Give displaced children a loving if temporary, place to live.
What does a Foster Parent do?
Foster Parents provide temporary homes to displaced children while social service agencies work to arrange a long-term solution for them. While not technically a “full-time job” in the sense that it can’t be one’s only source of income or pay a salary one can live on, it’s still a vocation. Foster Parents are the pinch hitters of the social services world. Working usually with children from troubled backgrounds, they specialize in creating homes that are stable, solid, and welcoming, even if the child will only be there for a short time.
As a Foster Parent, you have undergone special parenting training classes given by the agency through which you receive foster children. You’re paired with a Social Worker who helps you with each child you host.
However, even this training and support cannot completely prepare you for the challenges you’ll face. Many children placed in foster care have a history of abuse or neglect. The very young may not have developed essential self-care skills. So you need to evaluate every child, and tailor your parenting style to fit their needs.
In terms of workload, being a Foster Parent is and isn’t a full-time job. While you still need some kind of employment to pay the bills, your time commitment to your foster child will likely fill the rest of your hours. Foster Parents need to be willing to give of themselves at all times — whether it’s a midnight talk through some difficult personal issues, or a fun afternoon playing in the park. Children need parents, and they need to spend time with those parents.
As a Foster Parent, you have a unique opportunity to show children who often haven’t had the easiest lives that there are good people out there who care about them. And that can make a real difference.