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The Foster Parent

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Foster parents are the neighbors or community members who open their homes to a young person whose home is no longer safe.

In the United States, there are over 400,000 children and teens in foster care on any given day and roughly 700 enter care each day. The need for individuals and families to provide stability, consistency, and nurturing to these children reaches every corner of America.

Children most often enter foster care through no fault of their own. Typically a parent is unable to adequately care for them due to one of many possible challenges, including, substance abuse, mental health issues, accident, death, or illness. For the young person, this creates great uncertainty. They are left to wonder, “Where am I going to live? When can I see my parents? Will I ever get to go home?” Government agencies always try to locate a nearby responsible adult family member or close friend to care for the young person, but often that’s not an option. That’s where foster parents come in. Foster parents are the people who signup to help children they’ve never met during the most difficult time of their lives. They welcome them into their homes and provide stability, consistency, and love while their parent(s) work through whatever challenges they face.

The goal of foster care is to help children reunify with their parents as quickly as possible. Foster parents work with social workers, therapists, and other professionals to help children and families reunify. They may be asked to provide transportation to school, appointments, or monitor visits with the parents. Sometimes it lasts a few months and sometimes it lasts a couple years. But sometimes kids don’t reunify. Sadly, only a little more than half the children who are removed from their caregivers reunify. In these situations, foster parents are usually the first choice to adopt or become the legal guardians of the youth.

The process of becoming a foster parent is different from state to state and sometimes even county to county. By completing the inquiry form, we will be able to identify an agency in your community that can answer your questions and help you decide if fostering is right for you.

Here’s some frequently asked questions.

Why does a child enter foster care?
There can be any number of reasons a child enters foster care but not often it’s the result of abuse or neglect. It’s most frequently through no fault of their own.

How old are the kids in foster care?
There are kids of all ages in foster care. Foster parents can decide what age(s) they are willing to care for, but there’s a tremendous need for people to care for teens.

Do foster parents get paid?
Foster parents receive a monthly (tax-free) stipend to help provide the youth in their care. The amount varies by state. It’s very common to receive a higher stipend when you’re caring for a youth with higher needs, like medical or behavioral challenges are

Do foster parents get trained to support children dealing with trauma?
Foster parents play a critical role in caring for young people going through a difficult time. The process is supposed to be designed so that foster parents are supported every step of the way by exceptional social workers, therapists and other clinicians. We encourage all our foster parents to advocate for services they believe the youth in their care would benefit from.

Whether you are ready to foster or are still deciding if it's right for you, the next step is connecting with someone in your community.