Have you been searching for a way to support your community and/or make a huge impact for local youths? Becoming a foster parent in St. George, Utah, may be a great option for you. Taking in a child in need is not only one of the kindest things you can do for them but also a chance to experience new fulfillment and learning opportunities for your own benefit. Read below to learn how to become a foster parent in St. George, UT.
Why You Should Consider Becoming a Foster Parent in St. George
For most foster parents, the most important reason for taking in a foster child is the opportunity to make a truly life-changing impact on them. All children separated from their families and placed in foster care experience difficulties related to that separation. Depending on the resources available, they may also be moved away from their friends, extended family, school, and community. By acting as a foster parent, you can give one or more St. George-area children the stability, compassion, and care they need.
At Utah Youth Village, our goal is to pair foster children with families that can provide them with as much continuity as possible. Ideally, this includes finding foster parents who can support the religious and cultural needs of each child. However, with more than 3,000 children in foster care and less than 1,500 foster homes, Utah currently needs more people to get involved.
Excellent foster care is associated with foster children not only being more likely to attain employment but also likely to achieve better-quality employment. They also tend to perform better with their education, are less likely to experience an unwanted pregnancy, and are less likely to engage in risk-taking behaviors.
Foster children are only in the system due to challenges in their homes that they are not at fault for. They may have been neglected, abused, or otherwise ill-treated. Although moving them into foster care means ending an unstable or even harmful situation, the children still need love, support, and stability, which you could potentially provide as a foster parent.
Of course, being a foster parent isn’t just about helping others. These are some benefits you will enjoy:
- Getting to make a child feel loved, valued, and welcomed.
- Having a transformative impact on a child’s life.
- Learning new skills for parenting and communication.
- Being a role model to a young person who needs your help.
The St. George Utah Youth Village Program
Originally founded in 1969 as the Utah Girl’s Village, our organization has been helping young people in Utah for decades. Our founder recognized the fact that many young girls who needed to be separated from their homes were not receiving adequate care. Today, we have grown to serve thousands of young Utahns, regardless of gender. Whenever a child is in need of foster care in St. George and many other communities in Utah, we strive to offer the best possible care.
Contrary to popular belief, the main goal of foster care is primarily to help the child return to their permanent family as soon as possible. The majority of Utah youths in foster care will leave the system before becoming adults. However, some do remain in foster care until adulthood. Regardless of the child’s specific situation, we work with foster families to help ensure that every child has a safe place to live.
Fostering children is a chance to help a child during a time of crisis. Separation from their families can be hard to foster kids. However, patience, understanding, and support from foster parents can make a huge difference. Furthermore, caring for local children in need can positively impact the St. George community as a whole. Being a thoughtful and kind foster parent can be your chance to make a difference.
Utah Youth Village tries to find foster parents from all walks of life in St. George. When possible, our goal is to pair children with foster families of similar cultural, religious, and socioeconomic backgrounds. We work with married, single, heterosexual, LGBT+, widowed, divorced, and every other type of foster parent. Some of our foster families live in single-family homes, while others are in apartments. If you can provide love, support, and stability to a child, we are happy to discuss our program with you.
About The Utah Youth Village Children
Utah Youth Village works with children from all backgrounds and of all ages. We help children that have been separated from their families get placed in high-quality foster care. Our organization works throughout the state, but we try to keep children in the communities they already know. Therefore, whenever possible, we try to keep St. George children with local foster families.
The children in our program can be as young as newborns or as old as 21 (the final age for foster care in Utah). Many of them have experienced abuse, neglect, or some other ungovernable behavior at home. Thus, some face behavioral, physical, mental, or emotional challenges. We only place children with foster parents that are equipped to help them.
All children in foster care have been impacted by separation from their families, some more severely than others. It can take patience and understanding to help them successfully navigate this transition. However, foster parents who are able to offer that along with stability and love can have a huge positive impact on the lives of foster children.
As a foster parent, you will be part of a team dedicated to helping a young person in need during a critical time of their life. Additionally, you will have support from Utah Youth Village, a caseworker, and the state of Utah. Foster care is all about teamwork. Together, we can ensure that young people in Utah who have to be separated from their families can receive the love, support, and guidance they need.
Common Myths and Misunderstandings About Foster Care
There are a lot of myths and misconceptions about foster care that give people a less-than-accurate impression of the system. These are four of the most common myths that impact people’s decisions about becoming foster parents.
Myth: Fostering Costs a Lot of Money
Many people think that taking in a foster child will be a major financial burden. However, the state of Utah actually provides financial support to foster families. The government will provide for most of the child’s key expenses. While certain budget items such as entertainment and trips may cost more, the overall financial burden is minimal.
Myth: Only Heterosexual, Married Homeowners Can Foster
A lot of people picture heterosexual, married couples who own their homes as foster parents. In reality, foster families come from all backgrounds. In fact, at Utah Youth Village, we are always seeking to diversify our foster families. We believe that every child should be matched with foster parents that can support their cultural, religious, and linguistic needs.
Myth: Foster Parents Must Be Experienced Parents
Although it can be helpful to have parenting experience before fostering, many people who take in children are not expert parents. After all, everyone who has children has to be a new parent at some point. Utah Youth Village provides all our foster parents with training and resources. Even if you have never changed a diaper, taken a child to a soccer game, or helped a young person with homework, you can be a foster parent.
Myth: All Foster Children Are Troubled
It is a common belief that children in foster care are troubled or otherwise landed themselves in foster care. However, nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, children are only placed in foster care for their benefit after experiencing some sort of abuse, neglect, or ungovernable behavior at home. While some foster children struggle to adjust, they simply need patience, love, and support to thrive.
Part-Time Fostering in St. George, UT
Are you interested in foster parenting but unsure about the commitment? Becoming a part-time foster parent may be the answer for you. It is a great way to support your community even if you aren’t ready or prefer not to be a full-time parent.
The goal of part-time foster care is to act as a backup for the full-time foster parents. Children in foster care must be looked after by licensed caregivers. Therefore, grandparents or other family members may not be an option.
When foster parents need a break to handle errands, spend quality time with other children, or just have a date, a part-time foster parent can act as a caregiver. This could be your chance to have a major impact on a young person’s life without needing to completely change yours.
How To Become A Foster Parent In St. George, UT In 7 Steps
If you are interested in learning more about how to become a foster parent in St. George, the good news is that the process is simple! There are only seven steps you need to follow:
- Apply: Start by filling out our screener application online.
- Schedule: We will contact you about scheduling a home visit and interview.
- First Meeting: One of our consultants will visit you to discuss the program, including the following:
- Answer any questions you may have.
- Provide a basic overview of everything that is involved with fostering in St. George.
- Talk about family history, relationships, and other relevant topics.
- Packet: If we mutually decide that this is a good fit, you will receive a licensing packet. This will help you provide the following:
- Three references
- Background check
- Identity confirmation
- Proof of income, vaccinations, and insurance
- Health sign-off from a doctor
- Signed agreements, disclosures, and contracts
- Workshop: Next, you will complete a workshop and a series of online trainings. These will help you learn about being a foster parent.
- Second Meeting: We will then complete your home study.
- Confirmation of adequate accommodations
- Safety check of home and neighborhood
- General inspection for any other concerns
- Make Changes: If necessary, you can make any necessary changes. Then, you will be ready to begin fostering!
Become a Foster Parent in St. George Today!
Are you interested in fostering a child in need? Contact Utah Youth Village today to learn more about how to become a foster parent in St. George, UT. You can also reach out by calling (801) 272-9980.
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