Myths & Realities

While many people consider becoming a Foster or Adoptive Family, the following myths may stand in the way of taking that first step. Discover some of the most common misconceptions and read about the reality behind each.

Becoming a Foster Parent
Myth #1: I could never be a Foster Parent because I'm not married, and I don't make a lot of money.

Reality: You can be married or single or partners, an unmarried couple or divorced. If you are a couple both of you must attend class and become licensed. The only financial requirement is that you are financially stable and have enough income to support you and your family each month.

Myth #2: I don't own my own home, I rent.

Reality: You can be a homeowner or a renter. You just need to make sure there is enough room in your home for a foster child to have their own bed and space for clothing and belongings. A foster child can share a room with another child based on their age and gender. Our Kids Licensing Specialist will help determine what will work best in your
home.

Myth #3: My children are grown and out of the house. I'm too old to be a Foster Parent.

Reality: The only age requirement is that you are 21 years or older. Many “empty nesters” find foster parenting to be a rewarding experience.

Myth #4: I don't have any children and to be a Foster Parent you need to have parenting experience.

Reality: Many of our Foster Parents have never had children; however, they are committed to children and demonstrate an ability to parent or to learn
to parent. Our Kids’ offers ongoing support and trainings throughout the year. The PRIDE training provides a great introduction and insight to children in care. It also provides the resources of a co-trainer who is a seasoned foster parent and class participants who may have children that can provide additional advice and guidance

Myth #5: I can't be a Foster Parent, I work full-time.

Reality: Many Foster Parents work outside the home and there are options available for child care and after-school activities.

Myth #6: People only do it for the money.

Reality: While there is a monthly subsidy or Board Rate to help reduce the cost of food and other necessities that are incurred by a foster child, we do expect that Foster Parents are financially stable and not dependent on the Board Rate or any State or Federal financial assistance . Parents must be able to demonstrate that they can pay their bills and support their individual and family’s needs.

Myth #7: Birth parent will come to a Foster or Adoptive home to visit with their child.

Reality: In most case, we encourage Foster Parents to have some connection with the child’s family. This connection is called co-parenting and it has many options such as letters, phone calls, e-mails or face-to-face contact. Visitation requirements are set by the court, but Foster Families are not
required to hold visits in their homes.
It should be acknowledged, sometimes the families come to a point where they built a strong and safe relationship and they both feel comfortable with visits in the home.

Myth #8: I would get too attached to a child. It would be too hard to see them leave.

Reality: It’s true, you will get attached, and you will be sad when children
you grow to love and care for leave. Reunification with their birth family is the main goal for children that come in to care. Foster children need the love, care, safety and stability that you can provide as their temporary family until they are able to return safety to their family or to an adoptive family. Remember, reunification with his/her Birth Family is the main goal as long as it is in the best interest of the child and the child is safe. The Our Kids Foster Parent Mentors and Foster Parent Advocates help provide support so you don’t have to go through the loss alone

Myth #9: I would have to provide medical insurance for a Foster child in my home.

Reality: Foster parents do not pay any of a child’s medical expenses. Each
child in foster care has coverage through the state of Florida that covers
their medical, dental and mental health care needs.

Myth #10: Foster children have been abused so much that they're beyond repair. I wouldn't really be making a difference anyway.

Reality: Children are amazingly resilient. Foster parents can make a difference by providing a structured, nurturing environment. Children need stability and we will help provide services for the children. In addition, we will also offer support and trainings to help increases your skills and capabilities in providing for the needs of children that come in to our care.

Normalcy and Placement
Myth #1: Children and youth in Foster Care may not ride with other teens or young people

Reality: They may ride with other people with the permission of their caregivers. This includes teens who may ride with other teens if the caregiver approves.

Myth #2: Children and youth in Foster Care may not participate in community activities unless background screening has occurred

Reality: Background screening is not a requirement for participation in
community activities.

Myth #3: Children and youth in Foster Care may not spend the night in unlicensed settings

Reality: They may spend the night in unlicensed settings with the permission of their caregivers.

Myth #4: Children and youth in Foster Care (including group care) may not attend church or events on their own

Reality: They should be allowed to experience activities without adult supervision with the permission of their caregivers.

Myth #5: Children and youth in Foster Care may never participate on Facebook or other age-appropriate social media

Reality: They should be able to participate in social media with the permission and supervision of their caregiver

Myth #6: All people who come into contact with a child in Foster Care must be background screened

Reality: Screening may be requested if there is good cause, but is not required for all persons interacting with children.

Myth #7: The concept of normalcy only applies to teens in Foster Care but not younger children

Reality: All children in foster care need and deserve the opportunities and experiences appropriate to their age and maturity. Administrative rules about normalcy apply to all children, regardless of their age.

Myth #8: Children and youth can never travel with their Foster Parent out of country or out of state

Reality: They may travel out of the state, however, this requires advance planning with the caregivers, the case manager and Children’s Legal Services. If traveling out of country, a court order is mandatory. The court order and individual circumstances must be carefully reviewed, and court permission is required.

Myth #9: If a birth parent disagrees with a normalcy decision, the birth parent's position is the ultimate decision

Reality: The birth parent’s input should be considered. If the team’s decision is that an alternative decision is best for the child, the team will document the decision and determine if court approval is necessary.

Myth #10: The partnership plan (formerly the bilateral agreement) specifies the responsibilities of the Foster Parent

Reality: The partnership plan specifies the expectations of the entire team supporting the child in care including the foster parents and child welfare staff including ways to achieve normalcy. The links below provide all partnership planning documents and videos in both English and Spanish:

http://centerforchildwelfare.fmhi.usf.edu/qpi1/docs/Forms/AllItems.aspx

http://centerforchildwelfare.fmhi.usf.edu/qpi/pages/partnermodule.aspx

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