Making a Difference: Foster Parenting

Not everyone is cut out to be a parent. And even among those who are, many will go through a difficult time that makes them incapable of caring for their children. As such, there are a lot of kids out there in need of loving homes. Not all will be a permanent need — some will be temporary. If you think you’d like to open your heart and home to one or more of these children, you may want to look into foster parenting.

Requirements to qualify to be a foster parent vary from state to state. Contact your local Department of Children and Families to get more information. You’ll need to apply to be considered and go through a screening process to verify that you’re a responsible adult capable of caring for a child. If you would like to adopt a child through the foster care program, notify the department so they can pair you with children who are more likely to require adoption rather than temporary care.

Some locations offer a monetary stipend to help care for the children you’re responsible for, but don’t let that be the deciding factor. Though not permanent, foster parenting is very demanding and is not a task to be undertaken lightly. The children going through the system often have emotional scarring and will need patience and understanding as well as love. Be sure you’re capable of providing this before taking that step. Also, it can be emotionally trying to have to give the children back at the end of their designated time — especially if you question the parents’ ability to care for their children. It’s one more thing to consider before deciding to apply.

Foster can be very rewarding, and it’s a very personal way to make a difference in the lives of others. Children have unique needs, and having a caring role model and caregiver can truly have an impact. If you think you’re capable of being that caring role model and caregiver, then foster parenting may be for you.

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