Foster families open their homes and hearts to children in need of care, a task both rewarding and challenging. Family foster care is founded on the premise that all children have the right to physical care, education and emotional nurturance.
The foster family plays an important role in the case plan for the child and family. Under the 'team approach', foster parents, together with the child's social worker and other key members (including the child, biological parents, counselor, teacher, doctor, etc.) attempt to provide the specific kind of help a child and his family need in order to reunite the family.
Some of the challenges foster families may experience are:
- Recognizing the limits of their emotional attachment to the child
- Understanding mixed feelings toward the child's birth parents
- Dealing with the complex needs of children in their care
- Finding needed support services in the community
- Dealing with the child's emotions and behavior following visits with birth parents
- Managing their own family's needs
The Departmanent of Social Development needs foster families who are:
- Accepting of a child from an unstable family background, who may not want to be with a foster family
- Patient in working with a child who may be withdrawn or hyperactive
- Supportive of efforts to return the child home
- Able to work with children and adolescents who have significant emotional and behavioral needs
- Able to encourage teens toward independent living
- Able to work as a member of a team seeking the best interest of the child