Why Become a Foster Parent?
Are you thinking of becoming a foster parent? In the US, 117,000 children are waiting to be placed in foster care. Could you provide a safe, loving home for a child in need?
Fostering a child can be an excellent option for people who want to expand their horizons and make a difference. So, why become a foster parent? Fostering can be a rewarding and meaningful experience for both the foster parent and the child in the foster care services in Virginia under the supervision of the local department of social services DSS.
If you feel like you have the patience and empathy to foster a child, then what are you waiting for? Here is everything you need to know to begin the fantastic journey into providing foster care and how to foster youth in Virginia.
Why Become a Foster Parent?
Becoming a foster parent is a challenging and enriching experience for you and all family members. You can make a huge difference and change a child's life for the better, especially for sibling groups and older children in foster care programs. If you care about children and want to help them, fostering a child is an extraordinary calling.
Children in the foster care system have been through traumatic experiences. They need a loving home to help them recover and thrive. Providing a home for a child can be heartwarming and beautiful when you start to see them succeed in your care.
Provide Safety and Stability
A child may not have felt loved or wanted until they come to live in your home. When a child has less to worry about at home, they can enjoy themselves at school and in public life. You will see a significant improvement in the child welfare. Children who feel safe and nurtured at home can also focus on their education, general life skills, and personal development.
The goal of fostering is not to replace the child's birth parent. Placing a child in a nurturing foster home can provide stability and safety. Their biological parents and child services work together to solve their problems which brought the child into the foster care system or treatment foster care services. In many circumstances, a child can be reunited with their family. The goal in foster care in Virginia is reunification when safe to do so.
Expand Your Family
If you don't want to go through the adoption process or have more children of your own, then fostering is an excellent choice. Fostering can be a more short-term commitment in comparison to adoption.
You always have the option of becoming their adoptive parents in the future. If you and the child wish to stay with you permanently, the bio parents have had their Parental Rights Terminated (TPR).
Once you have cared for a child that has experienced neglect, you will understand the importance of a loving family is to that child living in a foster family.
Changing Lives for the Better
A child coming to you through foster care may have never experienced the love and safety you can provide for them in your home. You might even inspire them to become foster parents or adoptive parents in the future. Both you and the fostered child will be changed forever through the fostering process.
Knowing that you have helped a child in need is one of the most significant rewards of fostering a child.
How Do I Become a Foster Parent?
Once you have decided you are ready to commit to fostering a child, there are many steps you have to take. There are several requirements and processes to becoming a foster parent. You must be at least 21 years old and pass a background check.
First, you must fill out an application and send it to the relevant placement agency. You can contact the agency to get an application or fill one out online. Once you have submitted your form, an advocate will be in touch to discuss the next stage of your application.
In some states, you will need to attend additional training courses and gain a license to become a foster parent in Virginia; this is mandatory. Contact your local authorities to confirm the requirements for foster care in your area.
The Child Placing Agency (CPA) will arrange to visit you in your home to get to know you and check that your home is safe for children. The Child Placement Agency will work with you to find the right child for your family and home. There is also some essential training that must occur before you can become a foster parent.
What Are My Options?
The most exciting thing about fostering is that you have many options to choose from. Depending on your circumstances, you could provide part-time or permanent care for children in need.
You may also have special skills which could be helpful for children with additional needs.
If you don't feel comfortable jumping into full-time foster care, you can start by offering respite care. Respite care is a short-term placement designed to support foster carers and families. Respite care can be up to 30 days.
It is intended as a temporary option to help prevent foster parents from getting burnt out. Think of it as you are using your parents to go away for a long weekend away.
If you are ready to accept a child (or children) into your home, then full-time foster care could be the perfect option for you. As a foster parent, you will work with authorities and families to find the best solution for everyone involved.
Depending on your situation, you can choose to foster a single child or siblings.
Therapeutic Foster Care (TFC)
Some children come into the foster care system with higher needs due to trauma, health issues, and disabilities. This option can be perfect for foster parents who have the confidence to help a child in greater need or for anyone willing to complete some additional training.
Begin Your Fostering Journey Today
So, why become a foster parent? Thousands of children need loving families and homes while waiting for permanency. Children who have been through pain and trauma are desperate for supportive, nurturing parents or parents to help them regain stability.
Providing a foster home can change the course of a child's life for good. If you want to make a difference in the world, fostering a child could be the answer.
Are you ready to take the next step? Contact Foster VA to learn more and submit your application. The friendly team will answer all your questions and help you start the process of becoming a foster carer.