About foster parenting
Every year, a quarter of a million children are placed in foster care in the United States of America. Many of them will be put in group homes or other residential settings for children since there are just not enough foster families to care for all of the youngsters in need of placement.
Foster parents play a key part in the healing of abused and neglected children. They provide stability for children and teach them valuable life skills that will endure a lifetime—and may have an impact on future generations.
In the past, the job of a foster parent was often considered to be a transitory one. Furthermore, it continues to be true that around half of children who enter foster care are reunited with their biological families. Foster parents are frequently asked to lend their support to these efforts, which may include facilitating visitations and attending court appearances. They must also be prepared to accept the loss of a child who is returned to his or her birth parents or placed with another relative when it is determined that doing so is in the child’s best interests is the best course of action.
Members of the child welfare community, on the other hand, are increasingly seeing fostering as a necessary step on the path toward adoption. Several children who are unable to be reunited with their biological families are adopted by their foster parents. Even when children are allowed to return home or are adopted by another family, foster families are often in touch with the children they have placed in their care.
Being a successful foster parent
Foster parents, like any other parents, will surely come into problems and obstacles that they are not prepared to deal with on their own. The ability to adapt and gain new abilities while being a successful foster parent are essential qualities for each foster parent to possess.
Social workers and other experts provide help to foster parents before they accept children into their homes, and they get ongoing support from social workers and other professionals during the process. Additionally, foster parents frequently have access to respite care programs and can find support through local organizations, such as churches, as well as online support groups.
Read on to learn more about the resources available to foster parents.
Types of foster parenting
Foster parents are often the main, full-time parents of children for a short period—for as long as the children are living with them. The quantity of time foster parents devote to their children, as well as the training they get, differs depending on the sort of care they provide.
Other types of foster parenting include:
Care for those in need of a break. Every parent needs a period of respite from time to time. Respite care providers come in to offer foster parents much-needed time off—ranging from a few hours to a weekend or longer—frequently, generally on a regular schedule.
Care that is required in an emergency or urgent situation. Foster parents promise to be available on call and to accept short-term placements as needed, even at night and on weekends, if the situation calls for it.
Care provided by relatives. “Kinship” caregivers are relatives such as grandparents, aunts and uncles, and other family members who agree to provide care for children. Kinship care may be provided informally or formally. The document Kinship Caregivers and the Child Welfare System (575 KB PDF), available through the Child Welfare Information Gateway, gives information on both arrangements in detail.
Foster care that is therapeutic or treatment-oriented. Therapeutic foster parents provide care for children and adolescents who have a higher level of social, behavioral, and mental health needs and who require more intensive services than other children and youth. As a member of the care team, these caregivers get extra training and assistance to meet the needs of the children who live in their homes, as well as other benefits.
foster-to-adopt placement is available. Many families foster to adopt, which is a practice that is becoming more popular in states that encourage it. Adoption via foster care provides a variety of advantages, including minimizing the number of placements a kid has to endure and enabling a family to become more cohesive. “Dual licensing” is a term that is occasionally used to describe this situation.