New York State has thousands of children in the foster care system. The state is always looking for safe and secure homes for short term and long term care for children in need. Foster parents can make a world of difference in the lives of the children they care for, even if it’s only for a few days.
Children in the foster care system quite often come from homes where they have been abused or are having problems that seem out of the parent’s control. Some families simply cannot care for their children properly and the state puts them in a home for temporary care.
What Does a Foster Parent Do?
A good foster parent has all the responsibilities of a natural parent, but must know at some point, the relationship must end. This is often quite hard on the foster family, but it is often a winning relationship for the child and foster parent.
Foster children are often troubled, and the foster parent must provide emotional support for the child while maintaining communication with the natural family. No matter how the foster parent may feel about the situation, they must remain objective.
Foster parents must provide medical and dental treatment for the children; provide shelter, clothing and education. They must also cooperate fully with any programs the state agency may have in mind to help the child with their problems, if they have any.
New York State also requires foster parents to work on a “life book” with the children the provide homes for. This book is to help the child understand their circumstances and to look forward to a brighter future.
The state of New York will look at each applicant individually for the capacity to care for children, offer a supportive environment, and the ability to work with case workers and other support persons.
Prospective foster parents must be in good physical and emotional health. They must give at least three people to contact for character references, and must show strong commitment to the role of a foster parent. Foster parent applicants must be over the age of 21.
All accepted applicants are required to attend an orientation either individually or with a group. They will receive training in dealing with troubled children and how to help a child adapt to an environment away from their home.
Before being approved, you will undergo a home study. This can take a few months to complete. You will be required to show some records, such as marriage license (if married), income records, and medical records. You must be willing to give a set of fingerprints and undergo a criminal history record check. Keep in mind these background checks extend to every person in your household over the age of 18.
New York will write you a check for each month you have a foster child in your care. As sad as this may sound, this is sometimes the only reason a person will become a foster parent. A good foster parent has the best interests of the child at heart, and opens their home to children in need because they want to make a difference. When venturing into foster care for the first time, remember there will be hard times, but the positive effect you may have on a child’s life is the biggest reward.