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What Is Foster Care? A Resource for Potential Foster Parents
Foster care is an essential way for some children and families to receive the support they need to thrive. Learn more about becoming a foster parent here!
The importance of family for children cannot be understated. At Sevita, we believe children belong in families — a developing child needs the structure and love families provide to support their mental health and build a bright future.
- Not every child gets the opportunity to develop that future with their biological parents.
- Many factors can contribute to this outcome, but these children still need the same love and care.
- In these situations, foster care is one way for these children to receive the support they need to thrive.
If you’re interested in becoming a foster parent — we’re here to help provide some information about foster care, the qualifications you need to become a care provider, and how Sevita’s services support children and families in living well.
What Is Foster Care?
Foster care accommodates individuals of any age, from infants to young adults. According to the United States Children’s Bureau, foster care — also called out-of-home care — is defined as:
“...[A] temporary service provided by States for children who cannot live with their families. Children in foster care may live with relatives or with unrelated foster parents. Foster care can also refer to placement settings such as group homes, residential care facilities, emergency shelters, and supervised independent living.”
- In some cases, foster care is meant to be a temporary solution, but many children often end up in foster care for a year or more.
- There are around 424,000 children in the foster care system in the United States.
- The number of children who need loving foster homes changes slightly every year, but there is always a need.
There are many reasons why individuals may receive the support of a foster parent. Every child has a different background.
- A child living with trauma may need to receive care to support their mental health.
- A child living with complex medical needs may need additional support during meal times.
In some cases, a biological family member simply can’t provide this level of care.
Regardless of the situation, every child deserves love — and they deserve to live life well. If you choose to become a foster parent, you can help make that a reality.
What Qualifications Do You Need To Become a Foster Parent?
Working with an agency partner like Sevita can make it easier to navigate the qualifications you might need to meet to become a foster parent. Requirements vary by state, but some of the most common we see include the following:
- A minimum age requirement
- A foster care skill development program
- A spare bedroom for the child in care (sharing with another child may be welcomed in appropriate cases)
- A dedicated income source, whether work or other income
At Sevita, individuals receiving our support as a foster parent:
- Are a minimum of 21 years of age
- Are ready to prepare or serve nutritious meals
- Are ready to provide a safe space to live, play, and grow
- Are ready to provide transportation to and from school, activities, and appointments
- Are committed to helping individuals in their care to thrive
The Process of Becoming a Foster Parent with Sevita
The process of becoming a foster parent begins with filling out a form to learn more about your state’s requirements. You’ll also fill out an application that states your interest.
- If your application passes the review process, you may need to take part in a home study.
- A home study determines whether or not your home will best meet the needs of children in care.
- A criminal and background check typically happens during the home study process.
You will also take a skill development course designed to help potential foster parents succeed. These courses cover everything from working with agencies to providing support for children living with trauma.
After your home is officially licensed, the matching process begins. This can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months, just to be sure that the right match is made.
While providing care, you will also receive a monthly stipend to help cover the costs. The amount depends on what state you live in and the level of care the individual needs.
How Does Sevita Help With Foster Care?
Foster parents working with Sevita have the full backing of our support staff. We’re there every step of the way to provide adequate support, counseling, and other services that children and families need.
You’ll also have an experienced and caring coordinator assigned to you and the child in your care. Your dedicated coordinator will:
- Visit your home and the child regularly
- Review the child’s care plan and discuss whether it is meeting their needs
- Oversee the child’s growth and progress toward goals
- Provide case management
Looking For More Information?
We’re here to help every individual we serve to live well. If you’re interested in more information about becoming a foster parent, we’d be happy to hear from you.
Reach out to us by using our contact form so we can connect with you at the right time for your schedule. You can also learn more about our foster care and support programs by visiting the link below.