There's a lot you need to know about being a foster parent, but there are also a lot of myths out there. Read on to separate the myths from the facts.
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 house.
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 paid to care for foster children.
Myth: Foster parents have to stay at home with the children and I work full-time. I guess that excludes me.
Fact: No, it doesn't. Many foster children attend daycare – paid for by LCCS when funds are available – which allows foster parents to work outside the home.
Myth: My children are grown and out of the house. I'm too old to be a foster parent.
Fact: There is no age requirement (other than you must be at least 21). Many "empty nesters" find foster parenting to be a rewarding experience.
Myth: I don't have any children, and to be a foster parent you need to have parenting experience.
Fact: Not true! Many of our foster parents are childless. They are, however, responsible people who have made a commitment to children and through the training provided by LCCS are very capable of caring for foster children.
Myth: Foster children have been abused so much that they're beyond repair. I wouldn't really be making a difference, anyway.
Fact: Children are amazingly resilient. Foster parents can make the difference by providing a structured, nurturing environment. We need to remember that these children will grow up to be adults in our society. How we respond to their needs now will largely determine what kind of citizens they will be in the future.
Myth: Once I take in a foster child, I'm on my own without any help.
Fact: Children need stability, and LCCS offers foster parents plenty of support to maintain an even keel. For starters, before you even take in your first child, the LCCS staff works with you to develop a profile of the type of child best suited to the experience and capabilities of your family. There is respite care for those times you need a break. And, in addition to the stipend you are paid for the care you provide, there are clothing vouchers available periodically throughout the year.
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.