Open your Heart...
And your Home
COULD YOU BE A FOSTER PARENT?
Maybe! Here are some questions to ask yourself:
· Do you have a strong support system of friends and/or family?
· Are you a patient person? Are you willing to continually give and very rarely
get anything in return, except for the knowledge that you are helping a family?
· Many people enter into foster care thinking that they are rescuing a
poor child from an abusive parent.
These foster parents believe that the child will be grateful and relieved to be
out of their home situation. This is rarely the case. The child’s situation is his/her
“normal.” Be prepared for the child to be anything but happy about being in your
home. Kids in care have sometimes been neglected or physically, sexually, or
mentally abused. These children can be angry, resentful, and sad. They may
take it out on their foster parents. Are you willing and able to deal with what the
children may put on you and not take it personally?
· Are you willing to have social workers in your home? Can you work in a
partnership with a team of professionals to help the child either get back home or
to another permanent placement, such as adoption? This requires excellent
communication skills on your part and a commitment to follow the plan set forth by
the social worker and courts.
· Can you say goodbye? Foster care is not a permanent arrangement. However,
you and your family will attach to this child. Will you be able to cope with
the loss of this child that you have cared for?
· If you have children of your own, how do they feel about doing foster
care? Your children will have to share their home, room, toys, and parents.
They sacrifice a lot in becoming part of a foster family.
· What type of children can you parent at this time? Consider the ages
and gender of a child. You will also be given choices on what behaviors and
special needs you feel that you can and cannot parent at this time. Be aware
that the Agency is not always aware of a child’s behaviors at the time of placement.
· Do you have a lot to give? Are you ready to throw a child his/her first birthday party? Can you help him/her decorate a first Christmas tree or carve a first pumpkin? Help the child to see that families are a great place to grow up and show him/her an excellent role
model of healthy family relationships? Give him/her an opportunity to heal and grow?
WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS TO BE A FOSTER PARENT?
You must be:
· At least 21 years old
· Free from communicable disease or health problems that impair your
ability to care for children
· Mentally and emotionally stable
· Able to meet your financial obligations and have a consistent
source of income (not public assistance)
· Complete pre-services training
· Complete a home study with the Agency and receive a favorable recommendation
· To be able to work with the birth family and participate in Shared Parenting for the best interest of the Child
WHAT DO FOSTER PARENTS DO?
Foster parents play a vital role in the lives of foster children and their families. They do a lot including:
Providing for the basic daily needs of foster children, such as food, clothing, shelter and supervision.
Transporting foster children to appointments, court hearings, and visits with family.
Arranging medical and dental care for foster children.
Role modeling positive parenting to the foster child’s birth family.
Children come into care for a Variety of reasons…
Children may come into care through involvement with Child Protective Services
due to allegations of abuse, neglect, and/or dependency. Their parents may also
lack the parenting skills necessary to nurture and discipline them properly.
Children may also come into care through court order and involvement of the Office
of Juvenile Justice.
Different Types of Foster Care…
Emergency/Respite Foster Care
A child may be in need of placement for a short period of time. The reasons vary from pending relative home studies, emergency removal by protective services, an existing placement may have had previous plans or just need a break, or current placement disrupts.
Family Foster Care
A Family home where a child in care will live, as part of the family
The Primary Goal of Foster Care is…
To provide a safe, temporary place for children to live until they can be in a permanent placement, whether that may be with birth family, relatives or a pre-adoptive family. Children of any age from birth to eighteen years of age may come into care.
What kind of people are foster parents?
Foster parents are regular people. They may be younger or older; have young children,
adult children , or no biological children. They may own their own home or rent. They are single, married, divorced and widowed. They are two income homes, single income homes, students and retirees. All kinds of people are foster parents. They are not “perfect” and they don’t have to have all the answers.
For More Information
Kelie Helton Gambrel
Lee County Department of Social Services
Family Services & Adoption Specialist
Resource Family Coordinator