Foster care is usually an arrangement in which a neglected, abused or abandoned child is temporarily placed in a home while he or she awaits the ability to go back home or adopted. Typically, foster children come from homes where abuse, drugs, alcohol or a combination of problems make the environment unsafe for the child to live in. A common misconception is that single people are ineligible to foster a child. Like couples, single people can become foster parents as long as they pass the application process.
Determine whether or not you can financially afford to foster a child. While many potential foster parents become enamored with the idea of helping a child, the fact remains that caring for a child costs money. Most foster parents are given a monthly payment to assist in supporting the child. However, excess costs can occur on occasion, so those who can barely afford to support themselves may not be good candidates for foster care.
Contact your local Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to inquire about becoming a foster parent. As the requirements for foster care differs from area to area, it is important to know the details regarding the application process where you live. In general, potential foster parents must undergo a background check, participate in an orientation, pass a written evaluation and provide a set of references who can attest to the person's ability to care for a foster child. In some areas, it is necessary to become licensed in order to legally provide foster care to a child.
Work with your local DHHS to complete the application process. In some cases, you may be eligible to foster a child immediately after completing the application. On occasion, you may be placed on a waiting list before you can take a child into your home.
Tips & Warnings
- Strive to make your home as comfortable and inviting as possible for the foster child.
- Fostering a child is a huge responsibility. Always consider all aspects of the fostering experience before deciding whether or not foster care is right for you.
- Photo Credit chess image by Stepanov from Fotolia.com
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