People tend to have a laundry list of misconceptions when it comes to foster care. One of these common misconceptions is that foster parents must be stay-at-home parents. While it is wonderful if you have the privilege to stay home, it is simply not always realistic in this day and age. There are more and more households that require two incomes with the increased cost of living. Also notable is another common misconception, foster parents are not always married or in a relationship, requiring that a single foster parent seek income outside the home. As for the question at home, you can absolutely be a foster parent while holding down a full-time job. It will simply take the support of those around you and the foster care system to make sure the child’s needs are met.
Foster care is not at all meant to make your life more difficult. While there are expectations of care levels and nurture, the foster care system understands that foster parents are providing a service. The ultimate goal of foster care being reunification, foster parents are caring for children often for an interim period. With this, the system should be there as a support for any roadblocks that hinder the care of a foster child.
One such roadblock for a foster parent with a full-time job may be childcare. The great news is that the state will often pay for childcare for foster children. Adoption.org addresses this issue stating, “Reimbursement is offered to cover the cost of daycare up to a state-allotted rate. This rate is typically what a daycare provider would earn if a child comes from a family who receives income-based assistance. However, child care assistance is provided for foster families and their foster children regardless of the family’s income.”
The second roadblock for a foster parent who works full-time may be worry that they have enough time to care for a child. While this fear is valid, it is important to note that it is better for a child to have some time within a home than be without a safe home. Foster children may come from situations where they require more attention, however, they should be treated like other children. Foster parent Caroline Bailey detailed her journey here as she talked about being a full-time working foster mom to a newborn, including tips to help anyone through the journey. Just like a parent of biological children might work full-time, there is no requirement for a foster parent to stay home.