Written by Alicia McMillan
Have you ever thought of becoming a foster parent? Many people begin by navigating through the emotional process of making a sacrificial commitment to care for children that have experienced trauma and logistically preparing their living spaces. Do you think it might break your heart a little? If yes, you are a perfect fit. Once you are ready to make the leap to open your heart and homes, there’s a formal process to complete.
It starts with an orientation at a licensing agency. These are always non-obligational and free of charge. In fact, there is no cost for any of your training. The meetings share statistical data about your county, detailed information about what to expect, and an opportunity to answer the many questions that come with the calling. Experts can help you determine if you are the right fit for the responsibility of nurturing abused and neglected children while learning to co-parent and support the restoration of the biological family.
Next, there are classes to complete that cover an enormous amount of essential information. These classes are also your first opportunity to begin to network a support community with other foster families. If you’re determined to do it, agencies help every step of the way. They offer some training online, condensed weekend sessions, and childcare.
They’ll provide you with someone to assist you as you complete your fingerprints, background checks, and home inspection. You might have a small outlay for things like fire extinguishers, cabinet locks, pool safety supplies, etc. It also might be your first chance to invite others to be a part of your important work.
The home study process can take a little time. It involves interviews to help you assess your own strengths and weaknesses and to make a determination of how many children you would like to care for and their age range.
Depending on how quickly you complete your paperwork, the process can be completed in a few months. Once everything is submitted and approved, you wait for the call. It doesn’t usually take very long. There’s a tremendous need.
The logistical tasks of becoming a foster parent almost completely fade away as soon as there is a child whose story is now a part of your own. Your licensing agency and your foster care community will be your biggest champions for all the things you can never learn by sitting in front of videos or speakers. From process to parenting, it’s not always easy, but it is always worth it.
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