Foster Care

Can you Become a Single Foster Parent?

Can you become a single foster parent? The short answer is yes! Learn all about becoming a single foster parent with our tips for success.

One of the top questions that many people have about foster care is whether or not you can be a single foster parent.

The answer is yes — there’s nothing wrong with being a single foster parent!

The truth is that a person’s marital status has nothing to do with their ability to become a foster parent. Many of the best parents are single mothers and fathers. As long as you qualify, you can become a single foster parent. 

Shunda Brackett worked with Mentor Foster Care, a part of Sevita’s companies, and became a single foster parent. Missing the nurturing part of raising her own children, Shunda gave love and care to children in need while helping teach other single parents. 

Although there’s nothing wrong with becoming a single foster parent, there are some questions you may want to ask yourself first before getting started. 

Questions to Think About for Single Foster Parents

Here are four things to think about if you want to be a single foster parent:

Do You Have a Support System or Help?

Being a single parent can be tough sometimes — it can often feel like you’re alone trying to care for a young child while also managing your own self-care. 

Before you decide to become a single foster parent, look around you.

  • Do you have a support system in place?
  • Do you have family and friends that will help you if you need it?

Everyone can use a shoulder to lean on from time to time. If you have a support system around you, you’ll have a much easier time giving the love a child in care needs to thrive.

Do You Have Enough Time?

Caring for a child in need requires a lot of time. Some children are more independent, while others need some help to get there.

  • What is your work life like? Are you working long hours and spending a lot of time away from home?
  • Lifestyle is important, too. Do you have several hobbies that take away your time?

No matter what, you’ll want to make sure you have enough time to go around.

Have You Taken Care of a Child Before?

If you’ve never worked with children before, you’ll have to figure out whether or not becoming a single foster parent is truly right for you. Experience can help you provide the right level of care and can prepare you for at least part of fostering a child.

Having your own children isn’t needed to become a foster parent. Still, if you’ve never really spent time around children before, it is something to think about.

Can You Afford to Care for a Child?

It’s important to ask yourself if you can afford to take in a foster child. 

Income is one of the most important needs for any parent — no matter your marital status. Foster parents need to have enough funds available to them to provide healthy meals, clothing, and safe housing for kids in care.

How to Become a Single Foster Parent

If you’ve answered “yes” to many of the questions above, you may be ready to become a single foster parent!

The process is no different than becoming a foster parent as a couple. The steps vary by state, but in general, here’s what to expect:

  1. Locate a foster care group in your state 
  2. Complete an application
  3. Attend pre-service sessions
  4. Complete a home study
  5. Wait for your match

You can check out our blog on how to become a foster parent for a more in-depth review of the foster parent process!

Tips for Single Parent Fostering

For new single foster parents, here are six of our top tips for success.

1. Set a Schedule

As a single foster parent, you’ll be mostly on your own to get a child in care where they need to go — whether it’s to school, to some of their hobbies, or even to bed on time.

Setting a schedule and creating a routine can help make this easier. It will allow you to spend less time planning out your day together and more time getting everything done. 

Routines and schedules are also amazing for children in general. It can help them feel safe, understand what comes next, and even help them with their learning in school. 

2. Rely on Your Support System

Never be afraid to ask for help from your support system. After all, they’re there for you to lean on when needed.

  • Everyone can use a helping hand from time to time — including single foster parents.
  • If you’re finding it hard to keep up, ask for help.
  • Ask friends, family, or a foster care group that helps foster parents and children.

This kind of help is healthy for you and for the children in your care.

3. Know When to Say “No”

Having a new foster child in your home is an exciting time — you want to provide them with all of the love, care, and support that you possibly can. 

However, your role is also to help them thrive in the future. In many cases, this means understanding when to say no — even though it can be hard!

  • Knowing the limits and saying no when you need to is something that comes with time.
  • We all want our children to like us, but the truth is that it’s our job to help them learn healthy habits.
  • Sometimes, this means putting your foot down, saying no, and accepting that your child may be upset with you for a little while.

4. Understand That No One is Perfect

Here’s something important to remember: no parent is perfect! 

Everyone makes mistakes — including single foster parents.

  • Don’t put yourself down when you make mistakes. It won’t help you become a better foster parent.
  • Instead, focus on learning from your mistakes. You’ll never be a perfect parent, but what you can do is focus on doing your best.

Learning from your mistakes and staying positive can help you succeed!

5. Connect With Other Foster Parents

For new foster parents, talking to other parents with experience in fostering can help you gain knowledge. 

Who better to ask than those who have gone through many of the same things?

  • If you know people in your area who are foster parents, that’s a great place to start — ask to connect with them and share some experiences with you.
  • If you don’t know anyone personally, there are other ways to connect with foster parents. For example, social media groups and online forums.

6. Appreciate the Little Things

Appreciating the little things is important for anyone, but it’s especially valuable as a single foster parent.

Foster parenting is rewarding but can also be tough at times. With so many ups and downs, you’ll want to take the time to celebrate the wins — no matter how small they may be. 

Appreciating the little things is also a great way to bond with a foster child. Children in care can take a lot of time to bond with their new parents because of their history. Showing them that you care about life’s small wins can help support the process.

Learn More About Foster Parenting in Our Upcoming Webinar 

Looking for more information on foster parenting?

If so, our upcoming webinar can help point you in the right direction.

By attending a Foster Parent Information Session Webinar and learning more about the fostering process, you can take the first step toward becoming a foster parent and providing a safe, loving, and supportive home for a child in need. 

Sign up for our webinar today!

Sign Up For The Webinar

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