Parents bear a lot of responsibility when caring for their children. Being foster parents brings added duties since they are caring for minor children who are wards of the court. Prospective foster parents have common concerns regarding the emotional state of the children, added costs of care and apprehension of the social welfare system. Fortunately, resources are in place to provide assistance for foster parents.
Many states provide and require training for foster parents prior to placing a child in the home. Your state may require you to complete this training to become a foster parent. The training prepares the prospective parent for emotional or behavioral issues that may arise when the child arrives. The training helps smooth the transition for all parties involved, as well as answers questions or concerns.
Every state provides financial assistance for foster parents. Bringing another child into the home adds costs, such as food, health care and education. All states also require you to prove that you can meet the needs of your existing family without this added financial support. This helps prevent abuse of the foster care system, such people fostering children simply for the extra money.
The state pays foster parents a daily rate for each foster child in their care. The resulting funds should cover: food; shelter; laundry expenses; personal items such as toothpaste, shampoo, sanitary needs, hair cuts/styling, as well as activities with the family. The state usually provides health care coverage, and foster children are eligible for lunch programs at school.
Foster parents may want to consider joining a support group for advice and shared experiences. Online resources, such as the Daily Strength Foster Care Support group, exist specifically for foster parents. If you prefer more face to face interaction, find reputable support groups through the county or state foster agency, local churches or nonprofit adoptive agencies.
No matter how much assistance you receive from the state, consider all the people involved in the situation. Be aware that even though you researched, prepared and trained, the child simply may not be a good fit for the family, or vice versa.