Interested in becoming a foster parent, but not sure where to start? Foster parenting is a great way to make a lifelong impact on the life of a child.
Over the years, there has been an increased need for foster parents. This means that now is better than ever to learn about the process and expectations when you foster a child.
You may be asking, “How does foster parenting work?” We’re here to tell you the benefits of foster parenting, foster parenting requirements, and more about the process of becoming a foster parent, so that you can change the life of a child today.
There are resources available to help you through your foster care journey, starting with this guide.
What Is Foster Parenting?
Foster care has existed centuries before the beginning of the United States. Children get placed at a temporary home in some form or another to help them find safety from harmful situations and lifestyles.
In the 1800s, Charles Loring Brace began initiatives focusing on child welfare, eventually forming the New York Child’s Aid Society. This organization responded to the number of children that Brace saw wandering the streets of New York City, helping children escape a life of alcoholism, crime, or negligent parents.
Today, foster parenting begins when a child enters the foster system. Children become a part of the foster system.
Child Protective Services files a report and the social worker decides a living situation is not fit for a child. If there are no other family members fit to watch a child, the child will enter the foster care system.
Once in the foster system, children are placed with a foster family to take care of them. In many cases, the birth parent or original guardian of the child in foster care reunifies with the child after completing the necessary measures to prove that they are fit guardians of the child.
To show that your interest in fostering a child, you’ll need to contact the Division of Social Services to get more information. From there, you can fill out a foster parenting application so the foster care agency can begin to determine if your home would be a good fit for a child in the foster care system.
Once the foster care agency is interested in you, they will conduct a home study to ensure that your home is a safe place for the child to grow. During this time, you should also take foster care training courses to best prepare you for the experience of fostering a child.
If this is successful, you will be accepted as a foster parent, and a child will be placed in your care.
During their time with the foster family, the child will need a place to call home. Foster parents make sure that the child receives adequate food, shelter, and clothing. They must make sure that students attend school and have the proper medical care provided if needed.
Becoming a foster parent means that you are responsible for the foster child until notified that the child is going to change his or her living situation. Foster parents and foster children must consistently meet with a social worker.
This is to make sure that the child is in a safe environment and that they are adjusting well to their new home.
Foster Parent Requirements
You do not have to be married or have children to become a foster parent. It’s important to be aware of what are foster parenting requirements as you begin the process to fully understand what you’ll need to do.
Foster parents must be older than 21 years, and some states have a maximum age in place for those looking to foster a child. Those looking to be foster parents must be in good mental and physical health to make sure they are best able to provide for a child.
Make sure to take a criminal background check so the foster care agency can note that you are a safe place for a child. Your household must have stable financial resources to ensure that you can care for the child the entire time.
All potential homes for foster children must undergo a safety inspection to ensure the wellbeing of the child. This helps the foster care agency make sure that the child will have a home that gives them the proper love, care, and education needed for the child to grow.
Benefits of Foster Parenting
As a foster parent, you will be able to greatly impact a child’s life. Even if the child stays in your home for a very brief period of time, you know that you have provided him or her with a stable and loving environment during the transition period.
Many foster children come with the need for psychological support. This can be due to trauma caused by abuse or neglect from their birth parents. Being a foster parent means that you can support a child through difficult times and provide them a safe and nurturing environment to heal.
As a foster parent, you will receive a monthly subsidy. This subsidy comes in the form of SNAP, WIC, and Medicaid. Your child will also have access to a program offering free school breakfast and lunch.
Learn More About Fostering a Child
You will need to make sure the child that you are fostering is supervised all day. Be patient, gentle, and loving with foster children as they are processing the stressful situations from their previous home life. Each day, you will need to make sure that your foster child is in an environment where they can be both happy and healthy.
It would also be helpful to learn more about what we do at Benchmark Family Services. You can see the services and resources we provide to those interested in being foster parents.
If you are interested in becoming a foster parent, reach out to us today and we can help get you started on the foster parenting process.