A foster family is not so different from any other family.
Foster parents open their homes and their hearts to kids who are in foster care. They work hard to build meaningful relationships with kids in their care, as well as their families. Children in foster care and foster parents may only spend one day together, but connections can be made that last a lifetime. As is the case with any kind of parenting, the experiences of foster parents vary widely. Foster parents don’t need to be superhuman. They do need to be flexible and willing to put the well-being of kids at the center.
Reunifying children with their families, when it is safe to do so, is the ideal outcome of foster care. However, permanency for children in care can take many different forms, including reunification, adoption, and guardianship. Many foster parents work actively to support reunification and to help nurture ongoing connections with parents and family members, creating blended families that surround children with love and support.
Individuals of color are stepping up to be foster parents at proportionally the same rate as white individuals. However, since children of color are over-represented in the foster care system, there are not enough foster parents of color to care for them. Foster parents caring for a child of a different race and ethnicity from their own can support them by keeping them connected to their community, and educating themselves about the culture of the child in their care.
Foster families often provide homes to youth with only a few hours of notice, which means there is little time to ensure they have everything they need to care for the child based on their age and development. By supporting foster families, our community can help make transitions easier for kids.