Becoming a foster parent is not an easy task. First, you have to decide that you’re up to the challenge. Then, you have to go through a lengthy and sometimes complicated licensing process. While it isn’t an easy process, foster parents are very needed and often in short supply. It’s a selfless action that helps to truly change the lives of children. There are many myths revolving around the system that may prevent people from deciding to become a foster parent. Here are four of the most common myths busted.
Myth 1: Kids spend many years in the foster care system
It’s a commonly-held belief that many kids in the foster care system stay in the system for many years, maybe their entire childhood. This long-term commitment can make many would-be foster parents wary of opening their homes. But, this isn’t the case. In reality, in 2016 45 percent of children spent less than a year in the foster care system. Also in 2016, only 4 percent of children spent more than five years in the system.
Myth 2: Kids in foster care are there because they’re bad kids
Many people have an idea that children in the foster care system are bad kids who are constantly breaking the rules, hence why they’re in the system. The truth is that children are put into foster care because of how they have been treated, not because of anything they did. Many children in the system have dealt with abuse and neglect, which can cause mental health issues and problem behaviors. It doesn’t make them bad kids; it just means they’ve been in a bad situation.
Myth 3: Only young, married couples can become foster parents
Because most people are young when they have children, it’s thought that foster parents need to be young as well. However, besides needing to be 21 to become a foster parent, there are no other age requirements. You can also be a single to become a foster parent. Anyone who can provide a loving and stable home is eligible to become a foster parent.
Myth 4: Foster parents receive no assistance in raising a foster child
Since there isn’t a lot of support for new parents of their own children, it’s assumed that foster parents don’t receive any help either. However, that isn’t true. The foster agency does its best to prepare foster parents for taking in a child. This includes providing health insurance, setting the kid up in school and preparing parents if the child has any type of disability.