5 things to know about being a foster parent

In honor of National Foster Care month this May, we spoke with Joe Rogers, a board member at ChildNet, the lead community-based child welfare agency in Broward and Palm Beach counties. Rogers, formerly a foster parent, has three adopted children and four biological children.

1 Parents can start out by serving as a “respite” home, Rogers says. As a respite home, parents often care for a foster child when foster parents must go out of town and can’t bring the child with them. “You’re kind of like grandparents – you take them on the weekends,” says Rogers, who initially got involved with foster parenting this way.

2 It is possible to make a difference in a teenager’s life. A lot of people foster with the intent to adopt, but they want babies because they think they can shape a baby, Rogers says. “But you can shape a teenager. You can have a tremendous impact,” he says.

3About 80 percent of the parents who start the foster care process finish it, Rogers says. “It’s not an easy process but the parents getting into it are very committed,” he says. Parents must complete a six-week course, clear a background check and become certified in CPR among other requirements.

4Parents aren’t on their own, Rogers says. The foster system provides tremendous resources to parents and serves as a support system. “They want to make sure that the foster parent succeeds,” he says. “The fulfilling aspect far outweighs the concerns that anyone has.”

5Fostering a child creates a special type of love, Rogers says. “The difference is the love you get back,” he says. “With your biological kids, you expect it. But with fostering, you’ve both searched each other out – it’s a special, rewarding type of bond.”

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