Families today look very different from the typical married couple with children. The process and requirements are the same for a single individual or family to become licensed and prepared to bring children into your home. There are basic requirements that include background screenings, training and a safety inspection of your home.
- Flexibility – How flexible are your employment and social activities? We encourage foster families to involve their kids in school and extracurricular activities. In addition, they have visits with their families, appointments with medical and mental health providers, court and other meetings to attend. This requires flexibly with employment and a support system that can help you meet these needs for the children.
- Child care – Unlike family planning for pregnancy, a single parent may find themselves needing child care within days. Planning ahead for the children’s arrival is critical.
- Support system – As a single parent, the crying baby, the two-year-old tantrum, or argumentative teenager can be overwhelming. Other foster families can help with this. Have a support system to provide a break and a listening ear can make a difference. I found comfort in having a conversation with an adult.
It is doable to be a single foster parent. There are many successful single parent families that have provided a loving home to children. Be aware of your limits and honest with yourself and others about what you can handle. Ask for help when you need it. We at Utah Foster Care are also here to help you on this journey.
Kobi Prettyman is a foster-adoptive parent and a Utah Foster Care staff member.