MYTH: There are not that many children in foster care.
FACT: There are over 430,000 children in foster care in the United States. There are 14,000-17,000 children in care in Pennsylvania. Every foster family is important to ensure that these children are able to be in a safe and comforting environment.
MYTH: Foster children are broken and/or dangerous.
FACT: Most children in the child welfare system have experienced trauma which is why they need you the most. A foster home can provide a nurturing, stable and safe environment for the child to learn, heal and grow. Our organization provides training for foster parents to understand and adapt to the needs of the child.
MYTH: You cannot be foster parents and work full-time.
FACT: You do not have to be stay-at-home parents to foster. If the child requires day care, there are programs available to help with expenses.
MYTH: You need to have kids of your own/parenting experience in order to foster.
FACT: Many foster parents never had children of their own. Not having experience does not take away from the ability to be responsible and provide a safe and loving environment to a child.
MYTH: I have to own my home in order to adopt.
FACT: It does not matter if you are a homeowner or a renter. The only financial requirement is that you have enough of an income to support yourself and your family aside from the money you are reimbursed to care for a child living in foster care. However, the residence must have adequate bedroom space for the children. Each child must have their own bed.
MYTH: You must be a married couple in order to foster.
FACT: You can foster if you are single, married, in a partnership, divorced or widowed. Your sexual orientation/identity or faith also do not determine whether you are eligible to foster.
MYTH: You cannot have a disability if you want to foster.
FACT: Having a disability does not disqualify an individual from fostering a child. It is important, however, that disabled foster parents know how to advocate for themselves and be able to access the resources and information needed to care for a child despite their unique circumstances.
MYTH: I cannot foster if I am over the age of 50.
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. You are never too old to foster.
MYTH: If I decide to become a foster parent, I should not get attached.
FACT: Attachment is encouraged. Even if they are only with you for a short time, you may be the one person that can make a positive change in the child’s life forever. You may get attached, and it will be hard when the children leave. But these children need the love and care foster parents provide in order to begin healing and growing.
MYTH: As a foster parent, I am at it alone with no support or resources.
FACT: Foster parents get supported in many ways. For starters, before you even take in your first child, the agency staff works with you to develop a profile for the type of child best suited for your family. Support groups, mentors, respite care, referrals, and advocacy are available when needed. These are there in order to make sure the child’s (children’s) needs continue to be met.
MYTH: I cannot have pets if I want to foster.
FACT: Many foster parents have pets. Many foster children respond well to pets as they can be a source of comfort and affection to a child who has been hurt or abused.