Becoming a foster parent can be a rich, rewarding experience for many families hoping to open their homes to children in temporary need. It is important, however, to go into fostering with realistic expectations. There are many things you need to know prior to making such a large decision.
Becoming Licensed is a Process to Becoming a Foster Parent
Some hopeful fosters are under the idea they can simply sign up and have a child placed in their homes. This is not true.
AdoptUSkids states there are multiple steps to becoming a foster parent, and it can take anywhere from four months to a year before getting licensed. If you hope to foster a child, you will need to:
- Take foster education classes
- Meet with social workers
- Have a case study done
- Get background checks on all household members over age thirteen
- Fill out questionnaires on the placements you are willing to receive.
There may be more steps required for certain placements or prospective foster families. Your caseworker can help ensure you’ve met all the requirements.
Not Full Parental Rights
According to the Oklahoma Department of Family Services (OKDFS), prospective foster parents must be willing to work as a team and understand they do not have the same parental rights as birth parents.
Foster parents can sign certain waivers, receive emergency medical care for placements, and make daily decisions regarding a child’s welfare. However, foster parents will work as part of an advocacy team for the children in their care and may not have the final say in many decisions. This advocacy team will include the child’s caseworker, doctors, therapists, and birth parents (if applicable).
Not Only the Rich can Foster
Foster families come from as many diverse backgrounds and social statuses as the children placed in their care. The OKDHS tells us that the requirements for being a foster parent are broad. You must be over 21, have healthy inter-household relationships, room for additional children, and maintain a steady income, among few other things.
Challenging as it is Rewarding
While being a foster parent is a truly rewarding experience, it is not an easy one. Foster children will come from all backgrounds and may act out in ways you are unfamiliar with. They were removed from their families for fear of their safety, meaning they could have come from physically, emotionally, or sexually abusive backgrounds. Many foster parents also find it difficult when children leave their care after extended stays.
For more information about becoming a foster parent contact us today.