May is National Foster Care Awareness Month, a reminder to consider the 443,000 children in foster care across the country – about 3,500 of them in the Miami-Dade area – that need a safe and nurturing harbor.
The need for loving foster parents is great, especially in minority communities, and fostering is a wonderful first step toward adoption. If you’re considering fostering, the following may answer some of your biggest questions:
How do I become a foster parent?
Potential foster parents must attend PRIDE (Parent Resources for Information, Development and Education) training administered by an agency that supervises children in the foster care system. Upon completion, you’ll undergo background checks and a home study to become licensed.
How long does it take?
About two months at minimum, but that can vary.
I’d really like to foster, but I’m single.
Foster parents can be single, married and/or LGBTQ. You simply must be 21 or older, financially self-supporting and able to meet the qualifications necessary for working with children.
What supports will be available to me as a foster parent?
Your caseworker will work with you in managing the care of your foster child. Local foster parent organizations, such as the South Florida Foster & Adoptive Parent Association, offer advice, guidance, shared experiences and camaraderie.
Will I receive financial assistance?
Foster parents receive a monthly stipend from the state, which contributes to the cost of caring for each child placed in their home.
Sources: U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Our Kids of Miami-Dade/Monroe and the South Florida Foster & Adoptive Parent Association.