There are an endless number of possibilities when it comes to the ways you can “give back.” For some, it is volunteering with schools, helping the homeless, or working with animal shelters. For others, it is in the form of a donation to a charity or organization that is close to heart. But then there is another opportunity that the Mecklenburg County Department of Social Services is involved with every day – helping local children find safe, secure, and loving homes.
Foster Parenting in Mecklenburg County
We are always looking for families who have a heart for helping children and are willing to open their home. Yet, while there are requirements that must be met before becoming a foster parent, we find that some prospective couples and individuals are hesitant to start the process as a result of requirements that they have heard about, but that are not even in place! So, to clear up any confusion, today we are here to debunk a few of the most common myths we come across.
Foster Parenting Myths
1. You must be married to be a foster parent. False! While married couples that are interested in our foster program are expected to participate in training together, you do not have to be married to be an eligible foster parent.
2. You must own a home to be a foster parent. False again! Home visits are a part of the assessment process, but that doesn’t mean you must be a homeowner – renting is fine, too! The requirements include that your home must pass a fire inspection and environmental check, and you must allow safety checks/visits.
3. You must be very wealthy to be a foster parent. When it comes to finances, the requirement is that you must not be receiving government public assistance. This includes services such as food stamps, public housing, and TANF. However, that does not mean that you must be debt-free. In fact, licensed foster parents even receive a monthly stipend (based on the child’s age).
4. You must be able to be a stay-at-home parent. Not true! In fact, one requirement is that you need to have income (or receiving retirement or disability). Regarding scheduling needs, here is what we really want you to know: you must be willing to transport children to all appointments and you must have identified support services to assist with emergency events, such as picking them up from school when sick during business hours.
So what else do you need to know about foster parenting? We have it all laid out for you on our Adoption and Foster Care page on our website. For more information, you can also contact DSS at 704-336-KIDS (5437) and attend one of our orientation sessions.
Remember, a child’s life is a story just beginning. You can help write a happy ending.