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How to Become A Foster Parent

Should I Become a Foster Parent?

Being able to care for children who can’t be looked after by their families is a noble endeavor in itself. The foster care system in the United States tries its best to provide such at-risk children with a safe and congenial environment to grow up in. And this makes the role of faster parents extremely important.



There are multiple reasons why a child’s biological parents may not be able to provide them the care and sustenance that they deserve. It might be poverty, mental health problems, unemployment, drug/substance abuse, etc. on the part of one or both the parents.

This is where the foster system comes in to provide these unfortunate little ones with a safe, loving and enabling family for some time. Foster care can be of different types such as traditional care, medical or therapeutic help, emergency care, short-term shelter, relative or kinship support, etc.

Becoming a foster parent is not exactly a lifetime commitment from your side to the child or their biological family. However, it is certainly a responsibility to make a positive difference in the life of a child dealing with unfortunate circumstances. If you want to know what needs to be done to become a foster parent, this guide is for you. 

Education

No binding requirement

License/Certification

Mandatory (Varies by State)

Experience / Training

Not a binding requirement but prior experience of foster parenting can certainly come in handy.

 

Key Skills and Abilities

Open communication, self-reflection and assessment, behavioral management, ability to deal with unexpected challenges.

 

Source: National Foster Parent Association (NFPA)

Being able to communicate with complete honesty all the time is one of the most important skills needed to be a good foster parent. As the guardian of a foster kid, you have to maintain open communication not just with the children but their biological family, school authorities and foster agency staff. The ability to self-reflect and keep a cool head under stress are also some of the traits needed to be a foster parent.

Steps to Become a Foster Parent

To become a foster parent, you must fulfill the following requirements and then get in touch with a foster care agency near you.

  1. Ability to meet the emotional, physical and developmental needs of the child.
  2. Be able to provide 24/7 care and support to the child.
  3. Be able to take care of your own financial needs independent of the foster child’s stipend.
  4. Have an adequate and welcoming home that is free from fire and safety hazards.
  5. Pass a thorough background investigation.
  6. Possess the ability to work in a team environment.
  7. Earn a license/certification that will enable you to take a foster child under your wing. 

Licensing requirements for foster parents vary from one state to another. Moreover, different counties may have separate requirements too. In this regard, a good place to gather further information is the Child Welfare Information Gateway - State Resources.

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