With your life experience, emotional maturity and wisdom, you could potentially have a great impact on a foster child. While not everyone is well suited for being a foster parent, there are plenty of ways you can still get involved when it comes to foster care, says forbes.com. And there is a great need: in the United States there are upwards of 400,000 young people in the foster care system; in Canada, there are approximately 63,000.
Adults, including older adults, have the potential to be great foster parents. And while it can be rewarding, it can be very challenging, said John DeGarmo, founder and director of The Foster Care Institute and author of The Foster Care Survival Guide to forbes.com. Characteristics of who would make a great foster parent? You have a lot of love to give, you’re patient and you’re also committed to the responsibility it entails. These are young people who need stability and consistency, after all.
As an older adult, you also have to consider whether you’re comfortable being much older than the parents you’ll encounter at school functions, for example. And even if you have adult children now, keep in mind that raising kids has changed a lot. There’s social media and the internet to contend with. DeGarmo add that predators often prey on vulnerable youth online, so that’s a scenario you will have to keep in mind when it comes to keeping your foster kid safe.
Besides foster children, forbes.com also touches on adult foster care and respite caregivers, i.e. adults who give long-term caregivers a break. For more on the types of foster care, and what you need to ask yourself if you’re considering fostering, read the forbes.com article here.