Becoming a treatment foster parent requires an honest desire to help children who have experienced significant trauma. Foster parents have many different life experiences and skills to help children heal and grow. The decision to open your heart and home to children in need can be difficult. We are here to help you. The staff at CCR has answers to all of your questions. It’s normal to ask yourself “would we be good foster parents?” For many, the decision is fairly quick. For others, it may take a year or two. We ask all new foster parents for a two-year commitment. Many foster parents choose to stay on for many years taking care of dozens of children and some are able to adopt their foster kids. You will know what is right for you and your family.
Making the commitment requires that you ask yourself some tough questions.
- Why do we want to be foster parents? Spiritual reasons, rooms to spare, love to give, make a difference, impact a life, love kids, give back, pay it forward…
- Is my relationship with my spouse or partner healthy and strong? Fostering can add stress to a relationship. Couples must be a united front and support each other during challenges and frustrations. Positive parenting stems from positive relationships.
- How will we prepare and support our biological children? Biological kids go through an array of emotions as foster siblings come and go. Open communication and honest conversations are vital. Allowing your children, to be honest about their feelings and helping them work through their emotions is critical for the entire family.
- Will our extended family and friends support our decision? Many stereotypes plague foster children and many people have strong feelings about the types of kids that come into care. Be realistic about your expectations of those close to you.
- Will we commit to parenting with patience and consistency, using the tools and skills learned in our training? The stories you hear are probably accurate. Fostering traumatized youth is unpredictable and often difficult but incredibly rewarding. It takes an enormous amount of patience to foster older youth, sibling groups and kids with special needs. Your commitment and patience will allow them room to heal and grow.
Do we have flexibility and time? A flexible schedule is mandatory. Interruptions, schedule changes, appointments, therapy, biological family visits, and school truancy are all part of fostering at the treatment level. Additional supervision and care are common when caring for youth in treatment foster care.
- Do we have a support system in place? You can’t do this alone! You will need support from family and friends.
- Will I make time for myself? Taking good care of one’s self is vital to the care of the children. Do you have an outlet to allow for necessary breaks? Exercise, hobbies, time with friends?
- Are we financially stable? Is your current income sufficient to run your household and care for your family? Foster parents receive a stipend to meet the needs of the child in care. Parents are not allowed to use the stipend as part of household budgeting.
- Saying goodbye is difficult. Loving someone means taking a risk. You WILL attach to the children in your care. That’s a good thing for you and the children. If they can trust and attach to you, they will be able to take those skills into future relationships. Managing the loss of foster children is personal and will be difficult. Many parents say that the goodbyes make them stronger. For many, relationships continue after the child leaves.