Written by Foster Team
Foster parenting can take many forms. Some foster parents directly support other foster families by giving them a break on weekends. In other cases, families are with their foster child for months, or even years.
The point is, there are limitless opportunities to foster support for a child in need, but that doesn't always make foster parenting right for you. That's a decision only you can make. To help you make that decision, we chatted with Trey Rabun, Family Outreach Specialist at Amara, to learn more about the types of questions potential foster parents should ask themselves. With his help, we came up with a list of five questions potential foster parents should consider when making their decision.
1) What is the setup of your house?
Agencies require that any foster child over the age of one have their own bedroom separate from adults. For potential foster parents living in a studio or one-bedroom apartment, this is often a hurdle. But it doesn’t necessarily prohibit them from fostering an infant.
2) Can you commit to completing the licensing requirements?
Rabun says that the average time it takes for new foster parents to get licensed is from three-nine months. During that time, they’re required to attend 24 hours of state training, pass certification for first aid and CPR, get a medical form from their doctor, and chat with social workers to assess their families. It can feel like a long process, but the good news is that we’re here to help, every step of the way.
3) What is your experience with kids, especially those with special needs?
Everyone can be a foster parent, but if you’ve never had any experience with children who have special needs, you may be better suited for someone that’s younger. Those who have kids of their own, or have related experience, like teaching children, are typically better suited for older children.
4) Do you believe that families can rectify safety concerns?
It’s important to understand that reunification is the goal of foster care situations. Rabun notes, “If you hold negative perceptions of a foster child’s family, you’re going to be working against a system that’s designed to reconnect them.”
5) Are you ok sharing information about your past with foster care agencies?
As part of the licensing process, social workers will conduct a home study. The home study includes an evaluation of your home, and it also includes a discussion about your past experiences. Potential foster parents should expect to answer questions about their childhoods; relationships with siblings, partners, and parents; past trauma, and other issues related to adversity.
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