An organization in my state that does licensing and placements for foster care posted the following statistics recently on social media:
In our state
14 out of every 100 children are in foster care
The average stay of these children in foster homes is 700 days
There are ~15,000 children in foster care and only 4700 licensed foster homes
Like other foster parents, we have had a season with multiple placements in our home at the same time. We had two case workers, two different schedules, the kids went to school in two different towns, and we had two different plans to sort through. Even when we’ve had a single placement and decided not to take another, we received calls asking if we would open our home to more children.
The reality is often there are not enough homes to support the need in foster care.
In the time we have been involved in foster care, I have stood by two truths: 1) Not everyone is meant to be a foster parent/family. Sometimes there are extenuating circumstances that prevent it. Sometimes the season of life is not right. You also have to count the cost regarding things you’ll have to give up and situations you’ll have to face. If you are not in a position to be a foster parent, that’s okay. There are plenty of ways you can love and support those who are.
2) But the truth also is: More people can and should be foster parents.
So, why not you?
In our state, the requirements aren’t difficult, and that is true practically everywhere. While there are some specifics (like, you have to be at least 21), basically it comes down to: Do you have a safe home you are willing to open up and are you able to physically, financially, and emotionally care for children in need?
Yes, there is training. Yes, there are commitments. Yes, you have to deal with situations you don’t always understand. Yes, you’ll have to deal with behaviors and trauma backgrounds you probably won’t be fully prepared for. Yes, you’ll become attached and it will hurt when the children leave your home. Yes, you’ll have people pry into private parts of your life. Yes, you have to count the cost.
But there are also children in need. Children who have been hurt. Children who need love. Children who need safety. Children who need caring adults to open their homes and love them like their own until, if things work out right, they can return to their own parent(s).
So, why not you?
If you want to talk more or would like more information on ways to get involved in foster care, I’d love to hear from you. You can email me at fosterdadadventures [at] gmail dot com.
Pure and undefiled religion before God the Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained from the world. – James 1:27 (Christian Standard Bible)