June 22, 2024

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What Is Foster Care? – Becoming a Foster Parent

3 min read

All children need a safe and stable family in which to grow. For many children who have been abused and neglected, this may mean a foster family. There are thousands of children placed in foster care every year. Many of these children become available for adoption. There is a great demand and need for foster parents that are willing to open their hearts and homes to children with a variety of needs Could you be the person to make a change in a child’s life?

What is foster care?

Foster care is temporary care for children who cannot stay at home with their parents due to various family circumstances. Children remain in foster care until it is determined by the court or child protection professional that it is safe for the child to return to their home. Most children are reunited with their families.

How is fostering similar to parenting your own child?

Foster parents:

  • Provide daily care and supervision to the children placed in their home
  • Provide the child’s basic physical and emotional needs
  • Provide structure, rules, discipline; and teach values, as well as self- direction
  • Model appropriate parent/child relationships

How is fostering different from parenting your own child?

Foster parenting:

  • Means accepting children on a variety of developmental levels that may not match the child’s chronological age
  • Means accepting that there may be limited time to work with or care for a child before the child returns home to their birth family
  • Is also different by having agency involvement and working as a team to achieve goals for the child
  • Is different due to you having more responsibilities to the child than legal rights to the child
  • May involve allowing children to maintain contact with their primary family or parents through visitation or other means of communication

How is fostering similar to a job?

Foster parents:

  • Have distinct duties and responsibilities
  • Are held accountable and can be terminated due to poor job performance
  • Work with other professionals in their community
  • Keep records and documentation
  • Maintain confidentiality and personal integrity
  • Receive reimbursement for the time and care they provide to a child

How is fostering different than a job?

  • Fostering involves the entire family or household to provide warmth, understanding and commitment
  • Fostering involves being on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week
  • Fostering requires a high level of autonomy
  • Fostering sometimes takes a great deal of time to see the results of your hard work and effort

As a foster parent…

  • You may be married, single or divorced
  • You may have other children in your home
  • You must be at least 21 years of age
  • You can be straight, gay or lesbian You can rent or own your home or apartment
  • You will receive training to help you parent children who have been separated from their birth families
  • You will receive financial assistance to help meet your child’s daily living expenses

Are you ready to become a foster parent?

  • Do you have enough room to accommodate another person in your household?
  • Are you physically and emotionally capable of caring for children?
  • Is your police background check free from crime, such as drug involvement, child abuse or violence?
  • Do you have income adequate and stable enough to meet your current family’s needs?
  • Are you willing to have a safety inspection completed of your home, and are you willing to complete the home study process?
  • Are you willing to attend a mandatory 36-hour pre-service training that prepares you for foster parenting?
  • Will you attend mandatory ongoing training to maintain your foster parent license?

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