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If you’re considering foster care, you likely have a long list of questions about the process and what to expect.

With so much information out there to help prepare you, there’s also plenty of misinformation and myths that might confuse you. Don’t let these misconceptions overshadow the many benefits of foster care.

Here are five common foster care myths, and the real truth behind them.

  1. You have to quit your job to have time to be a foster parent.
    Just as it would be for any biological parent, staying at home 24/7 with the foster child is not a requirement, as long as you can make it work. You’ll work with the foster agency to plan out childcare. If the child is in school, you’ll need to arrange and account for before and after-school care. If the child is not yet in school, you can arrange for a babysitter or other childcare.
  2. All foster children are difficult and hard to manage.
    Some foster children come with some emotional and physical issues, but that is to be expected, as they’ve likely been through a lot. With the consistency and loving environment of a foster home, though, foster children can learn better coping mechanisms and ways to overcome their struggles. By fostering these, or any, children, foster parents have the chance to create a positive impact on their lives.
  3. I can’t foster if I’m not already a parent.
    Individuals aren’t required to already be parents before they foster. People who choose to become foster parents must simply demonstrate a commitment to the child, and the willingness to learn how to best care for them. Already having a child is not a prerequisite for loving and caring for a child. Foster parents also have the opportunity to take classes and workshops to be better prepared. Texas Family Initiative even offers an extensive range of programs and trainings to get parents, new or not, ready to foster a child.
  4. I can’t foster if I’m not married.
    There is no marriage rule when it comes to foster parenting. The foster parent must be at least 21-years-old and healthy (and will have to prove this by seeing a doctor before fostering), and must pass a required background check. All walks of life can be considered for foster care, as long as the individual is able to provide a loving and stable home to the child.
  5. I have to make lots of money if I want to be a foster parent.
    Foster parents need to show financial responsibility and stability, but by no means do they need to be wealthy. Child welfare programs will assist with necessary expenses, helping offset the cost of a child. Just as you don’t have to be married or already a parent, people with all kinds of backgrounds can foster. The essential component here is that the child is well-cared for and their needs are met.