1. You want to give children a safe home for a temporary time until which they can return home
  • Foster care is a temporary situation. While sometimes families are unable to be reunited, it is always important to support the reunification of the youth with their family.
  • Giving children a loving, stable home while families do what is necessary for a safe return is key to helping the children grow and heal.
  1. You understand the process to become a foster parent and are comfortable with it
  • Becoming a foster parent is often an intimidating process: fingerprinting, background checks, physicals and many home studies can leave people feeling overwhelmed.
  • Once you become a foster parent, many people will be in and out of your home each month, including counselors, case workers, case-aids, CASA/GAL workers, licensing workers and many more. Understanding that each of these people are here to help support you and the youth in your care is important.
  1. Your family understand why you’re becoming a foster parent and are supportive of it
  • Not everyone will always be supportive of your decision to become a foster parent. However, it’s important to ensure that your closest supporters understand your decision.
  • Many people foster youth for many different reasons. Always keeping your reason at the front of your mind will make any little struggles easier to overcome.
  1. You know how to communicate effectively
  • As a foster parent you will often be the voice for your child. You will communicate with judges, and birth families, as well as all of the workers assigned to help the child.
  • Being able to communicate effectively is necessary to help ensure the youth’s needs are being met, and effective shared parenting can occur between the birth family and yours.
  1. You like to learn
  • The moment you decide to become a foster parent, you will learn an assortment of skills to help you be the very best foster parent you can be. From the pre-service training to the training after you have been licensed, you will develop new skills to help you work with any youth that may come into your home.
  1. You aren’t afraid to go with the flow
  • The child welfare system is often difficult to navigate because things are always changing. What happens with one child may be much different than another. As a foster parent your goal will be to keep the child happy, healthy and loved during their time with you.
  1. You have a flexible schedule
  • Youth in care have many needs that may require your time; this may include medical appointments, court, counseling, visits and more. It is important that your schedule allows for your assistance in some of these areas to help support the child.
  • Children have their own schedules; they may not immediately be prepared to jump into your family schedule, so flexibility will be important.
  1. You practice self-care
  • One of the most important things that a foster parent can do for the kids in their care is to care for themselves.
  • This journey may have moments that are difficult and stressful. You may experience periods of grief and loss. Good self-care skills can help you to navigate through these feelings successfully.
  1. You understand the importance of confidentiality 
  • Each child will come with a story, their story. It is important that, as a foster parent, you are able to maintain a high level of discretion with a child’s information.
  • Allowing the child to know that they can trust you to not tell their story may lead to more healing moments.
  1. You like to dance, run, sing, and laugh
  • As a foster parent, the good times will always outshine the bad. The good days will overtake the bad moments. Laughter will be heard, kitchen dancing will happen, and you will be able to provide joy to the child in your care.
  • Play will be key in helping the children; after all, laughter is the best medicine.

For more information on how you can become a Foster Parent please visit our Foster Care page or contact: Kurt Kalas, Foster Home Licensing Manager at (708)206-3521.