I recently gave an “intro to foster care” presentation. What was interesting is that I was trying to both encourage people to consider becoming foster parents, and discourage them from doing so.
Why both? There’s always a shortage of good foster parents – people who really care about the kids and are willing to do whatever it takes to make sure the kids feel safe and have their needs met. At the same time, there are too many foster parents who don’t treat foster kids right. It’s not that they’re necessarily abusing kids, but they’re not willing to put in the effort to become trauma-informed or don’t treat the kids like they’re really members of the family. So I’m trying to increase the number of available foster parents, but only those who are reasonably confident that they can treat foster kids as their own. I emphasize this a lot in my talk – while you have the kids, they’re your kids and deserve to be treated like your kids. If you wouldn’t leave your biological kids out of something, you shouldn’t leave your foster kids out either.
We recently re-opened our home for new placements (we closed after our daughter went home to ensure that we’d be available to support her and her mom as needed), but we’re being pretty selective in who we take because we need to find a kid that we’re the right family for – someone whose needs we can do a good job meeting. It’s not enough to find homes for these kids; they need to be homes where they can be comfortable, where they can feel supported, where they can belong.
Everybody needs a family – whether that be biological relatives, close friends, or otherwise. Are you in a position to be family for someone who needs it?