Thursday, April 25, 2013

Foster Parenting

Eddie Murphy, Duane Culpepper, Superman, Marilyn Monroe, Alonzo Mourning, Cher, Ice T, John Lennon, James Dean, and Babe Ruth: What do all these people have in common? They were foster kids!

Foster parenting is a job that gets little attention and is in great demand. It involves taking a child into your home—a child who has been abused, neglected, or abandoned, or whose primary caregivers are unable to meet their parenting duties—and caring for them as if they are one of your own. It's parenting with challenges potentially far exceeding the norm. However, the rewards can be extraordinary as well. Imagine Superman calling on Mother's or Father's Day.

In the 2004-2005 school year, it is estimated that there will be another 78,000 children placed into the foster care system. That's in addition to the 550,000 children already in foster care. The largest portion of children in foster care is from ages 11-15. This is not an easy age when they are your own children!

How do you know if foster parenting is for you? Do you have a strong support system or family? Are you a patient, committed person? What are your expectations of children and foster parenting? How good are you at saying goodbye? How does your family feel about doing foster care? After all, foster parenting isn't just about parents. It's a job that impacts the entire family. Do you have a lot of love to give?

If you can answer why you want to be a foster parent and want determine if foster parenting is right for you, the next step is to contact your state foster care representative.

Source: Suzanna Smith for Family Album Radio, Family Youth and Community Sciences Department, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida

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