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Every child deserves a nurturing, supportive home to have the best chance to achieve their full potential. Unfortunately, about 2,700 Utah children are currently in foster care and not nearly enough homes and resources to ensure that they receive the social reinforcement that a stable home life provides for children. These children need support for foster homes more now than ever. For those who enjoy working with children, collaborating with networks that provide foster care could potentially be much more beneficial than you realize.

Give a Child the Support That They Deserve

Caring for foster children can be challenging, but the positive effects a supportive family structure can have on a child simply cannot be overstated. Stable and secure family life has the potential to drastically alter the trajectory of a child who’s typically already experienced serious hardship.

Children who exit the foster care system without getting to experience a consistent family environment are statistically much more likely to become adults that will experience poverty, homelessness, or incarceration. Your presence in their lives could be crucial for establishing a baseline of social skills, work ethic, and healthier relationships throughout their lives.

The first place where we learn positive interactions with others and social coping mechanisms is usually in the family home, and a child that is denied this may be disadvantaged for the rest of their lives. Foster parents who provide a loving and supportive family environment help give these children the opportunities they deserve.

Improve Your Community and Invest in the Future

Foster children are normal kids that live throughout our community here in Utah. A common myth is that all foster children are in some way delinquent, but in fact, foster youths are just like any other kid and need help through no fault of their own. If these children have experienced significant hardship, some of them may need support to get through it, which is where a caring family comes in. Investing the time and care into these children’s future ensures a better future for our entire community.

Foster kids could be right next to your child on the bus or sit next to them in school. The stability of the relationships that children form early on is crucial to their social development. Having foster families within our community means that children less often will have to get moved out of their school and familiar support network in foster care. This can provide more stable relationships for all the children within our community here in Utah.

Working with Foster Children Enriches the Lives of Your Whole Family

Many parents concerned about taking on the responsibility of a foster child may have questions about how it could affect their biological kids, particularly since many foster children have experienced some form of trauma. Many foster care families that we work with actually find that their entire family is enriched from the experience, including their biological children.

Child or adult, we all improve ourselves through learning. Your family’s experiences with foster youths could provide new perspectives for your entire family and help instill stronger interpersonal skills in your children.

What Are the Requirements for Becoming a Foster Parent?

Anyone over the age of 21 can start the process to become licensed as a foster care provider and begin reaping the benefits of being a foster care family. Here at Utah Youth Village, we can help our network of foster parents deal with certifications. There is an interview, a background check, and about 40 hours of training involved in the entire process.

Once you’re certified as a foster care provider, you’ll need a bedroom for foster children. Multiple foster children of the same gender can share a bedroom in some cases, but there will need to be at least 40 square feet per child.

What Other Opportunities Are Available to Get Involved in Foster Care?

If you don’t yet meet the requirements for the foster care system or otherwise can’t commit to taking a child into your household right now, there are still plenty of other ways that you can help out the foster care system here in Utah. Foster care networks rely on the generosity of those around the community to find the homes that foster youths need, so donating can be a massive help.

For those that can’t commit full time or would like to try their hand part-time in the foster care system, respite care personnel are always in demand. Respite care allows you to help give foster children short-term care once in a while so that full-time foster parents can get an occasional, much-needed break. This can be a great way to positively influence foster youths’ lives for those that simply can’t take full-time foster children on.

The Benefits of Being a Foster Care Family

Foster families can have a profound impact on the youths that they provide a stable and caring environment for, but the benefits of being a foster care family aren’t just for the foster kids. The experience of touching the life of another is an enriching experience for your entire family, improves our community, and comes without any financial burden for you. Foster parents are needed right here in Utah more than ever now, and getting involved could change a child’s life.

Here at Utah Youth Village, we work with foster care families throughout the state to help as many foster youths as possible. If you think fostering may be for you, or you’d like to talk about other ways that you can help children in our community, contact us today.

Image Source: Dmytro Zinkevych / Shutterstock

Brittany Bird

Author Brittany Bird

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