There are over 400,000 children in the United States in need of a temporary home while issues with their birth parents or household are being resolved. Often this is due to neglect or physical and emotional abuse. A child's parents will be given time and resources for improving their parenting skills or coping with substance abuse or anger. If they are able to get control of their life, then they will be reunited with their child. This happens for about half of all the children in foster care. But, for parents who cannot get themselves together after 15 months, case workers will file for termination of the parents' rights.
Those who do not reunite with their birth family after 15 months either age out of the foster care system or are adopted. The majority of these children are adopted by their relatives or foster parents. About a fourth of all children in the U.S. foster system are waiting for placement into an adoptive home.
To foster a child, then, means step into the parental role for the child without the long-term commitment of adopting him or her. While there's a 25-percent chance the opportunity may come up, case workers will try to find an adoptive home for the foster child outside of the foster home as well.
To become a foster parent, one must fill out an application with a state agency and undergo an acceptance process similar to an adoption home study. Prospective foster parents will need a background check, letters of reference from friends and employers and a medical check-up to ensure the home is a healthy place. The foster home approval process may include additional licensing training, the hours and content of which varies by state.
Some public agencies require prospective adopters of older children foster a child before being placed with him or her. Depending on the state, an adopter may be able to participate in a fost-adopt or legal risk program that pairs children who are likely to have their birth parents' rights terminated by the state and in turn become available for adoption.
The prospect of this not happening, however, can be emotionally difficult for many parents. Therefore, it's important to recognize that fostering isn't a permanent arrangement and requires an ability to let go of a child after he or she has lived in one's home for anything from five months to two years.
See Also: Foster Parent Association
5 Ways to Know You're Ready to Be a Foster Parent
Becoming a foster parent can be one of the most rewarding and loving acts of your life, but it is not an easy decision. It takes extensive training, flexibility, commitment, hard work, and a willingness to provide a safe and stable temporary home for children who have been removed from their birth...READER SUBMITTED: Learn How To Become A Foster Parent
Want to learn how you can change the life of a child who desperately needs you? On Tuesday, March 25, the Farmington Libraries welcome members from the DCF staff for a session on how to become a foster parent. This event will take place at 7 p.m. at the main library at 6 Monteith Drive.
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A Minnesota foster parent has been arrested in connection with injuries of a 16-month-old in her care.Youth Villages foster parent orientation postponed to March 13
The foster parent orientation scheduled at Youth Villages in Dyersburg on Tuesday, March 4 has been postponed due to icy weather conditions. The orientation has been rescheduled for 5:30 p.m. on...
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