Is Foster Parenting Right for You?

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Choosing to take a child into your home that might come from a neglectful or abusive background is a big decision. But many people decide to do just this, and they provide an important role in our society. Every child, no matter what the circumstances, deserves to have a loving home. Forster parenting while very difficult can also be extremely rewarding. It is a great responsibility and the decision should not be taken lightly. Once the decision is made there are several options available depending on the state you live in.

Luckily, foster parenting doesn't come in a “one size fits all” format. There are many types of arrangements that a potential foster parent can look into. If you're not prepared to make a long-term commitment, that is fine. Also, if you are looking into foster parenting in the hopes of adopting, there are also arrangements of this nature. The following three kinds of foster parenting offer benefits to both the children and the caregivers.


If you are interested in fostering a child that perhaps you could someday adopt, this is an ideal situation. But you must keep in mind the top priority of the agencies you will be working with is to reunite the child with his birth parents, if this is possible. However if this does not work out, being willing to adopt will spare the child another move when the biological parents' rights are terminated.

Children placed in fost-adopt arrangements are often very young. Foster parenting a child in this situation can be difficult because there is the chance the biological parent might regain custody. Even after adoption, the birth parents will often want to have some contact with the child.

Respite Care

Short-term care of a difficult child is often called respite foster care. Sometimes the parents need a break, especially if the child requires care 24 hours a day. These short breaks – anywhere from a weekend to a few weeks – can be essential in preserving a family. Foster parenting of this nature can require special training.

A person that performs foster parenting in the form of respite care must provide a relaxing, safe environment for the child. Spending a weekend or week away from his parents can be upsetting, and it will be your job to make the child feel reassured and supported.

Therapeutic Care

Children that come into foster care after severe emotional or physical abuse, or in need of special medical attention, need a large amount of care. Foster parenting children of this nature can be time-intensive as well as emotionally draining. You will have to invest a lot of hard work to help turn these children around.

Therapeutic foster care is usually done by people with a large amount of experience in dealing with kids who may already have criminal records, drug problems or a history of self-harming. This can be a full-time foster parenting job.

Foster parenting is not easy work, but it is extremely rewarding. Finding out what kind of foster care arrangement would work out best will help you extend your home and resources without becoming burnt out.

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