Foster Care Parenting: are you ready to become a foster parent?
If you are considering becoming a foster family, you’ll want to make sure you are prepared. Foster carers are in great demand as the number of children needing safe and stable environments increases. You’re already on the right course by utilizing this information.
Consult with your family
Before taking any official steps, you’ll want to consult with your family. Bringing a foster child into your home affects everyone. The full support of your family is an essential component of what makes a good foster carer. Having everyone on board will help ensure that the experience is rewarding and beneficial for all.
Learn the rules
What does it take to be a foster carer? For starters, there are a few universal requirements for becoming a foster parent, like being a legal Australian resident. Additionally, different states have different requirements for who can take in foster children and what they must do to earn the position of foster parent.
After speaking with your family and deciding to take on the responsibility that comes with fostering a child, your next step is to understand the local and state requirements for becoming a foster carer. Specific information can be found on government websites, and several foster agencies hold classes to help you in preparing. Age, family situation, housing type, and various other factors are generally taken into consideration when judging candidates. Consulting a foster agency does not mean you will need to foster right after, you may use this as a stepping stone first.
Keeping an open mind
Knowing how to be a good foster parent will help your foster child receive the best experience under your care. One of the most important, and helpful, attributes is openness. Foster children come from abusive situations to which most of us, thankfully, can’t relate. As such, they may not behave in ways that we would expect. The television movies make these situations look much more magical than they really are. That said, it is still a genuinely rewarding experience. By keeping an open mind, and remaining adaptable, you will be better able to be a good foster carer. Treat each case as though it was a new situation, because it really will be.
Express your genuine love and care
Foster carers want to provide the best situation as possible. Resist the temptation to overdo it. Foster children often do not know how to respond to genuine love and care, so try to start by keeping things simple. Helping the child understand that they have basic safety and resources is one of the key elements in what makes a good foster carer.
Parents’ background checks
Becoming a foster family is an invasive process from start to finish. You will be the subject of background checks before you will be cleared for hosting children in your home. During the child’s stay, you will also have to be open to the fact that social workers could be visiting your home at any time, with little or no notice. Additionally, you may receive emergency calls at all hours. Finally, and most importantly, your foster child may require additional attention at any moment.
What you should explain to your kids
If you have children of your own, it is vitally important to help them understand that a foster child may require special attention. Foster carers should guide their own children to the realization that a foster child comes from a different situation and is not used to the household rules. This is not to say that breaking rules will be excused, simply that different approaches may be necessary. Making sure that your own children understand these differences will help stave off jealousy and resentment.
Contact local agencies for help
Having a support system is incredibly important. Being able to rely on family to help provide care and support for you and your foster child will help ease your personal burden. Taking care of yourself will ensure that you maintain your energy and patience. Before you accept your first foster child, speak with foster agencies about what resources are available to help. Be willing to ask for additional help from your agency if you need it. You do not have to ever feel like you are alone.
Being a foster carer is rewarding, but you should be prepared to look inside yourself for that reward. Because foster children come from such unfortunate situations, foster parents should not expect gratitude from the child. It is important to not take offense to this. In fact, foster children may be suspicious or even hostile. Be sure to become informed about how to handle these situations before they arise.
Take time to go through these steps with your entire family. Create checklists of the major points and ask everyone to check them off to show their approval and understanding. Make time for open and extensive discussion. Be sure to take extra time with your own children. Try to anticipate their concerns, because they may not feel confident enough to express them. It is important to reveal their anxieties before bringing a foster child into your home. Once you have made the decision as a family, you are ready to take the next step. Rest assured you will be providing vital care in your community.
Emily is stay-at- home mom with a petite 2-year- old girl. She is also a freelance writer. Emily is a contributor of lifestyle magazine handle with food, craft, and travel section. She likes to enjoy cooking for her kid at home by creating new ideas.