The foster care system shows up in movies and TV shows on a regular basis, yet the reflection of the foster system in popular culture rarely shows the reality of foster care. Following are some common misconceptions about the foster care system.
1.) Children in foster care are teenagers and are broken beyond repair as a result of extreme trauma.
The average age for foster kids is eight. Under 50 percent of foster kids are over the age of 10. Foster kids have been removed from an abusive or neglectful home and it is therefore possible for kids to have experienced trauma. However, kids are resilient and it is extraordinary what structured environment and a strong support system can do for a kid.
2.) There are marriage and age requirements to become a foster parent.
One of the most common excuses for not becoming a foster parent is that an individual believes that they are too old to become one. For example, someone whose children have grown up and are looking for something to do to “fill the nest” may believe that they are too old to welcome a foster child into their home. Contrary to this belief, there is no maximum age to become a foster parent. Almost twenty-five percent of all foster children live with an individual who is 55 years old or older. Similarly, foster parents do not need to be married or of any particular sexuality. 28 percent of foster children live in single-parent homes.
3.) Foster care is a punishment for delinquent behavior.
Almost half of the American population believes that kids end up in foster care because of their own delinquent actions. On the contrary, kids end up in foster care because of the negative behavior of their parents. Kids in foster care are removed from neglectful and/or abusive homes, not because of their behavior. The children who are in foster care are not the “unadoptable”, they are simply those who have not been adopted. The idea that some of the children are too troublesome to deserve a healthy family is pure myth.
4.) A child may be “reclaimed” by their biological parent
Many individuals who are considering becoming foster parents incorrectly believe that the biological parent of a child may be able to regain custody of their child. Contrary to this belief, however, the biological parents of foster children have no possible way of reclaiming their custody of a child once their parental rights have been terminated. Once an individual becomes a foster parent, they become the guardians of the child in their care and have the same rights, responsibilities, and protections as parents with biological children.