The mention of the word foster care often brings about memories of different stories we have heard about foster families. There are always investigations and different information that we see and hear on both print and electronic media about the happenings in these families.
Although some of the stories might be true, there are many myths and misconceptions about foster care families that we need to demystify. Some of the misinformation is spread by people who don’t really understand how foster care families operate.
Fostering children is a lucrative business
Although foster parents usually receive a certain amount of money to take care of their assigned children, the money is not enough to serve as their income. The main purpose of the stipend is to ensure that the foster child or children live a comfortable life.
The money is meant to cover expenses such as the purchase of clothing, food, entertainment among others. At the end of the day, the foster parent remains with very little or nothing. Besides, foster parents are supposed to account for the money they are sent.
All foster children are bad or juvenile delinquents
One of the major misconceptions about foster homes is that they host children who don’t have a place to stay because of their bad behavior. Most people believe that children who live in these homes are violent, irresponsible, and aggressive and nobody wants to stay with them. This is simply not true.
The truth is that most of the kids who live in foster care homes had a difficult start in their lives. This made them react or behave differently because of the trauma that they went through.
Foster children are usually taken to foster care families that are able to understand their situations and help them become responsible adults.
You must be elderly or younger to qualify as a foster parent
The age requirement for anyone who wishes to foster a child is 21 years or above. Although fostering children requires time and dedication, there is no rule that requires only young parents to apply as foster parents.
Sometimes you will hear a young family say that they are not “established” enough to serve as foster parents. This should not be the case because all a foster child requires is love and care from an adult.
All foster children must have been physically or sexually abused
More than half of children removed from their parental homes are moved because of neglect. As much as we can’t deny the fact that some of these children are sexually molested, a majority are taken to foster homes because of neglect by their parents.
In recent years, there has been an increase in children in foster homes due to a surge in drug use by parents. Children are often taken to foster homes after some of their parents are incarcerated.
Regardless of the reason why a child is taken to a foster home, it is important to remember that they need love and care. Most of them are taken away not because of their own faults.
Foster parents don’t go to work
There is also a general belief that you have to be a stay-at-home person in order to be a foster parent. This is not true because the median age of a foster child is 7.8 years or school-going age.
That means such children spend most of their day time in school – making it a perfect fit for working parents. Arrangements for day-care or after-school care can always be made for foster parents who stay with younger children.