How to Become a Foster Parent in Salt Lake City, UT
Salt Lake City and the surrounding area are in need of more foster parents. If you have ever considered fostering, this may be the perfect time to learn more. Utah Youth Village helps foster children and foster parents of every cultural and religious background find each other. This could be a chance to change both your life and the life of a child in the Salt Lake City area.
Why Become A Foster Parent
If you have thought about becoming a foster parent but are uncertain if it is the right choice, you are far from alone. It can be intimidating to take the first step towards opening up your home to a child. However, most foster parents in our program report being happy with their decision. Fostering a Salt Lake City child is a serious act of kindness for someone who truly needs help. Plus, most foster families find that the experience is immensely rewarding.
Utah is in need of more foster parents. There are around 1,400 foster families but more than 2,700 foster children. Therefore, many children entering the foster care system are separated from their friends, families, and communities due to a lack of local resources and placement opportunities. With more foster families in Salt Lake City and the surrounding area, we can help foster kids enjoy a stable life while continuing with the same schools, friends, community, and activities. That continuity can make a big difference for the child.
Opening your home to a foster child is a chance to provide him or her with stability, support, and love that he or she may not have previously received consistently. Stability during the fostering process can decrease the risk of unemployment, early pregnancy, homelessness, and incarceration. In other words, becoming a foster parent can significantly impact a child’s life for the better.
Children in Utah’s foster system are from many cultural, socioeconomic, and religious backgrounds. Plus, they speak varied languages at home. Utah Youth Village is committed to ensuring that we can place children with foster parents that can support their cultural needs.
The Foster Parenting Experience
Of course, being a foster parent in Utah is not just a matter of altruism. It can be a very personally meaningful experience as well. These are some of the benefits:
- A chance to be a strong adult role model for a young person.
- Learning and applying parenting and communication skills.
- Protecting a child from harm.
- Helping a young person feel valued and cared for.
- Making a positive impact on a child’s life.
Fostering a child involves providing a safe, supportive, and temporary home for a child. Typically, children live with foster families when they must live away from their biological family due to neglect, abuse, or ungovernable behavior. The children needing foster care in Salt Lake City are from many different cultural backgrounds, communities, and families.
Contrary to what many people believe, the goal of foster care is to return the child to their permanent family as promptly as possible. However, this is not always an option, and some children stay in foster care until adulthood.
Utah Youth Village is seeking potential foster parents in Utah who are ready and able to work with the Department of Human Services to provide collaborative care for the child. Every foster parent in Utah should also be prepared to complete ongoing training to better support the needs of children in the foster system.
As a foster parent, you will support families in a time of difficulty. This includes working as a team with the child’s caseworker. You will help protect the child and offer hope to both the child and their family. Foster parents impact all of Salt Lake City for the better.
The Utah Youth Village Program
Utah Youth Village has been serving Utahn children in need since 1969. We help to pair children with families that are best able to support them. We work with both foster children and parents of all backgrounds. Whether you are heterosexual, LGBTQ+, married, single, divorced, widowed, or anything else, you can be a potential foster parent in Utah Youth Village’s program. We have parents who live in apartments and single-family homes.
Provided that you can offer a stable environment for foster children, we are happy to welcome you to our program and explore whether you will be a good fit. The state provides financial support for foster families.
Who Are The Children
Many people imagine that foster children are all poorly behaved or have done something to be put in foster care. However, this is not the case. Children enter foster care through no fault of their own. Nonetheless, the process of being separated from a permanent family can be a challenging experience, which can lead to some behavioral troubles. Receiving love and support in their new foster homes can help the children to better handle this process.
Children in the Utah Youth Village program are from diverse ethnic, cultural, and religious backgrounds. Each child is unique and has their own strengths and needs. They stay in the program after being separated by the Utah DHS until it is safe for them to return to their permanent families.
The children in the Salt Lake City area foster system range in age from birth to 21. Some have siblings in foster care with them. Many of them have experienced a difficult home life and may have special needs because of this. Some children have behavioral, mental, physical, or emotional challenges. We are careful to pair foster children with parents who can care for their needs.
What To Expect as a Foster Parent
Around 79% of the children in our program are ultimately returned home, adopted, or placed in less restrictive foster care. We typically place one to three children per home. Our foster families are supported by highly trained staff who are skilled at crisis support.
Foster Care Myths
All Foster Children Are Troubled or Have Behavioral Problems
Despite common perception, foster children are in care through no fault of their own. In many ways, they are just the same as any other children. However, the experience of being separated from their permanent families can be challenging and traumatic. So, some children exhibit behavioral issues due to the anxiety and worry about this process. A loving and supportive foster home environment can make a big difference.
Foster Parents Must Be Heterosexual Married Couples Who Own Homes
At Utah Youth Village, our only requirements for becoming a foster parent in Utah are that you are an appropriate age, pass our background checks, and provide a stable lifestyle for the child(ren). We do not require that foster parents be married, and we work with LGBTQ+ people. Furthermore, we encourage families of every cultural, religious, and ethnic background to participate.
Foster Parents Have No Choice in Who Is Place With Them
Our number one goal when placing a child is to find the right fit. So, all our foster parents have a voice in the placements they receive. We want to ensure that the child will receive appropriate care and support. If you think that you will not be able to provide this, we will listen. However, many foster parents are surprised by how much they can offer foster children, even those with special needs.
Try Foster Parenting Part-Time
If you are unsure whether full-time foster parenting is right for you, we have an alternative option: part-time fostering. All parents need a break occasionally, even if it is only to handle some personal errands. Respite foster parents accept foster children for short-term visits, ensuring that the family can get some much-needed downtime.
This is a great way to contribute to the team effort supporting a child in need. However, it does not require the full-time commitment or the resources necessary for our main fostering program.
According to the law, it is often more difficult for foster parents to find someone to watch their kids because the fill-in caretakers must be licensed. Therefore, grandparents and other family members may not be acceptable options. This is why having a healthy pool of respite foster parents is so important. The following are some of the benefits:
- You get a chance to provide care to a foster child without needing to commit full-time.
- The foster parents get a well-deserved rest and opportunity for special activities:
o A date night to keep them energized.
o Time to handle various responsibilities.
o Relief while handling an unexpected emergency.
- The foster parents’ biological or adopted children (if they have them) get a chance for a little extra quality time with their parents.
Steps To Becoming A Foster Parent
If you are interested in learning how to become a foster parent in Salt Lake City, UT, the good news is that there are only seven steps. Anyone can begin the application process, and many families are accepted. The purpose of this process is to help you become an effective foster parent, not to weed you out. The following are the key steps of the process:
1) Complete the Application
You start by inputting your information into the screening application. This will ensure that you meet the age requirements and a few other characteristics.
2) Schedule Interview
Someone from Utah Youth Village will contact you and schedule a home interview. We will also confirm that you are still interested in proceeding.
3) Home Meeting With Your Consultant
A consultant will come to meet you at home. During this process, we will discuss the program and answer questions. We will also begin the home study.
4) Licensing Packet
If you are interested in continuing, we will provide a licensing packet. This includes details for background checks, references, proof of income, proof of insurance, and health certification.
5) Two-Week Workshop
Next, there is a workshop to help prepare you for fostering. This involves evening classes at various times.
6) Home Study Part 2
The consultant will then complete the home study. This may involve some recommendations to prepare your home for a child.
7) Make Corrections
With those recommendations in mind, you can make the necessary corrections. Then, you will be ready to begin fostering.
Contact us today to learn more about becoming a foster parent in Salt Lake City, UT. We look forward to hearing from you. We can be reached by phone at (801) 272-9980.
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