Foster parenting is considered just like any other profession but there is a lot more to it. Even though you will get paid for fostering a child, it will get you only as much money as required for the child’s daily needs. Your remuneration will be more at an emotional level as you get the satisfaction for the good work done for nurturing a child in a loving environment. At the same time, it is a big responsibility as a child’s future is in your hand. So there are several things that you need to know and do before you are ready to become a foster parent. Let us list these 10 most important things that you should do before considering foster parenting.
- Get enough experience with children of all ages
Since you may have to foster children of different age groups once you start, there is a need to get ample experience before you take the initiative. You can volunteer at group homes and babysit for foster families to know children of all ages better. You can also join support groups that interact with children who have been neglected or abused.
- Know all your parenting facts
If you are already a parent, you will be aware of everything that goes into parenting, from baby food to child nourishment, teaching good manners, providing emotional support, and more. However, those who are fresh into the field should consider taking a course or training on parenting and child development.
- Be ready money-wise
Though the benefits of being a foster parent are many in number, you cannot just take the plunge unless you are financially equipped for the future. You should have a decent job to support yourself and your existing family as you will need to prove the same before being given the custody of the foster child.
- Have enough space at your home
Another thing that you will require is a home big enough to accommodate your own family and the foster child (or children) comfortably. There are even some regulations related to the bedroom sizes that you need to know so that you can arrange the right place before considering foster parenting for one or more children.
- Have adequate transportation for the family
If you reside in an area that is well accessible and has good public transportation facilities, you need not worry about owning a personal vehicle. However, your foster care placement may require you to have one that is spacious enough to carry your family as well as foster children for safe and comfortable transportation.
- Know all about state regulations
There are certain statutory regulations that apply for foster parenting, which may vary from state to state. For instance, most of them have a minimum age requirement for allowing people to become foster parents. If you are considering bringing a child home, do some research on these state regulations first.
- Understand that your marital status can make a difference
Another thing to understand is that you marital status can make a difference to your eligibility for foster parenting. Singles may also be allowed to foster though most agencies prefer couples who have been together for a few years. Same-sex couples are also allowed to become foster parents in some states.
- Prep up your home
Bringing a foster child home means that your needs will grow. You will probably require more furniture for the bedrooms as you care for one or more children. Bunk beds make a good option, though some states do not allow them. You can start looking for reasonably priced furniture at garage sales and equip your home so that you become eligible for the license.
- Ensure child safety
You will also need to make some child safety arrangements at your place before you bring a child home. For instance, you will have to get a fence around the pool, if you have one. Such expenses would be a considerable investment and you should be ready for them.
- Prepare your family
Foster care is not a one-man job and requires the support of the entire family. Before you take this major step, ensure that your family is willing and able to love and care for a child as your own. Discuss your intention with your family and friends and get their consent for the decision.
Foster parenting is a legal and moral responsibility that you should fulfill with commitment and motivation. Being aware of all these requirements and fulfilling them is the foremost thing to do while considering this major step.