Every day in the United States, five children die from abuse. Severely neglected or beaten, 80 percent of these deaths are children below the tender of age of four years old. Social workers are dedicated to saving them, but they need a place for the children to live when their own home is simply too dangerous. When you take in a foster child, you are saving a life and enriching your own life.
A Constant Need
According to the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System Report of July, 2012, there were roughly 400,540 children in foster care as of September of 2011. This is a staggering number, and it underscores the need for good caring people to open their homes to the foster care program. These abused and neglected children need somewhere to go when their homes are dangerous. Children who have been orphaned through death and have no other family need a stable home to stay in while adoptive parents are located. With your help, these children can have a safe place to call home.
Children of All Ages
Children of all age groups find themselves in need of foster services, hoping that a stranger will care enough to open their homes and hearts. Whether you want to help a young toddler who is struggling to read or an older teenager who is dealing with more serious issues, there is a foster child out there waiting for you. It’s a chance to save a life, improve a life and benefit in your own life.
Understand the Process
The goal of foster care is to provide children with a safe haven, so there are some basic requirements to enter this program and bring a child into your home. You can expect to meet with a social worker who will conduct a home study. You will be asked to submit documents like birth certificate, marriage license and even tax returns to confirm your information and ensure that your household is stable.
Training and Certification
Once you are approved to become a foster home, you will undergo some basic training. This training will help you assess your parenting strengths and weaknesses, so you can be prepared for the unique challenges of being a foster parent. You will learn how to work with the birth parents of the children you foster, and you will learn skills to help them adjust and cope. Once you are fully trained, you will be ready to improve lives by accepting foster children into yours.
The Benefits of Fostering Children
Most foster parents agree that the emotional satisfaction is the number one benefit of joining the program. There is an incredible amount of satisfaction that comes with providing a child with a safe place to stay. It gives parents time to get their homes in order, so the children can return to a safe environment with their family. If they cannot return to their home, then you can provide them with a safe place while they wait to be adopted.
In addition to benefiting emotionally, you will also learn a great deal. The continuing education requirements of foster parents will also benefit your family and other relationships. You will learn more about family dynamics, managing relationships and helping children grow. The lessons will benefit the child now, but you will benefit from them for the rest of your life.
If you have always wanted to help someone, then accepting the role of foster parent can fill that need. There are hundreds of thousands of children in need of a safe place to live and learn, and you can provide them with that space. Learn more about becoming a foster parent today by contacting your local child welfare department to learn more about the program.
Lisa Knight writes for education blogs nationwide. If you are interested in a career helping others, there are several schools that offer degrees in social work, including UNE Programs and BU programs.