As a community committed to caring for those in need, Christian families looking for ways to reach out and serve often think about foster parenting. Barna Group reports that 31 percent of Christians have seriously considered foster parenting (compared to 11 percent of non-Christians). Strikingly, only 3 percent have actually become foster parents.
Why the discrepancy between those who are interested in the opportunity and those who have actually gone on to serve in this way?
While there are many practical reasons that could prevent people from taking on foster children, negative perceptions of the foster care system—such as front-page stories of social worker neglect and the belief that most foster parents are only in it for the money—loom large in America, including among Christians.
Whether from movies, media, or word-of-mouth, people worry that they will be unable to take on the responsibility of welcoming a child into their home for foster care or will become frustrated with the demands of the system itself. The Dave Thomas Foundation, which advocates for orphan-care in the U.S., cites this negative view as the most common reason people choose not to foster.
As with most things, it helps to know the facts. We are more comfortable and more willing to commit when we are well-educated about a cause. As an attorney and advocate who has spent 14 years working for and volunteering with foster children and their families, I’d like to offer the nearly one-in-three Christians considering becoming foster parents a realistic look at the demands and benefits.
To have the top truths and myths explained and debunked, click here to read the rest of the article on Christianity Today’s Her.meneutics.
2 thoughts on “Mythbusting for Foster Parents”
Just read your article in RELEVENT Sept-Oct 2014 “Can The Foster Care System Be Fixed?” which led me to this article. You bring to light a system that is so very broken and share many truths. I am disappointed that you did not address the lack in the system of an emphasis on the best interest of the child. I am all for reuniting the child with a loving parent/parents. Sadly, I have watched often as my sister has fostered and neither parent showed interest or movement in changing and were decided by children’s services not able to provide a safe place for their child. THEN, “family” stepped in. Most often family that the child did not even know. Family that felt a need to pull the child away from a foster situation that was willing to adopt. An atmosphere that child new for a year or more as a person who loved and cared for them. Someone they called mom and went to for comfort. Many times the only stability they had in their 3 years or less of existence. But it doesn’t stop there. It takes 6 months or 1 1/2 years or more of ripping the child here and there until “family” finalizes taking them. Where is the best interest of the child? How is someone to fight a system which takes a child away from their home in the child’s best interest and then operates in the best of interest of every adult that wants a piece of that child once they are in the system?
Thanks for reading and commenting. The standard is indeed supposed to be the BIC, but adults are the ones who set that standard and, as you point out, they don’t always end up doing a good job of it. I like to think most *try* to do the right thing in the BIC, but sometimes it’s very hard to see the line of reasoning employed, and the end result reflects the mistakes made. Your sister is a blessing to many, no doubt, and I am so thankful for her, as well as for you and your interest in serving these vulnerable children.