprehensible thing, and for whom most of life's daily situations and frustrations were just more than she could bear.

Parenting the Hurt Child - Helping Adoptive Families Heal and Grow

Parenting the Hurt Child
Parenting the Hurt Child

Parenting the Hurt Child: Helping Adoptive Families Heal and Grow

This book is worth reading a few times & adding bookmarks! With 3 teens in the house it's advice is crucial to understanding what they have been thru & why they think like they do. It's an amazing book.

This book was extremely helpful. I changed many of my parenting practices after reading it and our home is so much happier now. I think anyone considering adoption or hoping to be foster parents should read this book. It would make a very nice gift. I plan to read it several more times as my children grow. I recommend family and friends who want to best support adoptive/foster parents read this too.


Love & Logic Series

These books are helpful for any kids not just foster children. I have all the ones listed below & have referenced them many times when I felt lost.

Parenting With Love And Logic (Updated and Expanded Edition)
Parenting With Love And Logic (Updated and Expanded Edition)

This book is a parenting game-changer. Certainly not every parenting method will work with every child or temperament. I can say, though, that I was a very strong willed child myself, and if my parents had used these methods, our house would have been much more peaceful, relationships improved, and I probably wouldn't have made some of the poor choices as an older teen that I did. I have personally seen these principles used with great success in children of friends and family members.

Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood: Practical Parenting From Birth to Six Years
Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood: Practical Parenting From Birth to Six Years

A great book if you have toddlers, it keeps parenting lighthearted & makes things a bit more manageable.

Parenting Teens With Love And Logic: Preparing Adolescents for Responsible Adulthood, Updated and Expanded Edition
Parenting Teens With Love And Logic: Preparing Adolescents for Responsible Adulthood, Updated and Expanded Edition

I've long been a fan of Parenting with Love and Logic... I purchased this book for a friend who was struggling with how to deal with her 12 year old daughter who is delightful, but a typical, challenging teenager. Mom was frustrated with the increasingly frequent "battles" over the smallest things, and not liking the feeling of always being at odds with her daughter. I was hoping sharing Love & Logic would help encourage her and provide her with some effective tools. Well, she called tonight to say she is working her way through the book and has already put some of the ideas she's learned into practice - with good results.


To the End of June: The Intimate Life of American Foster Care

In my opinion, one of the best books that uncovers the complicated and dysfunctional US foster care system and how it affects the children and families in it. Such an important read for anyone who wants to have both an intimate and over-arching understanding of the foster care system.

Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew

Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew
Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew

Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew

Thinking of adopting? This book is a great read while you are waiting to meet your kiddo. It brings it down to their level & points out what may not be obvious when you are in the process.

I LOVE this book!!! As a parent of an adopted child I always wanted him to embrace the fact that he was adopted. This book was very eye opening as to the feelings and insights of children who are adopted. The topics discussed in the book have long been discussed between my son and I. It is a wonderful conversation starter. I was not aware of all the issues an adopted child CAN experience. This book really brought some of the issues to the forefront and allowed my son and I to have a completely open conversation about what he is feeling.

Books on Dealing with Behavior Problems

10 Days to a Less Defiant Child: The Breakthrough Program for Overcoming Your Child's Difficult Behavior
10 Days to a Less Defiant Child: The Breakthrough Program for Overcoming Your Child's Difficult Behavior

This is the best book on childhood defiance I have read, and I've read a lot of them. The book describes a general approach more than it outlines specific things to say or do but that is the beauty of this book--when you get the hang of the new approach you can quickly adapt it to the situation at hand. And the approach also does really work. Straight up behaviorism (like 123 Magic) didn't work for us, it elicited more defiance; I couldn't get on board with books like the Explosive Child as I thought that gave defiant kids too much leeway for problematic behavior. This book is a good middle ground where the parent is in charge still but learns to understand the source of the defiance, align better with the child, and side step power struggles. It has really worked for us and my child is much more easy going now both at home and school.

