Integrated Family Community Services 3370 South Irving Street, Englewood, CO 80110-1816 Ph: 303-789-0501

Substitute Parenting: What to Know Before You Consider Fostering Children

If you enjoy having children in the home, then you might want to consider being a foster parent. It’s a rewarding challenge as you are able to give a child a home that often isn’t available to them. The love and support that are offered by your family can make a difference in the life of the young boy or girl who enters your home, but there are some things that you may want to consider before you take the step to welcoming a new addition into the home.

Patience and Support

You will need to have a strong support system in place, such as family and friends, who will encourage you and welcome the child into the family. Some people might not agree with having another child in the home who might be from a troubled family or who might have any number of issues to deal with. However, if you have the patience to work with the child to provide a loving and supportive environment, then the child will likely begin to see that someone does care.

Social Workers

There will be social workers, who have most likely gotten their social work master’s degree, in the home on a regular basis. You will have visits before the fostering process begins and at least once a month while the child is in your care. Many workers will help with getting the child back and forth to appointments and to school while providing the support that you need to raise the child. The worker will also want to monitor the home environment to ensure that it’s safe and that you have everything needed for the child.

Emotionally Attached

Unless you plan on adopting the child, saying good-bye is a part of the fostering process. You sometimes won’t know when the child will go back to the parent or another family member. This is why you shouldn’t get overly attached to the child as it can be hard to let go at times.

Considering Children

Talk to the children you already have to see how they feel about having someone new in the home. They might not want to share their space with a stranger. Your children might pick up on some of the habits that the foster child has, which could be bad in some situations if the foster child comes from a troubled background.

Being a foster parent has its rewards and difficulties. You will change the dynamic of the home in a way that can be frustrating at times and that can allow you to show love and support to a child who might not know these feelings exist. With the proper support in place and the willingness to succeed, you can easily be a foster parent who is remembered by the children in your home.

Tim Esterdahl

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