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Foster Care Month – Pt. 1

Date: May 15, 2015 Categories: Blog

In recognition of National Foster Care Month, Jackie, the Jefferson CAC’s VISTA, who is also a foster care alum and long-time foster care activist, offered to address some commonly held beliefs about the foster care system and children within it. This is part 1 of a 2 part series.

 

Myth #1Only bad kids go into foster care.

A government study from 2006 found that in 89% of cases, foster children did nothing to trigger their own removal. In the remaining 11% of cases, many of the children were acting out in response to years of abuse and neglect, which was still only part of the reason for their own removal.

 

Myth #2 – Birth parents of foster children do not love their kids.

As many foster children will tell you, their parents do love them, but this is not always the same as being able to provide a safe, stable, nurturing home.

 

Myth #3 – It is expensive to adopt from foster care.

The overall cost to adopt from foster care is a fraction of the cost of adopting privately or internationally. Many states offer programs that help to further reduce that cost. Zero to a couple thousand dollars may be the total bill.

 

Myth #4 – Foster parents must be (fill in the blank).

Foster parents can be single, they can rent and as long as they can pay their own bills without dipping into the money the state provides for the children, they do not need to be rich. Their home needs to be safe and provide sufficient space for the foster child to sleep and study. Specific guidelines vary from state to state.

 

Myth #5 – Challenging behaviors go away once a child is in care.

Foster children may experience years of trauma and/or neglect before removal. The ways they have adapted to a chaotic environment may not work in a more stable setting, but it takes time for them to learn new habits. Also, being in foster care is not always a guaranteed safe, loving placement.