5 Common Misconceptions About Foster Care
The foster care system is one of the more misunderstood systems in the US. While thousands of children are part of it, few honestly understand how it works. Below are five of the more common misconceptions about foster care.
All Foster Children Have Major Problems
There is definitely a preconception that foster children are troubled or that they are more likely to be troublemakers than other children. The truth is that foster children run the gamut of behaviors, with many children in foster care who lead perfectly well-adjusted lives. While all of these children deal with trauma, it is unfair to say that they all have major behavior issues.
The Parents of Children in Foster Care are Villains
The parents of children in foster care are not always villains. In some cases, the parents may be dealing with issues beyond their control like the inability to secure work or housing. In other situations, children may be in temporary foster care simply to get them out of a dangerous situation that is not the fault of the custodial parent. While children often go into foster care because of issues like neglect or abuse, there are many children who will only spend a brief time in the system before resuming their normal lives with their birth parents.
The Goal is Adoption
While many people look at children who go into foster care as children who have been ‘taken’ from their parents, the truth is that the goal of foster care is almost always family reunification. The average child who goes into the system goes in with the goal of going back to his or her parents after certain goals have been fulfilled.
Anyone Can Be a Foster Parent
While it is true that virtually any adult without a criminal record can become a foster parent, it does take more than putting one’s name on a list to become part of the foster system. Even family members who become foster parents often have to undergo significant training before a child can be placed with them, while most also have to have their homes examined and their backgrounds thoroughly checked.
Foster Parenting is a Scheme to Make Money
Finally, it should be noted that while most foster parents do receive some kind of stipend from the state, it’s rarely enough to cover the costs of raising a child. In fact, many foster parents deal with major extra costs during the school year and holidays and do so in order to give their charges a better chance at having a normal childhood.
Foster care is never an easy system to navigate, nor are the lives of the children in it always perfect. Understanding the truth of the system, though, does make it easier to help. There are many ways that the average person can reach out to help those in the foster care system – especially once they know the truth about how the system works.