Misconception #1: Fostering is a financial strain.
Foster parents receive monthly stipends to cover the essential needs of the foster child, including food and clothing.
Fostering a child is not a greater financial burden on a foster parent/family than caring for any other child in a family. If you are financially able to support yourself and those living with you, you are financially capable of fostering a child.
While the cost of family outings, entertainment, and incidentals may increase slightly, the monthly stipend generally covers most of the child’s needs.
Misconception #2: All foster children are troubled, juvenile delinquents or runaways.
One of the greatest myths about foster children is that they are in need of a home through some fault of their own. A common misconception about these children is that they are bad, aggressive, violent children no one wants or can handle. This is simply not true.
Many of the kids in foster care have had a tough start to their life, and as a result need support to heal. The child’s reaction to the trauma they may or may not have experienced is as varied as the child—some children act out, some withdraw, some resolve to live as if nothing occurred.
Foster children are carefully placed with families capable of helping them heal, and foster care agencies provide support to both the child and family.
The most important thing to remember is like all children, foster children are resilient.
Misconception #3: All foster children have been physically or sexually abused.
Over half the children removed from their home are moved due to neglect. It is unfortunate and true that sexual and physical abuse does occur; however, most children who experience abuse are primarily neglected.
Recent national increases in adult drug use has caused an increase in children being removed from a home due to adult drug use and parental incarceration.
Despite the reason a child is placed in foster care, it is important to remember foster children need love, and are often removed from their home through no fault of their own.
Misconception #4: Foster parents can only be heterosexual married couples.
Outside of age requirements, background checks, and other tests to ensure you have the space and resources to take care of a child, all perspective foster parents are considered and welcomed to apply.
The Teaching Family Model relies on married couples and Utah Youth Village does not allow for co-habitation with its foster parents.
Misconception #5: You must be a home owner.
Homeownership is not the only definition of a stable and loving home environment. Foster children need a stable home environment—whether that takes the form of an apartment or house.
Misconception #6: Foster parents are stay at home parents.
The median age of foster youth is 7.8 years old, or school-aged. These children spend the majority of their day in school and work well for families with working parents.
Arrangements can be made for after-school care, as well as daycare for foster parents of younger children. Daycare, after-school care, and preschool are all options for foster care families, and there might be reimbursement pay available for licensed preschools and/or daycare costs.
Misconception #7: I won’t have a choice in the child who is placed with me.
The primary goal of foster care placement is to place the right child with the right family. All our families have a voice and decision in the placement they receive. We work hard at assessing the child’s needs, as well as the strengths and experience of our families to ensure a proper fit between child and family.
Misconception #8: I will have to keep taking more and more children.
A number of foster children are a part of a sibling set that the Village will attempt to place together when possible, but we do not give families more children than they can handle. We also do not guilt or pressure a family to take in more children than they can adequately and comfortably care for.
Misconception #9: I don’t have parenting experience, so I shouldn’t be a foster parent.
Foster children need responsible, loving, trustworthy individuals who are willing and able to pour love and care into them. Every parent starts somewhere, and the Village offers parenting support, classes, and has an experienced team to help support our foster parents and children.
Misconception #10: Once a child is placed in my home I’m on my own.
Part of providing our children with love, stability, security and tools to heal is making sure their family has support, resources, and tools to help them be successful.
Utah Youth Village foster families are supported by a comprehensive team of experienced professionals that are present every step of the way to ensure a loving bond is established in the home, and the child and family have everything they need.
Misconception 11: I will get too attached and it would be too hard to see the child leave.
The greatest gift you can give a child as a foster parent is love, stability, security, and trust—all things needed to form an attachment. Though it will be hard to see a child move on, it is greater to know you gave the child the love and stability they needed during a rough patch in their lives. This attachment helps the child regain trust in adults, helps the child heal, and greatly adds to our community.
Utah Youth Village believes the greater pain is knowing a child is facing trauma without a loving adult and home to heal, and we trust the greater good you provide will outweigh the heartache of a child leaving your home.
Many foster parents continue to maintain a relationship with these youth throughout their lifetimes.