Many people understandably feel daunted at the prospect of foster parenting. Caring for a child is a big job. Caring for someone else’s child is even more complicated. But potential foster parents actually have some pretty simple qualifications to meet.
The basic rule regarding space is that each foster child must have his or her own bed, and enough room for personal belongings. More specifically, a sleeping area cannot be
- a common room (like a living room),
- a coed room (shared by boys and girls)
- an unfinished room (like an unfinished basement),
- or a passageway to other areas (like a hallway or porch).
If a bedroom is safe and comfortable for a guest, chances are it’s perfectly acceptable for a foster child.
If you feel like your life is too crazy for you to be a foster parent, don’t fret. Providing stability doesn’t mean never having a hectic schedule or always feeling calm and in control. You simply need
- stable finances (enough money to pay bills and provide food and clothing),
- a stable location (permanent home address),
- and stable health (no debilitating or untreated physical or mental illness).
Patience, Kindness, Empathy
Children are humans with human needs and emotions, but are not fully developed in their ability to cope with and communicate those needs and emotions. Therefore, foster parents need
- patience (ability to calmly wait, explain, and correct),
- kindness (desire and ability to do good to others),
- and empathy (ability to see a situation from someone else’s perspective).
These basic relational skills are helpful and necessary in all your interactions. If you’re considering foster care, you probably already have them.
Positive, Can-Do Attitude
Everyone gets discouraged sometimes. Interactions with the system, foster child, and child’s biological family can be discouraging. But to be a foster parent, you simply need to persevere in your can-do attitude. Even the most qualified foster parents feel down sometimes. What makes them the most qualified is their willingness to cheer themselves up and keep at the task – loving their foster child.