Becoming a foster parent is an awesome responsibility that requires a special type of person. These kids are in a situation that is very difficult and they rely on somebody that can help them get through that trying time. They could be coming from a home rife with domestic violence, or their parents are unable to care for them due to addiction or other problems.
If you feel like you are that type of person and want to help a child in need then becoming a foster parent is for you. But, you do have to understand what you are getting into, especially from a legal perspective.
It takes some time to go through the process so you can get familiar with it before you contact a family law firm. In this article, I will go over the things you should be aware of before signing on the dotted line.
Are you eligible?
No matter how good your intentions are, you may not actually be eligible to become a foster parent.
Your status will be evaluated prior to being accepted as a foster parent. Some of the things they will look for are that you are in good health, have the appropriate amount of space in your home and that you are of good character.
It is almost like background checks if you go for a government job with special clearances. Interviews will be done and you will be required to provide a lot of information on your background.
If you are over the age of 21, are married, and can show that you will be a person that can be counted on to care for a vulnerable child then you will likely go through the process fairly easily.
However, if you are married with both parents working outside the house, then this actually makes the process more difficult. This would require the child to be in some type of childcare situation that is likely to cause a denial in your application. One of the parents should be working from home or not working at all to provide care for the children. That said, there could be approval given for daycare if it fits certain criteria.
Drug tests and home inspections will also be part of the vetting process so be prepared for that ahead of time. Lastly, there will be classes required to learn about the process and what your responsibilities are when becoming a foster parent.
What are your responsibilities?
You have to wear a lot of hats when you become a foster parent. This is because you are not simply a parent with a responsibility to your own child., You are responsible for the foster child, plus the biological parent, the welfare agency, and also your own children if you have any.
Your first responsibility is to provide a safe home where you can nurture the foster child. Their basic needs should be met with shelter, healthy food, and warm clothing. These are just the basics though and you should go well beyond just providing the minimum.
There are also their emotional needs that must be met and this requires being proactive in their education and socialization. The child should be included in social activities and any potential help for behavioral issues.