Foster Parents: How to Qualify?

Becoming a foster parent is a rewarding job. However, foster care requires sacrifices. Foster children come from a variety of backgrounds. This includes children from abused households or low income families. Because of previous abuse, some foster children have emotional problems and require counseling. As a foster parent, the child’s problems become your problems. Hence, before agreeing to become a foster parent, consider the following factors.

Emotional Affects of Becoming a Foster Parent. Before becoming a foster parent, you will likely undergo a counseling session with a social worker. For the most part, foster parents should be careful about developing an attachment to the children. The length of time a child lives in your home will vary. Some children will remain for a few weeks, whereas others may live with you for several years. Becoming attached to the children will make it extremely difficult to say goodbye. Thus, potential foster parents must realistically consider whether they handle the emotional effects of returning a foster child.

Moreover, potential foster parents should consider how other family members will respond to additional people living in the home. If other children are living at home, it is important for parents to divide their time equally. In some cases, foster children require a lot of reassurance and attention. Blood children could become jealous or resentful. Furthermore, the constant change of having different children coming and going may become emotionally draining.

Do You Have Time? If committing to become a foster parent, it is essential to devote adequate time to the children. For example, if your employment schedule requires working long hours or frequent travel, foster parenting may not be the right choice. Moreover, it helps to have a two-parent household. This way, the children enjoy the influence of both a male and female. Upon receiving children, it is required that foster parents spend quality time with the children.

Foster Care is Not a Means of Making Quick Cash. Although foster parents receive monthly compensation from the state, those agreeing to become foster parents should not view caring for trouble children as a way to stay home and get paid. For the most part, the money obtained from the state is just enough to care for the children. This includes providing food, clothing, childcare expenses, medical expenses, etc. As a result of some foster parents attempting to scam the system, many states limit the number of foster kids a family can receive.

Undergo Counseling and Training. Before a parent is approved by the state, they must complete an application with the Social Services Department in their city. Social workers will inquire about living arrangements, income, occupations, and reasons for applying as foster parents. Upon completion of the application, trained counselors will assess a family’s mental stability. Next, potential foster parents must complete foster parenting training classes. These classes are designed to prepare parents for the possible mishaps that may occur when caring for foster children.

Upon inspection of the home, social workers may suggest possible changes to make the home safer. For example, foster parents may consider installing a fence in the backyard, acquiring a cover for swimming pools, etc.

Be Committed to Foster Parenting. Foster children will have different personalities. Some children will have sweet dispositions, whereas others will be depressed troublemakers. If a child is too much to handle, foster parents have the option of returning the child to social services. To remain a qualified foster parent, avoid declining children. Children with behavior problems and mood swings are expected in the foster care system. If unwilling to accept children with less than perfect attitudes, foster parenting may not be wise choice for you.

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