11 Myths of Foster Care Parenting
The thought of becoming foster parents may raise numerous questions and uncertainties. Perhaps some uncertainties are based on myths you may have heard, yet many myths are untrue and overshadow the rewards of helping youth. Here are some common misconceptions and truths of being foster parents:
- MYTH: To be foster parents we need to have parenting experience
FACT: Many foster parents never had children of their own.  If you are a responsible person willing to commit to providing a safe and loving environment, you’re a perfect fit. Not having children of your own doesn’t take away from your ability to be responsible and provide a loving environment to a child who needs it most.
- MYTH: We can’t be foster parents AND work full-time
FACT: You don’t have to be stay-at-home parents to foster. If the child does require day care, you may have to cover that cost , but there are programs that can help cover expenses depending on the state you live in. Becoming foster parents won’t take away from your work hours.
- MYTH: Being foster parents is too expensive
FACT: While there is some cost for foster care, many states or programs will reimburse expenses and/or provide a monthly stipend.  Being able to provide a safe and loving environment for someone who needs it most is priceless.
- MYTH: Foster children are hardened, difficult, and unruly
FACT: Many children in the state child welfare system have endured trauma in their lives. Because of this, they need you the most. You can provide a loving, stable, nurturing home for them to heal, learn, and grow. Many programs, as well as Rawhide, provide training on the dynamics of abuse and neglect to help you understand the foster child’s situation and be able to adapt to their needs.
- MYTH: Children are placed in foster care because of a criminal background
FACT: Many children enter foster care because of neglect, abandonment, or abuse. These children are looking for a loving, safe environment that nurtures and encourages them. 
- MYTH: Foster care is a punishment
FACT: Very similar to the misconception above. Not all children in foster care are delinquents and the courts don’t use foster care as a punishment. Foster care is to help the children find a safe, loving environment, not to punish. 
- MYTH: Children placed in foster care are orphaned
FACT: While some foster children are orphans, the vast majorities come from difficult home situations. Foster care is intended to protect those children. 
- MYTH: A biological parent can take an adopted child back
FACT: If reunification is on the table, a foster child can return to their biological parent(s) after some time. However, it would occur via a court-ordered process and not in one quick cinematic surprise. Once the child is eligible for adoptive placement, there is no chance of reunification. Once a birth parent’s parental rights are terminated; they have no way of regaining custody of the child. 
- MYTH: Foster children have been in & out of dozens of foster homes
FACT: The idea of foster care is to create permanence in the lives of the children. Many children are placed with foster parents and remain with those parents for a long time regardless of adoption eligibility. When they do go from home to home it is usually because of reunification attempts.
- MYTH: I’m not allowed to adopt children I foster
FACT: Some children that enter foster care do return to their birth families, but there are still thousands of children who cannot return home. According to the Adoption Exchange Association , of the 51,000 children in foster care adopted last year, 54 percent were adopted by their foster parents. 
- MYTH: I’m too old to be a foster parent
FACT: The only age requirement is that you must be at least 21 years old to be a foster parent.  Many empty-nesters have found foster parenting to be a rewarding experience. As long as you’re able to bring passion and a heart full of unconditional love, you’re never too old to be a foster parent.
Are You Curious About Foster Care Parenting?
If you would like to learn more or if you already feel you can create a loving, stable home for youth that need you, consider Rawhide’s Treatment Foster Care Program. We offer training, a monthly stipend, and 24/7 support.
Becoming a foster parent allows you to be part of something great and make an impact on a troubled teen.
Contact our Treatment Foster Care Team.
Originally published at www.rawhide.org