In the 21st century, there are various aspects of family in the world today. As a matter of fact, the family is the basic unit of every society. There are various forms of family due to the diversity and dynamic nature of family. In fact, families come in several sizes and shapes. Most of the children have the privilege to live with both biological parents, other live with either the father or the mother; others might live with grandparents, while others may live with foster families. One of the types of families in society today is the foster families. Foster families are a very wide term that has various definitions. In general perspective, foster families refer to temporary homes and social units that are provided by adults who have the mandate and a license from the government to provide care and home for children whose biological parents are not in a position to provide them with care (Rissman, 2012). The parents who offer to undertake this task may or may not be compensated, and it may take many years depending on the state of the foster parents and the children in question. In addition, the foster family is a household whereby the child is given tremendous parental care by parents who are neither adaptive parents nor birth parent.
There are various requirements that foster families and foster parents have to fulfill before given the license to undertake the responsibilities. The requirements are part of the state policies and laws for approving and licensing foster families. A licensed foster family is the family that is approved by the government, a country, or a state to take care of children, as well as meeting basic standards of safety that is set and regulated by the law. The standards required are crucial because it eliminates the predictability of various risks of well-being, health, as well as the safety of the children in the foster families (Schuette, 2010). The main objective of foster families is to provide a stable, safe, and nurturing environment for the child until they get a permanent family. It is worth noting that the requirements associated with foster families various depending on the country or state. Nevertheless, there are various universal requirements for foster families.
Undeniably, one of the requirements of the foster family is that the parents taking care of the child should be above 21 years of age. In fact, this requirement is crucial because someone above 21 years has a sense of responsibility and maturity. In addition, for the foster families to be licensed they should demonstrate some financial stability. The children in the foster families will be in need of various needs, ranging from food, shelter, and clothing (Fields, 2010). Therefore, financial stability is the most important requirement that foster families must fulfill. In every social unit, finance is an important factor because it focuses on the progress of the entire social unit.
Criminals will never get an opportunity to be licensed to be foster parents. Passing a criminal background and history check is also another requirement for foster families. Certainly, the criminal check includes checking the criminal records using the finger prints. The goal of foster families is to provide safety to the child; hence, the requirement to be cleared of any criminal record goes in line with the foster family's objectives. In addition, having a personal reference statement that is positive is a requirement that is needed for foster families (Sinclair, Wilson, & Gibbs, 2005). The reference creates confidence in the ability of the foster families to provide the best for the child.
The foster families must also undergo successful completion of training requirement on pre-services that are to be rendered to the child. The household members have to undergo medical checkups and have medical statements from a recommended physician. The foster families must be renting or own a home that is updated with various physical safety issues (Couchenour & Chrisman, 2010). These include adequate space in the bedroom, fire extinguishers, as well as reliable transportation. Apart from the safety requirements, foster families must undergo successful completion of CPR, universal precautions, as well as First Aid training.
Foster parents who intend to apply have to complete an application and undergo home assessment under supervising agency. Another requirement is that the foster families must broaden and maintain their skills by going through training on the issue of child care. Telephone in the foster home is also a requirement for foster families. The foster families must also be willing and in agreement to participate fully in shared parenting, especially in ensuring that the child receives efficient care and meets the demands (Fields, 2010). Before receiving a license, the foster families must be visited by the Regional Licensing Specialists to ensure that the families meet the requirement of the child and what is required of them.
Just like any type of family, foster families face a lot of challenges. Many foster families admit that it is a frustrating and challenging task to undertake. Foster child system is heartbreaking and discouraging, since the children foster are still growing and developing. Hence, they develop various behaviors that are controversial and not to the standards of the society (Wagner & Rosen, 2002). These changes are expected; hence, foster families must undergo tremendous preparation to face these challenges. The main preparation begins by being patient and positive about the challenges faced. One of the main challenges that foster families face is behavioral problems. Moving from family to family and one home to another ha adverse effect on the child development. Studies show that most children who have undergone this system of family develop several behavioral problems such as irrational fears, defiance, and lack of emotional control. As a matter of fact, these problems can be solved by the foster family but it should be approached in a careful and sensitive manner. The behavioral problems will decline if the child gets used to foster families and its environment.
Foster families also have the challenge of working with the biological parents of the child. The biological family of the child can be living in the same neighborhood, and have the right to visit the child. In this case, the biological family may be disrespectful and resentful to the foster families. This situation is very frustrating and may affect the habits of the child.In such scenario, foster families have to work with the social worker to schedule healthy visits from the biological family (Couchenour & Chrisman, 2010). Another challenge comes from the courts, this is because it may take a lot of time for the court to render the decisions to adopt the child. This situation comes with a lot of uncertainty, which may even lead to a battle between the biological family. The court proceedings are financially and emotionally draining, meaning one should be prepared in both perspectives. RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder) is also another challenge to foster parents. Young children may develop this disorder due to neglecting and abuse (Wagner & Rosen, 2002). Hence, beginning a relationship with a child with RAD is frustrating and time consuming.
The dynamics of foster families are so fast. There are many things that go on in the foster families. One of the dynamics is the motives and myths of the foster families. As a matter of fact, the motives of foster families vary and may change with time. Therefore, the motives of foster families may affect the growth and development of the child. The dynamic myth among foster families entails the care giving misconception that love and helping the child is enough. Foster family dynamics is a very critical concern (Schuette, 2010). These dynamic concerns include the number of children, sex of children, age, emotions, needs, as well as medical needs. The requirements of foster families today go beyond those described by the law and the licensing agency. Foster parents prefer to foster children of the same age since their demands and behaviors are the same; hence, it can easily be controlled.
The trends in foster families keep on changing. It is evident that, the number of children in foster family is tremendously on the rise. This implies that the costs that the foster fa, mainly use in its activities is increasing. In the 21st century, the gay and lesbians have also been included in the list of those who can apply to be foster parents. This is a clear indication of the ever changing trends in foster families (Rissman, 2012). Despite the challenges, foster families are greatly encouraged to consider adopting the children in their foster families. In the past decades, the agencies dealing with child care could not allow children to be placed with relatives, but nowadays the agencies encourage kinship adoption. In general perspective, the current trends in foster families are changing due to modernization and globalization.
Couchenour, D. & Chrisman, K. (2010). Families, Schools and Communities: Together for Young Children. Delmar Pub.
Fields, J. (2010). Foster families. Broomall, PA: Mason Crest Publishers.
Rissman, R. (2012). Foster parents. Oxford: Raintree.
Schuette, S. L. (2010). Foster families. Mankato, Minn: Capstone Press.
Sinclair, I., Wilson, K., & Gibbs, I. (2005). Foster placements: Why they succeed and why they fail. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
Wagner, H. L., & Rosen, M. (2002). The blending of foster and adopted children into the family. Philadelphia: Chelsea House.