For many, becoming a foster parent is a huge step. If it’s your first time fostering, it can be overwhelming, but if you know what to do and how to do it, it’ll be fine. Becoming a foster parent entails being accessible for your foster child as if they were your own when their biological parents are unavailable.
Because of the complexities of local, state, and federal requirements in the fostering process, foster parents’ partner with local agencies like Kids First.
Essentially, the fostering process aims to reduce child maltreatment, prevent child abuse, or provide a secure setting in which a child can flourish.
This is how the entire fostering process works.
Foster parents may be needed for a few days, weeks, months, or even years. It is dependent on the child’s individual requirements, as many are forced to enter the foster care system due to a variety of circumstances. This is why a foster parent’s background must be extensively investigated before a child is allocated to them. There is an extensive vetting procedure that is followed by training and eventual certification as a foster parent.
You are not required to be married to foster a child. In most states you must be at least 21 years old, however some states have a 65 years age limitation. You must also provide space in your home for the child. It could be a room or a place to sleep with at least some personal storage. Your financial capability will be evaluated as well, so be sure you have enough money to take care of your family first, with some left over for the foster child. Other conditions, such as being of sound mind and health, and having a residence that meets relevant safety standards, still apply.
Vetting, training, and licensing are normally done after you show interest in fostering. Following that, if you are found suitable to become a foster parent, social workers and foster agency staff will do a home study on your home. This includes a physical visit to your home and a criminal background check on everyone who lives there. Because this process is extensive and can take months to complete, it is best to start it as early as possible, even if you’re still in training.
Once successful, the foster care agency and social workers will attempt to find you a good match to place with your family. This is an oversimplified breakdown of how the whole process transpires. It may take up to two years from you expressing interest to when the child comes to live with you.
However, unlike adoption or childbirth, the foster parent does not assume full financial responsibility for the child. In foster care, Medicaid covers the child’s medical bills, and a monthly stipend is paid to support the child’s living and expenses. It’s vital to remember that foster parents are under no legal obligation to the child, and the child can be taken away at any time.
Essentially, a foster parent must offer parental love for a child whose parents are unable to do so.
If you are interested in becoming a foster parent in the Dallas/Fort Worth, TX metro area or require more information, you are welcome to contact us at Kids First.