Oftentimes what people know, or think they know, about the foster care system is what has been represented through movies or TV. But in reality, the foster care system is full of dedicated and passionate social workers, parents, judges, families in need of help, and children who are often caught in the middle. Foster parents are typically represented by a couple, a stay-at-home mom, a large house, and maybe, but not always, a kid of their own in the house.
While this image is sure to occur in reality at some point, there are thousands of individuals and families who are foster parents and do not fit this stereotype. So what other myths are there about foster care?
At FCCY, we have a team of passionate staff who want to help children experience a safe, loving, and nurturing environment while they are in transition between home life and foster life. If you are interested in becoming a foster parent, but are worried that you may not be a good fit, clearing up these myths may help with any confusion you may have.
I Work Full-Time, So I Can’t Be a Foster Parent
There is no requirement that there needs to be a stay-at-home parent in the household in order to be a foster parent. While it may be more difficult managing the foster child’s schedule as well as your own, there are many ways to make it work and still provide the child with a safe and loving home. Generally, having a foster child in your home is no different than your own biological children.
I Need to be a Parent Before a Foster Parent
Having experience as a parent prior to becoming a foster parent could certainly help you prepare for various situations, but it is not a requirement. Thousands of people have become foster parents without having children of their own. They do, however, need to be mature, responsible, and need to demonstrate that they are capable of and committed to parenting a child and providing them with what they need to learn and grow, or at least be willing to learn parenting skills.
I Have to Provide Clothing, Medical Insurance, and Cover Other Expenses
There’s no doubt that parenting can be expensive. Children need food, clothing, educational materials, health insurance, and more. But when you are a foster parent, the agency you work with, in this case, FCCY, typically provides reimbursement for many expenses. When you become a foster parent through FCCY, you can count on:
- Daily reimbursement rates
- Health insurance card that covers medical, dental, vision, therapy, and most prescriptions.
- 24-hour emergency services
- Reimbursement for previously approved expenses
- Availability of educational scholarships
All Foster Children Are Difficult to Handle
Foster children do come from a wide range of family situations, some of which can have an impact on their behavior. However, not all children in the foster care system will be challenging or throwing tantrums every day. In addition, providing a child with a structured environment where they are getting care and attention can make a significant difference in their lives. Being a foster parent is an opportunity to teach them coping skills in order for them to become strong and capable people.
Foster Kids Will Disrupt My Family
If you have your own children, there’s a good chance that bringing another child into the home will cause some friction, similarly to what would happen if you have a second biological child. Your children may feel like they are being “replaced,” or that you care more about the foster child. In the end, however, many foster families feel that it has a positive impact on family dynamics. There is an initial learning curve for everyone, but with the right support from FCCY, your whole family can become closer.
Being a foster care parent is an incredibly rewarding experience, so don’t let myths or misunderstandings get in the way of helping a child experience a nurturing home. Contact FCCY today to learn more about becoming a foster parent.