The Supreme Power has created a world in which opportunities are given in equal share to one and all. But humans have disturbed the natural balance of environment in which some people feel blessed and some feel that they are cursed and a burden to live on earth. As children, many of you have grown up in the protective care of parents, siblings, relatives and society. You become a successful happy individual not because of your education but the humanitarian aspects which your family imbibes in you when young. All children are born with a positive attitude and it is said that an infants’ hand will be that of a closed fist stating that he/she is going to win over the world and make a mark. The plant seed is sown in the ground, but to grow into a plant, several factors come into prominence such as sunlight, protection from cattle and nutrient based soil. Similarly, every child requires a stable environment and proper guidance to grow into a healthy individual. There are many children who have been wounded physically and mentally for no fault of their own, especially in war torn countries such as Somalia etc. There are equal number of men and women who bear the whole impact of trauma such as physical abuse, slavery, sold into drug cartels throughout their lives. Foster care is not a lucrative career option, but it is the best human award given to a child in need. If you are reading this article here, I am sure you want to know something about how much do foster parents get paid or something associated. If yes, then read on.
But there are some humans in this world, the very mention of their name can remind you of the humanitarian aspects of love, compassion and sacrifice. Example, Mother Teresa. There are millions of children who are abused, left parentless and neglected by their societies. For these children, foster family can be a source of humanitarian help. There are many successful individuals who adopt children and become a foster parent. Are you interested in becoming a person who can bring about a change in a child’s life?
Foster care can be best defined as a temporary care for children who are separated from their parents because of various conditions. As per the dictates of the court, they can remain in their foster home until the law decides the child can go back to their parental home. Many children are lucky to get reunited with their blood relatives. An adult can become a foster parent if he/she cares for children separated from their biological home by the orders of court. These children can also be adopted if the court deems it suitable for termination of parental rights.
Foster care is a humanitarian aspect and should not be considered as full time employment. Usually, families chose to foster care because they feel they have to give the same amount of compassion and love which they have got from the society. The law has allowed a monthly amount for maintenance to be given to foster parents for covering the cost of a foster care child. There are different levels of payment across the state as they depend upon the categories of children. The categories are determined by a child’s age and the rates can be increased in course of time. The amount given is usually for normal household expenses, clothing, mileage, food, school meals and necessary items needed for a child.
Usually, the cost for a child in the ages of one to eleven can range from $900 per month and $1000 for a child/youth in the ages of 12 to 19 every 30 days. But the amount can vary for children with disabilities or behavioral problems. For the question, do foster parents get paid – it is better to consult your nearest foster home agency to know the details.
The amount paid will also depend upon the type of foster care.
Emergency foster care: For a small duration of time, a child will have to stay for a few days and they can be sent to their biological parents or relatives. In very rare cases, does an emergency placement become converted to long term foster care.
Short term foster care: In this case, the duration will be of some months, while the law makes plans for the child’s care and future. This option is preferred when a child is about to be adopted by another family.
Short-breaks fostering: Specially meant for children with disabilities and other issues concerning behavior. The child will be allowed to stay in a home with another family. After few months, they are returned to their biological families and in the duration, the foster care child’s biological family gets a break.
If a child has committed an offence or illegal act, they are made to stay in a special home by the court.
The other two types of fostering, termed as long term/permanent fostering applies to children who have only a few years to turn 18. These children do not give their consent to be adopted and they prefer to be in foster care.
You know a family but the elders have expired in an accident. The child is left on its own. You can foster care the child as the family is already known to you and even the foster care agency and your family approve of your decision. This is probably the preferred type of fostering (called as kinship fostering).
The other type of fostering, private fostering is when a biological parent places his/her child in someone’s care who is not a blood relation or family friend.
You can be a good Samaritan, and you have full of compassion on the sufferings of fellow human beings, but it is mandatory that you should have a family who shares the same feelings or you would end up a loser. If you have a supportive family, then you are blessed and the idea of fostering a child and giving the required care and support he/she needs can prove to be the most rewarding humanitarian role. Acting as a foster parent brings their own share of challenges and responsibilities. Kindly make a firm decision along with your family and contact a fostering agency who will offer you support and answers for your doubts and queries.
