There are some 653,000 children in the foster care system or waiting for adoption in the United States. These are the most vulnerable people in our society.
Foster care is a system in which a minor child has been placed into a ward, certified, or private home of a caregiver, referred to as a “foster parent”. The placement of the child is normally arranged through the government or a social service agency. The institution, group home or foster parent is compensated for expenses.
These people willingly accept someone elses’ kids into their homes, see to it that they get to school, that they’re safe from making harmful choices they may otherwise be making. It’s a challenge – the kids often don’t want to be there, or if they are they test the rules of the house to be sure they’re really cared about. They often don’t know how to make better choices. Foster parents are truly people who are working to be the good they wish to see in the world.
No one is getting rich being a Foster parent. In fact, they’re legally exposed: they’re responsible for the day to day care of this child, they have to ensure physical well being. They’re opening their home up to the state to ensure they’re living up to their obligations.
They undergo background screens, go through over 70 hours of training, have their homes go through a home study process so they can care for someone else’s child.
They’re the people who are staying up all night when the foster child decides to take off overnight, they’re the ones taking the kid to the emergency room, they’re the ones who get the call from school. All this for expense reimbursement.
Without foster parents, there are kids that won’t get a chance in life. Consider the statistics: 23,000 children simply aged out of the system in 2013. These kids have few social skills – 20% will wind up homeless after age 18 and 50% will be unemployed within six years. Foster parents are sometimes the only chance these kids have.
It’s a remarkably selfless avocation with remarkably little reward. Foster parents are literally society’s super heroes.