WHAT IS FOSTER CARE?
Foster care is a temporary service for children who cannot live with their families. These children may live with relatives (kinship caregivers), licensed foster parents, or in placement settings such as group homes, residential care facilities, emergency shelters, and so forth. The main hope is that they can reunite with their families once they can provide a stable home for their children.
Becoming a foster parent is a tremendous responsibility and will present challenges and changes in your routine lifestyle, but we promise in the end, it will all be worth it.
WHY DO CHILDREN NEED FOSTER CARE?
Children in foster care may have suffered from abuse and neglect, have emotional or physical challenges, or face other complex issues which make them unable to live with their family of origin. Some of the most common reasons children enter the foster care system include:
- Substance use by a parent or guardian
- Physical abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Domestic violence
- Emotional abuse
- Disrupted adoptions
- Severe educational neglect
- Severe medical neglect
ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA FOR FOSTER PARENTS
To be a foster parent, you must meet the qualifications and criteria. The criteria include:
- Must be over 21 years of age
- Must be in good physical and emotional health
- Must have stable family relationships
- Must have the ability to manage family financial obligations
- Must have the willingness to undergo required criminal background checks and child abuse clearances
- Must have the willingness to participate in initial and ongoing training
- Must have the openness to issues of working with child’s birth parents
- Must have an understanding of the unpredictability of foster care (it may be temporary or may require that a family make a permanent commitment to the child). To learn more about this, read our blog, What To Expect When Fostering.
- Must provide a drug and violence-free home
- Must complete a home study
- Must have reliable transportation with insurance
- Must have ample space so each foster child can have their own bed
ASSISTANCE FOR FOSTER PARENTS THROUGH BURLINGTON
There are over 440,000 children in the foster care system with the ultimate goal of being reunified with families. At Burlington, we assist our clients with fostering. Depending on your existing family, we can help you determine what your needs are and help find your family the best fit.
Other assistance from Burlington includes:
- Individualized orientation
- Initial and ongoing training
- Supportive services from a treatment coordinator
- Monthly financial assistance to defray costs
- Access to respite care services if needed
- 24/7 crisis and emergency support
- Monthly clothing allowance
- And other services as needed
ASSISTANCE FOR FOSTER CHILDREN THROUGH BURLINGTON
Assistance for foster children from Burlington includes:
- Immediate placement in a safe family environment based on the child’s individualized needs
- Assignment of a treatment coordinator who will provide linkage to services, assessment, and referral for treatment and services.
- Access to emergency service 24/7
- Coordination of birth family contact (if recommended)
- And other services as needed
FOSTERING IS AN EMOTIONAL YET REWARDING CHALLENGE | BURLINGTON UNITED METHODIST FAMILY SERVICES
As a foster parent, it is your job to help your foster child feel valued and important. Children may not always warm up to you right away, and that’s okay. Sometimes, they have not experienced a safe environment and may be resistant to you and your family. At first, foster children may also not feel safe in your home; this is normal due to other life experiences they may have encountered.
Since 1913, Burlington United Methodist Family Services, Inc. has dedicated itself to changing lives by providing hope and healing to those who are hurting. We entered the foster care ministry in 1985, and since then, it has grown into one of our most extensive programs. Our foster care team works closely with families and clients to make foster care life enjoyable. If you have any questions about foster care, becoming a foster parent, or any of our other services, please contact us at 304-260-5884 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
“For I know what I have planned for you,” says the Lord. “I have plans to prosper you, not to harm you. I have plans to give you a future filled with hope.” — Jeremiah 29:11