It comes with its share of responsibilities and incentives, but the responsibility of being a foster parent cannot be measured in numbers or descriptions.
As thousands of kids fall into the system for various reasons, you can be the guiding light that helps nurture a young individual into a responsible and confident adult.
The Joys Of Being A Foster Parent
So what are the joys of fostering? A lot of the benefits are very difficult to quantify but they are lifelong enriching experiences.
Parents who are reading this will understand the beautiful feeling of being the guardian of a precious young one. Fostering children too triggers those same parental emotions and hence it is a very rewarding responsibility.
Imagine helping a child overcome his or her greatest fears. It would be like watching a flower bloom, requiring tender care and understanding. You may not be with the children through every phase of their lives but you will always be an influential figure.
This role that you take up will stay with them for a long time and will be one of the few positive memories they will have of their childhood.
As a foster parent, you can be a real life superhero – teaching a child that the world is a beautiful place and allowing the kid a safe emotional and physical space to grow.
Prerequisites To Become A Foster Parent
The minimum age to be a foster parent is 21, although in some states it is 18. At the same time, to be a foster parent you will need a certain amount of experience and maturity, so those are better parameters to gauge the situation apart from age. You can be single and be a foster parent – it is wrongly believed that only married individuals can give foster care.
Financially stable –
You also need to be financially stable. Individuals who are not able to take care of their own basic needs will not be trusted with the extra responsibility of a foster child. Therefore, good financial health is a very important prerequisite to becoming a foster parent. There will also be a criminal background check and a check on the housing conditions.
How is your health? Are you spending a lot of time under medication or do you have a history of chronic illness? Your physical well-being is very important when you take up the responsibilities of a foster parent. Mental health is also evaluated to ensure that you are prepared on all fronts for this immense role.
Transportation and Connectivity –
Depending on the location of your home, the transportation options will also be evaluated. The child will need to be able to travel to school and also have access to nearby recreational areas. In some cases, you will need to have a car and a valid license to be able to take the child around for all the necessary appointments.
There will a lot of interaction with social workers who will evaluate certain aspects of the living environment. Foster children will need their own space in the house and if there are already children living there, there has to be an evaluation done to ensure a good transition for the new member.
As a foster parent, you will need to acquire specific skills to handle different situations with the foster child. There will be a lot of training in this regard and you will also have meetings and access to a larger network of social workers and experienced foster caregivers.
Build Relationships, Build Lives
As a foster parent, you get some incentives yourself from a financial perspective. There are funds allocated for the child’s basic needs and a little extra for you too. Some states provide tax breaks for this income.
Being a stakeholder in the foster network can be a frustrating affair. The children who receive care from you often have to go back to the environment they were taken away from. A lot of children have moved around and never earn the stability they deserve.
As a foster carer, you cannot control everything but this also emboldens you to make a difference while you can. Try to inculcate as much self-belief and confidence in the child while also helping him or her deal with academic and social requirements.
The foster period is an amazing journey of two people – you and your ward. It begins with two strangers meeting and often ends with two family members hugging tearful goodbyes.
Take in a child into your home and gain a relationship that will last a lifetime. Consider being a foster parent – this might be the calling of your life.