Wednesday, October 3, 2012

{31 Days} Foster Parenting Myths

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. I truly hope that more "empty nesters" will choose to make a difference through foster care as there are so many teens that could greatly benefit from their wisdom and parenting experience.
Myth: I don't have any children, and to be a foster parent you need to have parenting experience.
Fact: Not true! Many foster parents are childless. The foster care system needs responsible people who are willing to make a commitment to these children. Your agency will provide training that not only covers basic parenting but that deals with some of the specific that you may encounter when working with a child that has been abused, neglected, or possibly drug exposed.  Many agencies use the PRIDE training for general parenting, California does Options for Recovery Training for foster parents of children under age 5. 
Myth: Once I take in a foster child, I'll be on my own without any help.
Fact: Admittedly, it is a complex system and the type and level of support is going to vary greatly depending on your agency and where you live. However, there is training prior to being placed with your first child and there are continuous opportunities for training that will apply to the specific needs of the children in your home. Your agency can also provide respite (over night babysitting) for those times when you need a break.
dditionally there are state foster parent associations (some of which have a presence on Facebook) as well as The National Foster Parent Association. Aside from all of these, I strongly encourage you to find physical and emotional support in family and friends and to connect with other foster parents in your area. And, Hey! There is always me! It is my passion to see more foster families connected and feeling supported on this challenging but worthwhile journey. :) You should NEVER be in this by yourself!

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