Before you become involved, consider these factors:
Usually, any fostering agency recommends that a child should have their own room. In the initial stages, it will be better, and you would have to redo your family’s sleeping arrangements. Once, as your children or siblings get acquainted with the new guest, then they can share the same room.
Every day has got only 24 hours and in case of a child, you have to ensure that time management is critical. You need to take care of the security along with the educational aspects. Also some child might have suffered abuse at the hands of their families. Your soothing words can bring a change in their lives and with the support of your loving family, you will be able to honor your other commitments also. You may be required to attend family meetings in school.
Since the foster agency which has placed a child in your care, have archives and placed dozens of needy children in foster homes, they can tell you the qualities and needs required to become a foster parent and the expectations of the child. You will be given sufficient time, manual so that you can gain information on every detail so that there will be few surprises in store for you. It is also mandatory to have a look in the allowances that you can receive for day to day care of the child. Although the amount may be meager, but still it will be of value and you can provide the best options to the child under your care. Ensure that the amount you will spend or likely to spend is accepted by the family. The primary step taken by the fostering agency worker would be to ask the reasons you opted for fostering instead of providing monetary help or by various methods such as buying of books and essential items to an orphanage. Your home and family members will also be taken into consideration and separate discussion can be had with them. Based upon all this information, you are given a child to care.
Foster care does not mean caring as a parent, there are plenty of groups, prominent among them sibling group, disabled children, intensive fostering, emergency fostering and mainstream fostering etc.
Once the social worker is sure of your aspiration, then you have to submit a completed FORM F Assessment that has details of all the conversation that has taken place, and background checks will be conducted with your previous employers and other required details. You will have access to a fostering agency social worker whom you can call any time in times of legal doubts and queries. Your application will be submitted to a fostering panel – they can approve or deny your application based on your credentials. If you are not approved, then do not turn negative as some changes will be recommended by the panel and you can also apply for a second time.
If you are approved, a child relevant to your home environment will be placed with you, and you as well your family can be requested to attend relevant training sessions if needed.
For becoming a foster parent, you will have checks done on your background, regular income, inspection of home and family, participate in an interview and personal references. You also have to attend a training class and submit an application for license (family home). The advantages of foster parenting are that you can be single or married, but they must at all times have proper co-ordination with the particular agency placing children in foster care.
The law also grants the foster parent the right to decline a child given through foster care. You can select the type and age of children you want to foster care by clicking the appropriate boxes in the application form. Once your application is accepted by the panel, the social worker will scout for a foster home that can accept the child under your care.
Foster children also receive medical facility as they are given a medical card covering the expenses and prescribed medicines under the State’s programs. It is the duty of the foster parent to transport the child to the doctor.
Foster parents also face another uphill task – working with the biological parents of the child under their care. The law of any court in any State will be to reunite the child along with his/her biological parents. You, as a foster parent will be working along with social workers towards reunification.
Challenges might arise in various forms between a foster parent, social worker or biological parent. In such cases, each State has developed a procedure that has to be followed. There are also groups known as Foster Parent Support Workers who work with families to resolve a difficult situation.
A child has to bear the brunt of leaving his/her family and adjust in the new, unfamiliar environment. They can face stress as they do not know if the new home will be a temporary resort or they can be moved to some other place. The duration of reunification with parents will also be unknown to them. All these factors can make the child refrain from developing relations with the new family. It can also cause considerable harm by making them inactive to develop human skills etc.
The challenges will be more as you will get only a brief description of the child problems. You can have a child under your care who is suffering from depression, disability, domestic violence abuse, difference of opinion with the child’s biological parents etc.
It is mandatory that you maintain close co-ordination with your assigned worker. He/she can give you tips and best guidance when the new guest comes into your and your family’s life.
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