Becoming a Foster Parent – What You Need to Know

One of the things that could occur to one about foster care is, how is becoming a foster parent different from adoption.

Whereas adoption is a permanent situation where all the responsibilities and decisions relating to a child are taken by the adoptive parent(s), foster care is a more temporary situation that can be seen as a stepping stone to permanent adoption for a child.

Becoming a foster parent to a child still involves a considerable amount of participation by social workers or government agencies in the upbringing of a child, their education and so on.

The average length of stay by 31% children in foster care is between a month to one year, 20% kids stay in foster care between one and two years, 28% stay for between 2 and 4 years, 17% are in foster care for over 5 years and only 4% of children stay in foster care for less than a month.

However, there are certain specific criteria to become a foster parent that have to be fulfilled.

A person doesn’t have to be married or have any prior experience in child rearing however the following criteria has to be met if one is considering foster parenting-

  • The would-be foster parent has to be over the age of 21 and below 65 (as per certain states’ requirements)
  • Though compensation/reimbursement is paid to foster parents for care of a foster child, the would-be parent(s) still have to have the financial means to look after their own family needs. It is important to remember that becoming a foster parent is not a means to earn money.
  • A would be foster parent should have the space in their home to provide a foster child with their own room or at least their own bed and some amount of personal storage space.
  • Certain home safety standards are also required to be met if one wants to be considered to be a foster parent.
  • Sound physical and mental health are also prerequisites for foster parents.
  • People who want to become foster parents are required to answer fairly detailed questions about their motives, lifestyle, and their abilities and so on before they are allowed to become foster parents. Further would-be foster parents are also required to undergo certain training programs and may later have their homes subject to thorough inspection; even unscheduled.

Even if you do meet all the above criteria to become a foster parent, there are many other factors to consider about being a foster parent, to gauge whether one is suitable foster parent material. Some of the fostering agencies like that help you become a foster parent and help children and young people to rebuild their lives!

Very often foster parents end up spending more on a foster child than the state pays them. Signing up for foster care means that it could be a small baby that one has to care for; but equally it could be a hostile teen with issues.

Caring for a child is a time consuming process, so consider if you have the time and the resources to become a foster parent. Also becoming a foster parent is a temporary thing by definition – it could be a wrench if a child is to return to their biological parent or if the child gets adopted by a family.


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