The term foster care refers to the temporary permission given to someone by the state or a county to take care of a child or children that are not biologically his/hers. This is done in cases where children are born in families that are not able to support them, or in case of death of the parents. This can be done with compensation or without and may take for several months or years but depending on the circumstances of the biological parents or the child. Foster care can lead to adoption at a later stage. Mostly, the reason behind foster parenting is for the biological parents to reunite after they are ready to take care of the parents. However, not all children taken care in a foster home return to their biological homes, some get adopted when all the legal procedures are been followed. There are different kinds of foster cares: Adult care, this is a family that has been licensed to take care of a child or children because the biological parents are suffering from emotional, developmental and physical impairment; Emergency, are licensed institutions that take care of children who are instantly left without children or the immediate removal from their residential home; Long term care, this is a foster care where the child takes long to return to his/her biological home because of the situations that unfold; Pre-adoption, this is where infants are taken care as they wait to be adopted and many other types. (Krebs, 2006)
Factors curtailing the effectiveness of foster care
There are many challenges that may hinder the effectiveness of a foster care. They may arise from the state of the biological parents of the child or children that are being taken care of. One of them is the legal system. The legal systems may take a lot of time to implement issues pertaining to the care system. At times, it gives orders that may not be suitable for some particular situations and thus the foster parent is forced to follow such rules. The legal requirements also may curtail the freedom of the foster parents to take care of the child or children in a way that they feel is suitable. As a result of this, the children that are brought up may end up being indiscipline or now taken care of as per the standards of any other normal paren. The foster parents at times may just do what is stipulated in the agreement and neglect the total well being of the child. The other issue curtailing the effectiveness of a foster care is interaction with the biological family. Some families are unfriendly and abusive. During the process of taking care of the children or child and interacting with the birth family, at times they may treat the foster parents badly due to bitterness of not being capable to bring up of their own child. This may have a psychological impact on the foster parents hence neglecting the welfare of the child. (Zimmerman, 1982) Group decision making: When one becomes a foster parent, they become part of a team. The team includes social workers and the biological family. In this case it is hard for the foster parent to make an independent decision regarding the welfare of the child or children. Every decision that the foster parent makes, there must be consultation with the parties involved and as such makes the decision making process be boring and takes a lot of time. At times the decisions and guidelines of taking care of the child or the children may be subjective. This can be so because of the interests of the people who are the authorities. Others find opportunities when the children are suffering. Others are not genuine with what they say and this makes it difficult for the people who want to help in verifying the objectivity of the information given to them.
Advantages of foster care
Foster care can provide safety for children who are raised in an abusive home. They are salvaged from negligence and bad socialization. Some parents may be on drugs and they subject their child or children to violence. This may impact negatively on the upbringing of the child and as a result may be forced to join groups that are unlawful. It is therefore, important that such children are salvaged in good time so as to safe their future and the future of the nation. Foster care also provides the children with shelter, food and warmth. When provided with such necessities, they feel cared for and loved. They are able to interact with other children without feeling insecure and they are also able to go to school. If left without going to school, they may join anti social groups and engage in crime that may be lethal to the state or the nation. By taking good care of destitute children, a country will be securing its future and the future of the entire nation. Children who are taken to foster care get the advantage of meeting their medical needs. Some of the children have hardly visited a doctor for check up of any kind due to unable parents, by being in a foster family gives them the opportunity to attend such checkups. By being in foster families, children who were brought up in a poor lifestyle and in maybe in single parenthood learn how to live in a stable family. They tend to know that their previous situation was isolated case and that people live in a good way of life. Some children come from very poor families and they grow up knowing that life is unfair. It is for this reason that their situation changes and they understand that they can make their future lives better by going to school. (Gangstad, 2003) Raising children in foster care allows them to be children. In the sense that they are able to live without worrying about taking care of siblings, finding food or even shelter. They get to live their stage and not skip a stage in life. This is because the foster parent provides for them and takes good care of their daily needs.
Disadvantages of foster care
Some children that are taken for foster care may be physically or sexually abused by the foster parents. Some foster parents may be childless and they bare the bitterness of not having a child of their own. As a result of this, they harass the children who are under their care so as to release their stress. In other situations, maybe one of the foster parents was not for the idea of foster parenting. In this case one of the parent my beat the children at will without any reason. Others may sexually abuse the child because they cannot report them. The children may be afraid to report because they are being taken care of. Some of the children taken care of by foster parents are normally neglected. This is because the foster parents might not be committed to the well being of the child in that they are not their own. When the children fail to follow instructions that they are given by the foster parents, they can easily be neglected and left to do as they wish. As a result of this the children will grow up not knowing the meaning of rules hence they may stumble on the wrong side of the law. Some may be taken care of by foster parents who frequently engage if violence at their homes. This will lead the children being brought up witnessing domestic violence. This may result to the children not respecting marriage life because of what they see.
The Role of Foster Parents
Foster parents take care of children, respect their family connections, and give a home that is free of abuse and disregard until when the child can return home, be adopted or can be able to live without help. Also, they must be willing and ready to take care of a child regardless of whether the child it in that home for a day or for a year. Foster parents are not considered as guardians and do not have legal custody of the child in their care. However, they are very significant in the decision making process that concerns the safety, permanency and the well being of the child. Foster parents work as part of a team for the country in terms of meeting the day to day needs of the children under their care. This may include things like providing shelter, food, taking the children to school, nurturing and guiding the children and also meeting transport needs of the children. They also represent the country by working together with the biological parents of the child in maintaining the connection between the parent and the child.
Process of becoming a foster parent
The process of becoming a foster parent differs from state to state though there is no much difference. The foster parent process of licensing is frequently alike to the process of adopting a child. It needs classes for preparation as well as a process for the application process. The application differs but may include things like: verification of your revenue, a minimum age, an illegal record search at local, federal and state levels including no prior record of child abuse, neglect and finger printing; an indication from a doctor to ensure that all other people in the house are free from diseases that a child could catch and in adequate health to parent a child and; letters of reference from an boss and others that may know them. (Tower, 2008) There are children who are in foster care who can be very hard to place in permanent homes via the normal process of adoption. Such children are frequently said to be in need of special-needs adoption. In this regard special needs may include circumstances where children have definite steady medical challenges, psychological health issues, problems with behaviour, and learning inabilities. In some situations, group of siblings and maybe older children may qualify for special needs. The governments therefore, offer a diversity of incentives and services to ease this class of adoptions.