Foster Care and Parenting Overview

What to Know About Foster Care

Foster care services are essential to FamilyForward and our community. We help with foster care case management and aid in the recruitment, training, and licensing of families seeking to participate in the foster care system. Still, many people may not have much knowledge about this subject. Simply put, foster care is a temporary service where children who are unable to live with their families are placed under the care of foster parents. Learn more about foster care’s importance and why you should consider becoming a foster parent:

Why is foster care so important?

Foster care is necessary for several reasons. When children are removed from unsafe situations, they need and deserve stability. Foster care staff are trained to keep kids safe and find temporary placement for them to begin to heal from their trauma.

There is a shortage of licensed foster homes. When a foster home is not readily available for a child, staff may piece together their stays – night by night. This can be traumatic for a child, as they’ve already suffered the trauma of being separated from their family. Thinking nobody wants them only adds to this harmful experience.

Foster care is also important because parents and families struggle sometimes. People fall into bad habits and patterns, but that doesn’t make them bad people. They make bad decisions, and sometimes those decisions can leave kids in danger of being abused or neglected. Foster care exists to get kids to a safe environment so they can begin to heal and their family can get the support they need.

Another critical reason for foster care is that children need connections and healthy relationships with nurturing adults. Having a strong bond with family decreases a child’s chances of becoming a statistic.

How is success defined regarding foster care?

Finding a safe, permanent home for the child is the goal of foster care. Reunification is the ultimate success, and that happens when the caseworker supports the family to rectify whatever situation caused their child to be put under foster care.

What is the role of a foster parent?

The role of a foster parent is to be an advocate for their child: to protect them, offer their home, and treat the child the same as they would treat their family. It can be difficult depending on how long a case lasts and why someone is recommended for foster care. We encourage foster parents to work toward the child’s primary goal while encouraging developmentally appropriate growth and healthy sibling relationships if applicable.

Why should I consider becoming a foster parent?

Being a foster parent is a big commitment. In our experience, the reward of setting a child up for success far outweighs the fact that caring for a child in foster care is much more than a nine-to-five job. You and the child will come out of the experience having grown in positive ways that you cannot imagine. There may be growing pains, but we believe that being uncomfortable because of a new situation presents opportunities to learn and build character for both the foster parents and the foster parents’ children and families. Nothing compares to the feeling of helping someone, and this is a substantial and meaningful way to do so.

What holds people back from becoming foster parents?

A lot of people are interested in fostering but don’t for three main reasons. The first is that they’re afraid of “the system” and the stories they hear about it. This is largely informed by the media, which often tells of violent instances where foster care is required instead of focusing on the numerous positive outcomes of foster care. People sometimes hear one bad story, and it turns them off. We encourage them to reach out to people involved in the system, whether it be foster parents or case managers, and learn about the lasting impact many foster parents have had on their children in foster care.

Another reason is that people don’t think they have what it takes to be a foster parent or are anxious about the process of becoming one. There are five main questions prospective foster parents should ask themselves:

    1. 1. Do you have a home?
    2. 2. Do you have a love for people?
    3. 3. Do you like helping others?
    4. 4. Are you able to support a child in foster care?
    5. 5. Are you curious about foster parenting?

Finally, people think that their home and/or life isn’t luxurious enough to be attractive to a child in foster care. Keep in mind: a safe and loving home, no matter the size, is significantly better than a cot in an office or an unsafe environment. No matter your situation, you have the potential to make a significant impact in a child’s life.

As you likely know, it takes a village to raise a child, and the same is true for children in foster care. Local communities have always stepped up throughout the years when it comes to meeting the needs of children in foster care, and right now we’re in need of those types of communities. It takes the investment of everyone to make sure that these children get the love and care they deserve. Consider becoming a foster parent or explore how you can get involved and support organizations such as ours helping these children and families every day.

Consider becoming a foster parent by contacting Abby at or explore how you can get involved and support organizations such as ours helping these children and families every day.