Beyond Consequences, Logic, and Control: A Love-Based Approach to Helping Attachment-Challenged Children With Severe Behaviors
Beyond Consequences, Logic, and Control: A Love-Based Approach to Helping Attachment-Challenged Children With Severe Behaviors

Done the love & logic? Still pulling your hair out? Try this one. his is a really great book for parents of adopted, foster, or other traumatized children. It gives a scenario, then the traditional approach, then a new approach. Oh how I relate to the traditional approach! Without knowing it, that is what I thought & what I've heard so many times from peers & parents! This book gave me more empathy, and a new way to view behaviors with the kiddos I'm helping. I also got this book on Audible. I had to keep pausing the audio because I was blown away. They were describing some of my situations! It took me some time to digest (although it is not in complicated language, it gives deep insight). I will be re-reading/listening.


The Lost Boy: A Foster Child's Search for the Love of a Family

A very captivating look at how a child perceived the foster care system & the challenges he faced by just being a "foster child". This one is a must read for prospective foster parents, the story is heart wrenching but the outcome is amazing.

A Child Called "It": One Child's Courage to Survive

This book is not for the squeamish, it's a graphic tale of an abused child in his own words. I would recommend it to anyone looking into foster care simply because it gives you the perspective of what the child may have gone through. Just make sure you have a box of tissues handy.

One Small Boat

The Story of a Little Girl, Lost Then Found

A very touching story about a 5 year old in foster care with a past of sexual abuse & how she grows & copes. Written by the foster parent that helped her & witnessed her struggles.

Did I miss a fantastic book?

Please feel free to post any relevant foster parenting or parenting books here.

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    • profile image


      3 months ago

      Facilitating Developmental Attachment: The Road to Emotional Recovery and Behavioral Change in Foster and Adopted Children by Daniel Hughes

      And definitely anything by Dr. Bruce Perry!

    • profile image


      20 months ago

      I would add Three Little Words and Three More Words by Ashley Rhodes-Courter!

    • kimberlyschimmel profile image

      Kimberly Schimmel, MLS 

      5 years ago from Greensboro, NC

      What a resource! Thanks for collecting this info in one convenient place.

    • groovyfind profile imageAUTHOR

      Samantha Devereux 

      6 years ago from Columbia Mo

      @anonymous: Thanks!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      A new one is The Foster Parenting Toolbox edited by Kim Hansel find it here on Amazon

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Great Lens!. I will definitely re-visit when I can review all the books.My and I foster 6 children and we're always looking for books to help improve our family.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      @anonymous: Thankyou for that I am half way through the process and do hope I qualify to be a Foster Parent who can care for these children that need a good nurturing home to be in, I hope to change a life as you say you have done so many times so good to hear there are wonderful caring people out there.......I have lots of books for the knowledge but like you say this is a hands on job as my Childminding was.... Look forward to it.....

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I've read several of these books but the best teacher is experience. I've been a foster parent for 15 years. I think I've seen it all until the next child comes with new surprises. You can not believe some of the lives these poor kids have led and the horrors they've been exposed to - their disclosures are raw and shocking. For you folks thinking about becoming foster parents - don't wait! There is a great need for good people who want to make this world a better place for a child in need. You can change a life - and it will definitely change yours!

    • JillY88 profile image


      7 years ago

      It has always amazed me how children can be put into such terrible foster homes where foster parents treat them so badly, I want to save them all. I think about being a foster parent a lot and I read a lot of books about raising children. Some of these books look very good. Thanks for a very informative lens.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I am looking to be a Foster Carer and would love more knowledge and help about the process so I am well prepared, any info or people out there??????Any good books to read to help me?

    • Ann Hinds profile image

      Ann Hinds 

      7 years ago from So Cal

      Great resources. Angel blessed.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      My name is april, I was in foster care for two years... There was a book that I read that really stuck with me. It was about a girl and her brother and they were placed in a home where the house mother treated them horibly drink hot sauce when they got in trouble and didnt get to eat things like that... I would love to get it but I cant seem to remember the name of the book :( I can picture the cover and what it looks like and have searched for it and nothing if you can help me it would mean so much! is my email

    • mysticmama lm profile image

      Bambi Watson 

      9 years ago



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