Myths of Becoming a Foster Parent
Have you considered becoming a foster parent, but feel you may not qualify? It’s possible you may have heard one of many myths regarding becoming a foster parent that lead to this assumption. Did you know that our local communities in the UP have an ongoing need for loving foster homes? Because of this need, it is important to address the many myths regarding becoming a foster parent in order to provide a clearer understanding for those considering opening their home to children in need.
Myth: You must be a married, man and wife, couple to qualify to be foster parents.
Fact: You do not need to be married or of heterosexual orientation to qualify to become a foster parent. You may be married, single, or part of the LGBT community and qualify to become a foster parent.
Myth: You need to be wealthy and own your own home to become a foster parent.
Fact: You may own your home or rent to become a foster parent. The financial obligation for foster parenting is simply that you have the means to provide for yourself and your family as you will receive a stipend for foster children placed in your home. Additionally, you do not need to have medical insurance as children in care will receive Medicaid benefits through the state.
Myth: You must be an experienced parent who has parented your own children to become a foster parent.
Fact: You do not need to have raised your own biological children to become a foster parent. You do need to have the confidence to parent and be open to learning new parenting skills and techniques, and be responsible for the care of one or more children.
Myth: Once you become a foster parent, you have no say regarding when a child is placed in your home.
Fact: As a foster parent, you are never forced or required to take placement of a child you feel may not be a fit for your home or your schedule. You have the right to decline a placement request at any time.
Myth: As a foster parent, you are on your own, with little support, once you have placement of a child.
Fact: Your licensing agency will provide training as part of your licensing process that will assist you in your knowledge and skills in foster parenting. Your licensing worker and agency will act as a supportive outlet for you in your foster parent journey, and will be able to connect you with other families and local supports so you have the supportive network and tools necessary to be the best foster parent possible.
Myth: I cannot foster because it would hurt too much to lose the children when they return home.
Fact: If you are someone who will give your heart, nurturing, and time to a child in need, you are absolutely the type of person needed in foster parenting. The children coming into care need your love, structure, and consistency more than ever. If you have done your job well, each child will take a bit of your heart with them when the time comes for them to leave. While their time with you is temporary, your influence is long-lasting.
The ultimate fact is foster parenting is a rewarding experience that provides priceless safety, structure, and comfort to a child during difficult times of trauma. What you give to each child in your home will carry over for a lifetime. If you, or someone you know, would like more information on becoming a licensed foster parent, the friendly and knowledgeable staff of U.P. KIDS’ would be happy to discuss your interest with you and assist you in the process should you decide this path is for you.
A final fact: Nearly 85 percent of all domestic non-relative adoptions are by foster parents!
Sharon Matulewicz is a staff member at U.P. Kids