The statistics are heartbreaking. In Kansas, over 7,600 children are in out-of-home care. But the state has just 2,000 foster homes. Nebraska has 3,000 foster homes for about 4,000 children. The shortage of fosters means many of the children who can’t stay with their parents have to be placed far from home. In one swift move, they lose everything they know — their familiar neighborhood, their teachers and coaches and their friends. Visits with family members are difficult, if not impossible. Can you help by becoming a foster parent? Do you have room in your heart and home for a child or sibling pair in a community near you? They’re in urgent need. They need you.
Chances Are You Qualify
You don’t need to be wealthy or have a huge home to become a foster parent. You don’t even have to be married! Many agencies are willing to place children with people who are single.
Although requirements vary slightly from state to state, these are generally the requirements for becoming a foster parent.
- You’ll need a big heart, open arms and patience. Going to a foster home is traumatic for any child, and most experienced trauma before entering the foster system. If your foster child arrives with behavior issues, dealing with them will require patience and love.
- Before you foster, you’ll have to attend a 30-hour training course.
- Prospective foster parents must pass complete background checks and be willing to be fingerprinted under the federal Adam Walsh Act. Crimes against children and conviction of a sexual offense are disqualifiers.
- You must be at least 21 years old.
- Foster parents need to be in good enough health to care for and supervise an active child or teenager.
- You’ll need enough income to cover all of your expenses without help from public assistance, like Section 8 Housing, food stamps or Medicaid.
- You’ll need reliable transportation and a working phone (a cell phone is fine), too.
- Foster children don’t have to have their own rooms, but they must have their own beds and enough space to study and play. It doesn’t matter whether you rent or own your home, as long as it meets fire and other local codes.
- You have to be a legal resident of the United States.