Is foster parenting a good fit for you?
There are some questions you should ask yourself before taking the next step to be a foster parent:
- Am I secure enough in my parenting skills while at the same time being willing to learn new parenting skills?
- Can I accept assistance and guidance from trained social workers?
- Can I help a child develop a sense of belonging in my home even though the stay is temporary?
- Can I love and care for a child who comes from a different background and support the connections between the child and their background (race, culture, religion, ethnicity, gender identity, etc.)?
- Can I love and care for a child who, because of fear of rejection and loss, does not easily love me back?
- Can I love this child with all my heart and let him/her go when it is time?
- Can I maintain a positive attitude toward a child's parents, even though many of the problems the child is experiencing are a direct result of the parent's actions?
- Can I set clear limits, and be both firm and understanding in my discipline?
- Can I tolerate major failures and small successes?
- Do I view bed-wetting, dishonesty, defiance, and minor destructiveness as symptoms of a child in need?
What are the characteristics of a successful foster family?
Foster families are part of the child’s professional care team and must be committed, patient, understanding, and flexible. Single individuals as well as married couples can become foster parents. Successful foster families have good communication skills and a sense of humor, are open to feedback and direction, and ask for help when needed. These families set clear boundaries and limits and do not personalize a child's behavior.
What type of support is available to foster parents?
- All medical and dental care for the children through Medicaid or other sources
- Financial assistance for room, board, clothing and related expenses
- Ongoing training and supportive services, including resources from national organizations
- Social events
How can I become a foster parent?
We provide a training program and home assessment for prospective foster parents. Throughout the training and the home assessment process, all individuals/couples will be assessed for their fit with the needs of the Loudoun children in foster care. Those who successfully complete the class and the home assessment process will be dually certified to foster and adopt. The process to become a foster parent includes:
- Working with a foster family recruiter to discuss your interest in being a foster parent and the types of children who need foster families to ensure your family goals align with the goals of the child welfare team
- Attending an information session to learn what foster parenting is "all about"
- Attending approximately 30 hours of training to help you develop greater understanding of the trauma these children have suffered and new skills for relating to the children
- Completing the mutual family assessment process which includes several meetings with you and other family members to:
- Make sure you have ample space and enough beds for the child to keep his/her belongings, meet basic fire and safety rules, etc.
- Make sure you are physically and emotionally capable of caring for a child and are not abusing substances
- Reviewing finances to ensure your family is not dependent on foster care reimbursement as income
- Submit to background checks and other verification checks
For More Information
Contact the Foster Parent Recruiter at 703-771-5941 for more information.