For those who have it in their heart to serve as a lifeline to a child in need, there are few feelings as rewarding as becoming a foster parent. For children who’ve been placed in the protective services of a state facility such as Children’s Hope Residential Services, they have already traveled a long and disheartening road. For adults who want to open their hearts and homes, fostering is a great way to accomplish this while offering a very important service to society. Still, there are important ground rules to understand before setting off on the road toward becoming a foster parent. Further, the rules, regulations and expectations differ from state facility to facility, so you’ll need to familiarize yourself with minimum expectations. In this article, we’d like to outline some of the most frequently raised questions and concerns surrounding foster care in the hopes of encouraging more qualified adults to step forward and make a difference in a young person’s life.
According to the National Foster Parent Association, the term “foster care” extends to many different types of oversight. They include emergency care; respite or short-term oversight; tribal care; relative care and more. Regardless of the type of temporary shelter and services that the adoptive party offers, they are still performing an essential function in the wake of a life-changing event that the child’s natural parents have experienced. The National Foster Parent Association describes some of those events as job-loss, homelessness, poverty, incarceration, mental illness and more. “All types of people make good foster parents as we all have our own special talents, but keep in mind that foster parenting is not for everyone. If your family is thinking of foster care, contact an agency near you, and begin the discussion,” the National Foster Parent Association states.
It is vital for state agencies to ensure that those who are looking to become foster parents meet important basic requirements. For example, Children’s Hope Residential Services, which was founded in 2002 in Texas, expects the following: Applicants to be at least 25 years old; be legally married or single parents; be able to pass a background and registry check; be a legal citizen of the U.S.; be financially stable; have healthy relationships with their own family members; be involved in their community and be able to offer a safe and clean living environment at home. Similarly, the National Foster Parent Association states that in addition to the minimum requirements stated by Children’s Hope Residential Services that prospective foster parents need to be flexible, understanding and have a sense of humor. After all, this venture is about improving the child’s quality of life and nothing accomplishes this quite like an open mind and heart.