8 Steps to Take Before Becoming Foster Parents
If you are considering becoming foster parents, you should take the following steps to ensure you are ready for this new opportunity.
There are thousands of children in the Georgia foster care system in need of a loving, stable home. If you’ve been thinking of becoming a foster parent, first of all, thank you! Secondly, we’d like to help prepare you for your journey by listing some essential steps to carry out before you foster.
Read on for a guide to becoming foster parents.
1. Know What to Expect
First up in your journey of becoming a foster parent, you must know what to expect. Many people assume children in foster care will be difficult and troublesome, but that isn’t the case. Some may have past trauma that makes them a little harder to look after, but every child is different.
You should also be aware that you’ll have to talk to many people involved with the child. These can include the birth family, social workers, judges, other foster families, and therapists. You’ll work with a large number of people to make sure the children you’re fostering are happy and well-adjusted.
2. Evaluate Yourself
When choosing whether or not to become a foster parent, you must make sure you’ll be a suitable fit. It’s easy to want to help, but you have to have the right resources, personality, and home to be able to. Here are a few things to consider to make sure you’re ready to foster children:
- All of the people living in your home need to be on-board with the idea of fostering
- You need to be prepared to receive negative opinions from others for fostering
- Make sure your relationship is strong and stable
- Make sure you’ve spoken in-depth with any other children and continue to do so throughout the process
- You need to be sure that you’re ready and this is the right time to foster
- You need to be selfless, patient, and prepared to say goodbye when the children are reunited
Not everyone is fit for becoming a foster parent, so make sure you know you are before you move forward.
3. Evaluate Your Finances
While you don’t have to have millions to foster children, you need some extra funds! You will have some state assistance to help cover children’s primary care, including health insurance, clothing allowance, and daycare; but, you’ll need to be prepared to provide food and be reimbursed for some costs at the end of each month.
If you’re already struggling to make ends meet, you’ll have to ask yourself whether you’ll be able to provide for children in your care.
4. Look at the Requirements to Be Foster Parents
There are requirements to be a foster parent that are important to know. In Georgia, for example, you have to be over 25 years old to foster if you’re single, or if you’re in a relationship you have to have been married for at least a year. You also can’t have other adults living in your house who are non-relatives when fostering children.
Be sure to take a look at the full list of requirements in Georgia before going ahead with fostering.
5. Take Part in State-Required Training
If you’re looking at how to be a foster parent in Georgia, you have to complete state-required training. This is completely free for everyone and is very useful! In your training, you’ll learn more about the needs of children in foster care and how to meet them, as well as gaining valuable resources to help you manage the whole process.
You’ll be guided through the whole process, from start to finish, and gain helpful insights into how it what it’s like to be a foster parent. If you have any worries about fostering, now would be the time to express them! You can then get help from your trained professional, giving you the peace of mind you have everything you need to foster.
6. Complete All the Paperwork
Once you’ve completed your training, it’s time for paperwork. This will include vital information, such as a background checks to make sure you’re a suitable foster parent. You’ll also be asked for references and have to do a drug screening.
None of this is a reflection on you; they’re all necessary steps the agencies have to take to make sure all of their children are in safe, suitable homes.
7. Prepare for a Home Inspection
The final step before you can be approved to be a foster parent is a home inspection and study. This is usually quite exciting as you’re so close to completion, but that can also make it nerve-wracking! If you have a suitable home and have made sure you’re the right fit for a foster child, you’ll have nothing to worry about.
This whole process takes about 30 days to complete. Again, this is just another step to make sure all kids in the foster system are safe and in an environment they can flourish in.
8. Consider Your Spiritual Awareness
Taking on the responsibility of becoming a foster parent is a big deal! If you’re a person of faith, it’s important to take time and assess your spiritual health. Opening your home to a child in need is such a blessing; but you must make sure your heart is open first! There are many things you can do to prepare spiritually for this big step:
- Use prayer or meditation to help guide you as you consider whether fostering is right for you
- Reach out to your faith community as an extra support-system during this time
- Try and find time each day to engage in your spiritual practices
- Consider the ways in which fostering might be an expression of your faith
You’ll find that taking the effort to tend to your spiritual needs will ultimately make you a better foster parent!
Foster a Child
Once you’ve been through all of these steps and passed with flying colors, it’s time to become foster parents! This is an incredibly exciting journey for you and your family, and one that will change the life of children forever.
To learn more about fostering in Georgia, get in touch with our team at Foster Now.