The foster care system or foster home is something that many of us have heard about.
However, unfortunately, much of what we’ve listened to has been on the disadvantages of foster care and foster parents.
Foster care can be casual or formal, and it can be handled through the courts or social service agencies.
The objective for a child in foster homes usually is reunification with their birth family, although this can be modified to adoption if it is in the kid’s best interests.
Adoption, unlike foster care, is a long-term commitment.
A foster home, also called out-of-home-care, is a household that provides care to an orphan or a child who has been taken away from his natural parents due to abuse, rejection, or inappropriate behavior. It can also be defined as a residential institution that provides care and protection to children whose parents are either late or unable to give them proper care.
Children are taken to foster homes for many reasons, and I’d love to take you through them.
Seven Reasons why children are taken to foster homes
- Medical disregard
Some biological parents tend to neglect their ailing children’s medical attention, which puts their health at risk. This could result from a lack of financial ability or religious objections, hence the need for these Kids to be taken to foster homes.
Some children go through a lot of maltreatment from parents or step-parent. The only way they can feel safe is to desert their natural homes and seek haven from foster homes. Other children run away from home as a result of engaging in inappropriate behaviors.
Some children intentionally absent themselves from school for reasons best known to them without their parents’ knowledge. Hence the need for them to be taken to foster homes.
When a child’s parent(s) are imprisoned, and there are no family members to watch the child, a foster home becomes the best option for the child until the parent(s) are released.
- Voluntary request
In this situation, parents voluntarily hand over the child to a foster home. This can be due to the parents’ health issues or for some reasons beyond their control.
- Physical abuse
This is the physical harm that a parent dishes out to the children either as discipline or punishment for wrongdoings.
Physical abuse is discovered when there are bruises or other signs of injuries.
In this case, the child is taken from the parent and put in a foster home until the parent has undergone training.
The training involves teaching the parents the best ways to correct or discipline their child.
- Sexual abuse
A child could begin with viewing pornographic materials, then to fondling, and later graduate to penetration.
This could result from a lack of attention from the parents or guardians. Hence the need for the child to be taken to a foster home for proper monitoring.
Looking at why children are put in foster homes, you may be interested in providing foster care to children in dire need. I’d like to take you through things you need to know before volunteering as a foster or offering your home as a foster home.
10 things to take note of before offering to be a foster
- It’s not a job but a mission
You can only embark on this journey if you have the zeal for it. Learning to nurture other people’s children like they are yours is the best place to start. Also, when their time with you is over, they’ll have to leave, and you should be okay with that.
- Children deserve independence
You should avoid forcing your beliefs on these kids, especially when they are old enough to have theirs. Instead, working with them may seem like the best idea for raising good citizens.
- Consider the facts
One thing you should realize as a foster parent is that these kids have a past. These may include burdens they are trying to shed off or traumas they’re trying to let go of. Accepting you ultimately may be somewhat tricky, so you may need to work with that in mind.
- Be empathetic towards the biological parents
You should consider an essential concept that some foster kids’ biological parents also have issues. So it would help if you didn’t condemn them before their children.
- Be an agent of healing
Whether you know this or not, the role you’re playing includes mending broken hearts and broken families. Bear in mind that it’s usually not a jolly ride, but the joy that comes with knowing you’re impacting their lives is immeasurable.
- They are better together
You should note that in a situation where you’re fostering a child with siblings, it is advised that you take them all. This is because it’ll be a lot easier for them to heal together while reducing the chances of developing separation anxiety.
- It’s not a competition
You should know that you aren’t trying to prove to these kids that you’re better than their biological parents. Instead, your role is to help out in the little way you can in their healing process.
- Love them fully
You’d have to maintain tolerance with these kids. This is particularly important since they might behave differently from your biological children. Accept them the way they are and with compassion and empathy.
- Create a network system
Trying to be a foster parent may require that you learn from people with knowledge and experience to avoid making mistakes. It would help if you took some time to locate these people, talk to them and let them put you through.
Keep a paper trail of everything, beginning from the first step taken in the fostering process. Don’t leave out anything, and ensure you document everything for future reference.
Requirements for being a foster parent
- Family consistency
- Home safety inspection
- Character check
- Criminal background check
- Regular source of income
- Above age 30
The following includes a list of items you should put in place before your home can be called a foster home.
Items every foster home needs
- First aid kits
- Fire safety equipment
- Cleaning materials
- Document organizers
- School supplies
Foster care agency
A Foster care agency is an adoption organization that acts on behalf of the government to coordinate and regulate its foster care system.
There are a lot of foster care agencies you might want to identify with when working in your foster care home. Let’s take a look at a few of them.
List of best foster care agencies
- Koinonia Family Services
- KIDSAVE (Forever families for all Kids everywhere)
- https://www.nyfoundling.org/The New York Foundling
- Casey Family Programs
There are kids out there who are going through one form of abuse or the other. These kids need a foster home.
A foster home is not meant for orphans alone, and it is also indicated for children passing through one challenge or the other.
You could also advise some parents to use a foster home for their kids if they are incapacitated in one way or the other.
You, too, can be a relief to someone by being a foster parent, but first, you need to put things in order before doing that.