In the United States, there were 437,465 children in foster care in 2016 according to the Administration for Children and Family. These hundreds of thousands of children need a stable, caring environment. In some cases, fostering leads to adoption, but not in all cases for most it is temporary. Foster parents are in high demand and offer a unique ability to help shape a child’s life by opening their home to them.
Who Can Be a Foster Parent?
Adults aged 21 and older can become foster parents. They must not have a criminal background, history of child abuse, or be a registered sex offender. Applicants must also be financially stable. A foster parent doesn’t need to be perfect but should be patient and open-minded.
How to Become a Foster Parent
The first step after deciding to become a foster parent is to get in touch with a local care agency. The steps vary state-by-state but are overall similar. After filling out a preliminary application there will be criminal background checks along with a check for past child abuse. Financial information must also be provided to show the ability to care for additional children. There is a stipend available to foster parents, but they must be able to financially care for them without support.
After getting past the initial steps the home of the applicant will be visited to ensure that it is safe for children. Next comes the foster care training process Independence OH. Foster parents require training before they are approved as new foster parents plus will have to keep up with a certain number of training hours per year after approved; this amount varies by state. These courses educate foster parents on how to deal with a wide variety of situations and emotions while arming them with the skills that they will need to be successful. These initial classes take about two months.
When Will a Child be Placed with Me?
Although the national demand for foster parents is incredibly high it can vary by region. Foster parents can wait for as little as one day after getting licensed to have a child or children placed with them or it can take up to a year. It is best to always be prepared just in case.
There are many children that have been taken into the foster care system for a variety of reasons such as abuse and neglect. These children need kind foster parents to help them on their journey. Adults that have passed several background checks and the paper application can begin the licensing process. There are two months of educational courses preliminarily and on-going education that continues each year after certification. After completing all the requirements foster parents will begin being matched with children. This is where the opportunity comes to provide the TLC that most foster children desperately need. Foster parents make a huge difference in the lives of children no matter how long.