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How to Become a Foster Parent

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Authored by Douglas Mefford in Parenting 
Published on 12-19-2009

Whether through family tragedies, domestic abuse, homelessness, or other reasons, children are daily taken in by the system. These children are usually in need of special care either physically or emotionally. In order to provide a suitable temporary home for these needy children, the foster parent programs have been developed. It takes a lot to care for these children and it takes more than just a willing heart to become a foster parent.

Specific regulations and requirements for admission into the foster parent programs do differ from state to state and sometimes even from individual districts. If you feel you have the concern and ability to help with these homeless children you will need to see the local agency for a full report of their requirements. There are a few similarities in all of them that comprise at least a basic idea of what is involved in becoming a foster parent.

Your own age is important. Most states will not accept applicants under 21 years of age. A few require only you are of your majority in that state. You must be able to show you have a suitable home to take the children into. There are specific minimum tolerances for fire safety and sanitation facilities that must be inspected and improved if needed. You must have adequate space for a foster child, including a bedroom and at least a minimum of furnishings

A person wishing to become a foster parent must be able to provide adequately for their existing family. All foster care payments made are for the extra expense of and use by the foster child. The applicant must be able to pass a criminal background check. A prior conviction is not necessarily an instant denial. It is designed to find and keep child sex offenders from abusing the system. Your emotional and physical state must be adequate to give care to the foster children in your care. You will not be allowed in the program if you have any type of alcohol or drug dependencies or problems.

To become a foster parent you will have to successfully complete various training sessions and examinations. The four major points you must learn in these sessions include such information as what the monthly payment from the state is and how it is to be used. You will learn about the proper methods of maintaining medical care for the foster child. Counseling the foster child is a big part of helping them emotionally. You will be instructed on ways to help them and learn how to take instruction from health care professionals. You will also be required to allow inspections from time to time to make sure everything is maintained within acceptable parameters.

The care of needy children is an honorable occupation. As foster parents you have the opportunity to help mold better children to be more stable adults. The job requires patience and affection. It requires you learn skills needed to better serve the needs of the children under your care regardless of how long term or temporary the situation may be.

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