What is Foster Care?

I can’t believe I haven’t written about this yet! Many of my readers are foster-families so explaining what foster care is didn’t even cross my mind.

The short version? The role of foster parents is to love and care for a child who has been removed from their biological family until the child can be reunited or a plan for permanency is made.

  1. Foster parents are now called Resource Parents in CA, let’s be real though….we will always be called foster parents. The change in the name stems from the changes in the system. The approval process is called Resource Family Approval or RFA. If your interested you can read more about it here.
  2. Reunification is ALWAYS the goal. It is the goal of the courts, social workers, lawyers, etc., SO LONG as it is in the best interest of the child. It should be the goal of the foster parents as well. Adoption is always the second choice because it means the child’s biological family unit has dissolved, which is absolutely tragic.
  3.  We are a concurrent home. What that means is that we support reunification or we are potentially open to adopting the child in our care depending on how their case goes.
  4.  While all foster homes are now approved for adoption that does not mean all foster parents wish to adopt. Some feel called to foster only.
  5. Foster children didn’t do anything wrong to be put into foster care. Their parent(s) made poor choices which resulted in their removal. Sometimes foster children are more difficult and other times they aren’t. Each child is different. Our little guy has his challenges, but he’s honestly a lot easier than many non-foster children I’ve seen.
  6. Foster care is full of unknowns. What will generally happen (we have yet to experience this) is you will get a call from a social worker asking if you can take a child. The social worker will have very limited information usually. You will usually only know the name, gender, and maybe ethnicity. This is through no fault of the social worker. I’ll get into that in another blog post.
  7. Your foster child could be removed from your care at any time and without much warning.
  8. In the eyes of the court you are merely a babysitter. You are NOT a party to the case. It’s essential to remember this when you are frustrated that you don’t know more.
  9. The stipend foster parents get in CA is not nearly enough. So, the next time someone says “foster parents are in it for the money,” kindly refer them to me. I’d be happy to show them our budget.
  10. You will get attached, you will face heartbreak, but you will have loved a child fiercely. THAT IS WHAT THEY NEED. They need your love, stability, structure, trust, endurance, and protection. They need your vulnerability.

Did you know that there are over 2,000 foster children in Sacramento County and only around 800 foster homes? Most of those homes are at capacity and couldn’t take more children in even if they wanted to. If you’re in Sac Co. and have thought about fostering please message me! I have a whole passionate #fostertribe as a resource if I can’t answer your questions.

 

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