There are many myths about becoming foster parents that people believe to be true. Some of these myths may even stop an amazing potential foster family from inquiring because they do not believe they would qualify. We are here today to debunk what tend to be the top five myths of foster care and set the record straight!
MYTH 1: You must have parenting experience to be a foster parent.
You do not need to be a parent or have experience with children prior to becoming foster care licensed. While it may be helpful to have some experience with children, many families become first time ‘parents’ through providing foster care. Licensing workers and case managers will help alleviate any nervousness your family may feel by connecting you to other families, educational resources, and providing support along the way.
MYTH 2: You need to be married to be a foster parent.
Foster parents can be single, married, same sex, or cohabitating couples. The only stipulation is that all adults in the home must be on board with the process. Your case manager will work with you to identify the level of child’s needs you feel comfortable parenting and will help you determine which children would be a good fit for your home. Whether you are parenting solo or with a partner, all foster families receive incredible support from case managers.
MYTH 3: You need to be a homeowner to be a foster parent.
Foster parents may own or rent any type of home. It does not matter if your family lives in an apartment or condo, a trailer home, or a single-family home. What does matter is that your home has adequate bedroom space for a child to live with you.
MYTH 4: There is an age limit to who can become foster parents.
No one is “too old” to become a foster parent. Foster parents can be as young as 21 or older than 100, as long as they can adequately meet the needs of a child in their care. Many families who consider themselves to be “empty nesters” or who may be retired make fabulous foster families!
MYTH 5: You are financially responsible for the child.
Foster families receive a per diem to provide for the needs of the child in their home. This per diem rate is dependent upon the type of foster care you provide. Daycare costs, a clothing allowance, and other allowances for special needs (such as a prom dress or a camp registration fee) may also be provided. Children in the foster care system are covered by Medical Assistance for their health insurance, so you would not be required to add them to your family’s health insurance plan.
Now that these common myths are debunked, what are you waiting for?!
According to the US Dept of Health and Human Services, at any given time, there are over 400,000 kids in need of foster care in America. You can make a difference in a child’s life. If you think you may be a foster care candidate, contact a local foster care agency or learn more about fostering with Nexus Family Healing.
This blog article was contributed by Sonja Stang, Nexus-PATH Family Healing.
Nexus Family Healing is a national nonprofit mental health organization that restores hope for thousands of children and families who come to us for outpatient/community mental health services, foster care and adoption, and residential treatment. For over 45 years, our network of agencies has used innovative, personalized approaches to heal trauma, break cycles of harm, and reshape futures. We believe every child is worth it — and every family matters. Learn more at nexusfamilyhealing.org.