Flexibility: High

Social Engagement: High

What’s What: If you want to make a truly measurable impact on someone else’s life, consider becoming a foster parent.

Amava Take: About a quarter of a million children come into foster care in the US each year. Many end up living in group homes or other group settings because there are not enough foster families to care for all of them. That’s where you come in. You can play an important role in the lives of kids, offering stability and life lessons. Whether the child you foster is able to rejoin his or her family of origin or fostering becomes a step towards adoption, you will be changing the trajectory of a human life for the better.

From the Front Lines: 

What kinds of candidates do well as foster parents? 

Successful foster parents are open-minded, dependable, patient and willing to try different parenting styles for children with different needs. 

Any tips for first-timers to make it a productive and fulfilling experience?

Children and teens enter foster care through no fault of their own, often because they have been abused, neglected, or abandoned and are unable to continue living safely with their families. Being tolerant and demonstrating the ability to work as a member of a child’s care team are essential.

Is training and support available?

Yes, foster parents receive training before they welcome children into their homes and support from social workers and other professionals throughout the process. Foster parents may have access to respite care programs, support through local organizations and online support groups. 

From the Trenches:  

What’s the most satisfying part of the job/experience?

Creating a family relationship with another human being and providing support, stability, love and caring when it is most needed is a powerful experience. 

How would you describe the hard parts?

The circumstances that create the need in the first place to begin with. But also, letting go is hard, even though it is often  a sign that the system can work.

What surprised you the most about the experience?

The experience changed me as much as it changed anyone involved, and for the better.

Special Requirements: Foster parents must be at least 21 years old, pass background clearances, and be in good physical health. Here are some insider tips about foster parenting

Related Classes: Ready, Set, Read, Handling Medical Emergencies, Prepare for the GED Test

Finding a Position: To find more information, contact foster care providers in your state or visit the Child Welfare Information Gateway website. Details vary by state and region.