The first step toward becoming a foster care parent involves the desire and compassion to help abused and neglected children. Let’s explore how to take the desire to help foster children to the next steps, with a guide to starting the foster care process.
Are you ready?
Wanting to help children placed into foster care requires a stable lifestyle and a mature state of mind.
Mentally & Emotionally Ready
Being ready to be a foster parent comes with the awareness that foster children have often experienced a lot of trauma. They may have emotional and behavioral problems that are challenging.
You must be willing to open both your heart and your home to help foster care children with these problems. You must also prepare your heart and understand that the primary long-term goal of foster care is to reunite children with their families. You must be willing to work with biological parents and child welfare workers to achieve this goal.
Financially & Physically Ready
To be a foster care parent, you must be at least 21-years-old, and you must have adequate financial and physical security.
Your household should be in a permanent place, so that you can provide stability for foster care children. Your residence should have a separate room in your household for at least one foster child, as well as separate beds if you foster more than one child. Your home should also be clean and safe for children. Your home will need to pass inspection by the Department of Health.
You should have a good history of supporting yourself, such as through income from employment. Also, think of at least three people in your life who aren’t related to you, who know you well, and who would be willing to provide you with a personal reference. You will need these references to become a foster parent.
If you meet the mental, emotional, financial, and physical requirements, the next step is to fill-out an application to become a foster parent.
Keep in mind that you will need to complete a free ten-week training course before you become a foster parent. The course is called Partnering for Safety and Permanence – Model Approach to Partnership in Parent (PS-MAPP) training.