Foster parenting is a big, but rewarding experience. Helping vulnerable children by providing them with a safe and loving home is a selfless way to give back and support those who need it the most.
If you’ve been considering becoming a foster parent, but still aren’t quite sure, there are ways to evaluate if it’s right for you.
Spend time with children (of varying ages): Volunteer at an after-school program or group home facility. Offer to babysit for current foster families (this is also a great way to help support them and give them some time away!). Work with your local foster agency to see if they need someone to watch the kids during their regular foster care or group meetings.
Take a class (or two!): Sign up for trainings or courses on children and child development. Learn more about parenting and adolescent growth. Many colleges and community centers provide classes like this. You could also check with your local foster agency for their offerings.
Make sure you’re financially prepared: Foster parents receive financial support from the state’s agency, but it is important that you are fiscally responsible and are able to support the current needs of your family, and the new foster child.
Know the rules: All states are different, so it’s important to check out what your state requires of you to become a foster parent. What is the age requirement? How many references will you need? What is the application process like?
Consider your space: Make sure your home is big enough to add another person, and check if your local agency has any size requirements for bedrooms.
Think about transportation: A new person to care for comes with a bevy of new appointments. Do you have reliable transportation to take your foster child to the doctor, to school functions, and to meetings with the foster care agency?
Assess your adaptability: Sometimes a foster placement comes with very little warning. Are you ready and willing to take on a child without much notice?
Be prepared to change someone’s life: Foster parenting fills a gap between what a child needs and what their family is able to currently provide. Children in the foster care system deserve love and care, and to know that someone is looking out for them. Having this in their life is transformational.
When you’re considering the foster parent route, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Pathways FS is always here to provide you with the help and support you need to make the best choice for you and your family.