Foster care provides children with a temporary home and family when their parents are unable to meet their needs and keep them safe. Some of them have been through some pretty tough experiences in their short lives and desperately need stability and attention. While children are in foster care, support and assistance is given to parents to make their homes safe places to which the children can return. Most children who are placed in foster care are successfully reunited with their families. Foster care is intended as a support for families, not a substitute for parents.
Children are placed in foster care for various reasons. Some examples include:
- A child who has been neglected.
- A child who has been abused.
- A child whose parent is in jail or is hospitalized and has no one to care for them during their parents' absence.
- A child who has committed a delinquent act.
- A child who has significant medical or mental health needs.
As a foster parent, you will receive monthly payments to help cover the costs of food, clothing, personal care expenses and any kind of special assistance a foster child may need. There may be other supports or services that you may qualify for, such as assistance with day care costs or respite services.
Becoming a foster family is not a decision you can - or should - make quickly or lightly. Take some time to assess your feelings. Consider the responsibilities of a foster parent, as well as the goals of foster care, and the impact on your own family/household.
Responsibilities of a Foster Parent Include
- Providing a nurturing environment, as well as limits.
- Having children participate in daily activities and household happenings, promoting normalcy.
- Provide day-to-day care and supervision of a child.
- Arranging and taking the children to medical, dental, mental health appointments.
- Being a voice and a participant in court.
- Supporting the family interaction plan for the children and their birth parents.
- Communicating with the school and keeping up on the child's progress.
- Acting as an important part of the child's team, including parents, social workers, and service providers.
These are the basic responsibilities of a foster parent. There are more responsibilities you may take on as you "parent"/care for this child, as there would be with any parenting role.