Children who have been exposed to different forms of abuse and neglect receive care through the child welfare system. If the child's family can't provide safe and appropriate care and support, they are often put under the supervision of a foster-care family. On any given day, there are about 424,000 children in the US foster care system. Before you become a foster parent, you must undergo rigorous foster parent training.
Who is a Foster Parent?
A foster parent is a couple or an individual with a sense of community responsibility and a genuine interest in children. Foster parents share a common mission to provide security and safety to the children they have fostered.
To become a foster parent, you need the following:
- The desire to love
- Willingness to learn
- The ability to nurture
- Basic understanding of children's needs
- Optimism, patience, and tolerance
Why Is Foster Parent Training Essential?
Foster parent retention and placement stability are among the main challenges faced by the US foster care system. There are many parents who join the foster care system and then withdraw after a few months or years. However, children specialists believe that most of the challenges faced in the system can be addressed through comprehensive training.
Lack of foster parent preparation is associated with the following problems:
- Emotional and physical strain among the parents
- The conflict between the foster parent, child, and biological parent
- Disruption of the foster placement
As you know, children who enter the foster care system come from stressful environments. Most of them are removed from their homes for different reasons, mainly child abuse and neglect. Thus, they have social and psychological problems.
It's not easy to separate a child from their parents. Also, it is difficult for the child to cope with separation from their friends and familiar surroundings. Thus, they have difficulties adjusting to this new arrangement.
Due to painful past experiences, children in the foster care system may not communicate their needs in a functional manner. Further, they often experience a wide range of disturbing feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. So, how can you handle them without appropriate foster parent training?
As a foster parent, you will be responsible for nurturing the child's physical, emotional, intellectual, and social needs. Without training, it is hard to be an effective foster parent. Also, you are likely to misunderstand your roles and specific duties.
There are many US children who are separated from their biological parents due to safety concerns. Some don't have an alternate placement, such as a relative caregiver, and they need a foster parent. For you to become a foster parent, you must undergo extensive foster parent training.
Look into foster parent training in your area to get started.