People become foster parents so they many provide a child with a safe and secure home environment when his or her parents can no longer do so. While becoming a foster parent helps a child have a stable home, extensive screening and training is required.
Becoming a foster parent requires a great deal of dedication. If you have a stable home and some solid parenting skills, you can become a foster parent. You can be single or married and it doesn’t matter if you have children of your own. People who work outside the home can also be foster parents. However, there are some specific requirements you must meet in order to be considered for foster parenthood.
If you are wondering if you could take a child into your home, these are the basic requirements for becoming a foster parent:
1. You must be at least 21 years old.
2. Have enough room (and beds) in your home for a foster child to sleep in and keep his or her belongings with them.
3. You must have a home that can meet basic fire, safety and sanitary standards.
4. You must be physically and emotionally capable of caring for children and have no alcohol or drug abuse problems.
5. You must be able to pass a criminal background check and have no record of abusing or neglecting children.
6. You must make enough money to provide for your own family, so you do not need to depend on the foster care reimbursement you receive from the state as income.
7. Be able to adhere to any other regulations that are proposed by your specific state.
While you are going through the process of becoming a foster parent you will be required to attend an orientation and training. Foster parent training is meant to present you with some of the parental issues involved with foster parenting. These issues can include:
• Learning about the monthly stipend that is paid to you by the state in which you reside.
• Learning about medical coverage that is available for foster children.
• Learning about any counseling that a foster child may require.
• Learning about daycare options for the foster child.
There is also ongoing training in many states; foster families must complete 12 hours of in-service training each year, as long as they are part of a foster care program. It is important to keep in mind that, because foster parent programs are state-run, different states will have different training options and requirements. Check with your local Social Services Department or local foster care agency for class listings, times and training options.
Many people are sometimes hesitant to become foster parents due to the added financial responsibility. It can be helpful to know that your individual state is responsible for paying a stipend (fixed or regular pay) to help provide for your foster child’s care and needs. The amount of money that you can receive for care depends on different factors concerning the child that you are taking in. These factors can include:
• Age of the child
• Medical condition
• Behavioral status
It is important to note that children with medical or behavioral issues will require more professional attention. Each state has different budgets for foster care, contact your state’s Social Services Department or local foster care agency for more information. It is also important to remember that the money that foster parents receive for taking in a foster child is strictly to pay for their needs. It is not meant to:
• Be a home-based business
• Pay off your mortgage
• Provide a family vacation
• Pay for luxuries for your home
Ultimately, potential foster parents must be able to prove that they can support their own family under current circumstances, and that the money provided by the state will be strictly for the care of the foster child.