If you are sensitive to the plight of abused children who have been removed from their home or you notice that there are families in your church that are fostering a child, it might make you think how fortunate those children are to have a stable family care for them! You might also think of someone who needs to be a foster parent because they are so loving with children. And another thought of course is, what would it be like for you to become a foster parent yourself?
After deciding to look into becoming a foster parent, most families ask, “Are there that many children who need homes?” This is a great question, and quite honestly, it does sometimes seem to have a cyclical/seasonal basis. What does that mean? Well sometimes, when it is warm, there aren’t as many referrals to Child Welfare Services or Child Protective Services (or whatever it is called in your area). There are also times of the year when placements increase or decrease. Years ago, it was far more cyclical, however, there are currently as many as 20 children a week that can be referred for placement! Sometimes, it is only one or two. So, needless to say, foster agencies are always recruiting. Here are the top four reasons they are recruiting new parents on a continual basis!
1. The more families available, the more appropriate placements there are for a child! It is so important to have new foster parents because the more parents an agency has to select from, the more appropriate placements they can make. Placing a child is more art than science, but agencies have been doing this for a long time and intuitively know whether a child will fit with a foster family based on a number of factors, including but not limited, to the configuration of the family (how many children are already in the foster home, what gender the children are, and the backgrounds of the foster children and the biological children of the foster parents).
Sometimes, families are taking a short term break because of family emergencies or because one of their adult children has moved back in and they want to hold off on placements for a while.
The better the placements are, the less disruption there is for the foster child. Agencies do not like children moving from place to place—no one does. Movements are sometimes necessary, but in most cases, the more stable a child’s placement, the better the child does in foster care and school, in bonding with the family, and in getting the services they need.
2. Foster parents adopt or move. I don’t know if you’ve had a similar experience as me, but I grew up in a town of 800 in Kremmling, Colorado. When our family moved to California, we lived in towns where there were no other relatives of ours. People move, they change jobs, they move to take care of family members, etc. Adoption sometimes takes a family out of being a foster parent as well. Sometimes, single children get adopted—and sometimes, up to five children get adopted—into a family. When there is no more room or the family has the family they have dreamed of, oftentimes they are not available for any more placements.
3. There are so many children being referred to Child Welfare that foster agencies do not have enough parents. When they do not have enough foster homes, children are frequently forced to go out of their community to find a place to live.
4. We are called to care for those who are most vulnerable. Whether you are looking to adopt or to be a professional foster parent, your heart has to be right. One of the scriptures that has been a life principle is John 5:13: “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” I have not found one thing on earth that is more important than making a child a priority and providing a loving home and place for the child to heal and get traction to grow up to be a productive member of our community.
This article was originally published at http://www.childrenfirstffa.com/4-reasons-foster-parents-are-always-need... .
Mike Logan is the founder and CEO of Children First Foster Family Agency in northern California.