Foster Care Myths (busted)
MYTH: I could never be a foster parent because I’m not married and don’t make a lot of money. I don’t even own my own home.
FACT: There are no such requirements. You can be married or single, a homeowner or a renter. The only financial requirement is that you have enough of an income to support yourself and your family aside from the money you are reimbursed to care for a child living in foster care.
MYTH: You have to be married to be a foster parent.
FACT: Single people can be foster parents too.
MYTH: I would have to provide medical insurance for a foster child in my home.
FACT: Foster parents do not pay any of a child’s medical expenses, other than over-the-counter medicines and supplies. Each child in foster care is covered by the governing jurisdiction for their medical, dental, and mental health care needs.
MYTH: You have to be wealthy to be a foster parent and you need to own a home.
FACT: Foster parents must be financially stable, but they do not have to be wealthy at all! Home ownership is not a requirement, although there are rules about how many children you can foster based on the number of bedrooms in your residence.
MYTH: You don’t have any choice of the types of children who get placed in your home, whether they are perfectly healthy or have a disability.
FACT: You do have control over which children are placed in your home. However, the broader your parameters are the more quickly you will receive a placement.
MYTH: Foster parents have to stay at home with the children and cannot work full-time.
FACT: Many of our foster parents work outside of the home and find childcare for their own children as well as their foster children. SJO will advise you on childcare options.
MYTH: Once I take in a foster child, I’m on my own without any help.
FACT: SJO will offer your family support to maintain the child’s placement in your home. For starters, before you even take in your first child, the agency staff works with you to develop a profile of the type of child best suited to the experience and capabilities of your family.
MYTH: Children enter foster care because of their own juvenile delinquency.
FACT: Many believe that the children are “too bad” or delinquent. Children enter foster care by no fault of their own. Instead they enter foster care because the adults in their lives cannot keep them safe or healthy.
MYTH: The children come into foster care and are “damaged, beyond repair” because of the abuse they have experienced. There’s nothing I can do to help them.
FACT: Many believe that the children are “too bad” or delinquent. Children enter foster care by no fault of their own. Instead they enter foster care because the adults in their lives cannot keep them safe or healthy. Miracles happen all the time with foster children and that’s because of the relationship they develop in the foster and adoptive homes they’re placed in. You could be the influence the child needs as a role model to learn from.
MYTH: You have to have experience with caring for children, like having your own.
FACT: There are many excellent foster parents that became licensed without having any experience at all. They just came to our agency with an open and loving heart.
MYTH: I’m too old to be a foster parent.
FACT: You are NEVER too old to give a child a loving and nurturing home! We have many foster parents that are retired from their jobs and “empty-nesters.”
MYTH: Foster parents cannot have pets living in the home.
FACT: Foster parents can have pets in their homes while fostering children. All pets must be up-to-date on their immunizations and be licensed.
MYTH: Foster parents are in it for the money.
FACT: This is absolutely not true, and unfortunately is widely believed. In the process of becoming a foster parent, you must show that you’re able to meet your financial obligations for your household. You will receive a reimbursement for care of the child, but it hasn’t been shown that it will make you rich.
MYTH: I could never foster a teenager because their behavior would be too difficult to manage.
FACT: We have foster parents that prefer fostering teenagers. The opportunity to help a child succeed and provide them the necessary tools to become adults is something we all want as parents. Because of this myth, we have many teenagers that are in need of loving homes. Please join us in helping our teens!
MYTH: I don’t know how a foster parent can just let a child go – I think that would break your heart.
FACT: Every foster parent will tell you that when a child leaves your home, you will experience a loss. But it doesn’t have to be sad, it can be a joyous occasion to know that you provided that child a stable and loving home and helped to make a positive change in that child’s life. You also have the opportunity to develop a relationship with that child’s family and may be able to continue to have contact in the child’s life.
MYTH: If the birth parents find out where I live they will come and get their children or cause me grief.
FACT: We encourage our foster parents to develop a relationship with the birth family, and we have seen this relationship to have positive effects on the child. Our foster parent information is kept confidential – this includes addresses and phone numbers.