Fostering a child can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. You’ll be providing a home to a child who was abused, neglected or abandoned until a more permanent home can be found. Are you ready to take on the responsibility and make a difference in a child’s life? Here’s how to become a foster parent:
Step #1: Think it through
Before you make your decision, you’ll want to make sure that you’re ready to take on the responsibility of raising a child and providing a stable home. Raising a child can be expensive, so it’s important to consider whether or not you can afford this. Some people might even want to ask “how much does it cost to raise a child” before agreeing to the responsibility. Of course, people always struggle to cover the costs of raising a child. Luckily, there are a number of ways that foster parents can find financial help if they ever need it, such as fundraising. Don’t worry too much about finances, but make sure you can provide a stable life for the child. You will also be expected to attend regular meetings with the child’s social worker and pay for any expenses that aren’t covered by the state, including childcare, if needed.
Step #2: Find an agency
There are a variety of state, county, and private agencies. Do your research, attend the orientation, and ask a lot of questions. A good agency is communicative, sets expectations upfront, and is knowledgeable about the process in your state.
Step #3: Follow the rules of your state
After you attend orientation, you’ll need to fulfill all of the requirements to become a foster parent in your state. These can include parenting courses, background checks, home inspections and a home study.
Step #4: Wait it out
The entire process takes about a year so don’t be discouraged if you feel like things are moving slower than anticipated.
Step #5: Make them feel at home
Once a child or sibling group is placed in your home, it is important to make them feel like they are part of the family. If you treat them differently than your other children or make them feel like outsiders, the placement won’t be successful.