Foster parents can give homes to children in need. There are many kids in the foster system without safe, loving homes. Anyone over the age of 21 can be a foster parent, although there are some additional stipulations, such as the ability to support yourself and a child. If you're interested in loving and sheltering a child, you can learn more about the process of fostering. Here are four things you should know about being a foster parent:
1. You must be prepared for big changes in your life
Welcoming a child into your home will drastically change your lifestyle. Even if you already have kids, the introduction of a new child will shake up your household routine. New foster parents should be prepared for these changes. Make sure you're ready to meet the challenges of fostering before you apply to be a foster parent. Foster kids need stability in their lives, so it's best if you're sure before you volunteer.
2. You will receive a stipend
Raising kids can be expensive. While you must meet basic income requirements in order to become a foster parent, your state government will provide some assistance. Foster parents will receive a small monthly stipend, which will facilitate the care of their foster children.
3. You may have to help your child deal with emotional difficulties
Kids usually end up in the foster system because their home lives were unhealthy. Some kids were abused before being placed in foster care. Traumatic experiences can leave lasting impressions on young people, sometimes causing emotional difficulties and mental health issues. As a foster parent, you must be prepared to help your child manage their mental health. Your social worker can help you find counseling resources for your child if necessary. Child psychologists can help troubled foster kids through play therapy and talk therapy.
4. You may be able to adopt your foster child
In some cases, adoption is an option. Foster children need permanent homes, although the emphasis is always placed on reuniting biological families if possible. Adopting your foster child will allow you to make them part of your family in the eyes of the law. If you choose this route, you'll have the advantage of adopting a child who you've already gotten to know and love. Foster parents who adopt their foster kids can avoid the expensive fees that sometimes come with using private adoption agencies.
To learn more about how to be a foster parent, talk to a foster care professional.