Foster Care Answers

The original expanded version of this article appeared on’s Spotlight page.

Over 11,000 NC children need foster care. Here are some frequently asked questions answered by foster care experts.

1. Am I the right fit to be a foster parent?

When asking yourself if you are the right person to become a foster parent, consider your motivation. A genuine, heartfelt desire by both spouses to help children who don't have security and stability in their home life is important. Also, an understanding that the ultimate goal of foster parenng is to provide a temporary home for children, until they can be reunited with their biological parents.

2. What age children are available to foster?

Children, from birth to age 21 are available to foster. When foster children turn 18, they have the option of remaining in the program if they comply with certain educational, employment or military service criteria.

3. What B&GH support is available for foster parents and their children?

The B&GH team is always available to answer questions and to connect you with resources such as doctors and therapists. Additional support services include Medicaid, the WIC Program, and either free or reduced-price lunches for school children.

4. What's the cost of fostering?

Foster parents receive a monthly stipend. The stipend depends on the age of the child, but the stipend does not cover all expenses.  The stipend amount also varies based on the foster child's home county. While this helps to defer costs, stipends are not enough to cover all of a child's monthly needs. Foster parents must have an additional source of income.

5. What’s the process to become a foster parent?

Potential foster parents must complete a 40-hour training program, plus a CPR class. Additionally, B&GH instructor-led training classes meet twice a week for up to eight weeks. After training, applicants must submit their licensing paperwork to the state for final approval. The training program helps to prepare parents to meet the special needs of foster children, most of whom have been abused and neglected.

6. Are there family implications?

Every family is different, but when considering the placement of a foster child, you should think about the child’s age range and behavior, and how they will fit in your biological family. Ask yourself if everyone will accept the child, regardless of race, religion or sexual orientation.

7. What are the “real world” pros and cons?

The Pros

It is heartwarming getting the chance to help a child – to see the child grow and become self-confident. It's a rewarding process.  For example, a 4-year-old child was nonverbal when he arrived at a home. Now, he talks non-stop. He has grown academically and socially, and he's getting closer to where he should be developmentally.

The Cons

Foster parenting is one of the most difficult activities you can experience. It's a 24/7 job. You must love your foster children like your own, advocate for them and be prepared to let them go at any time for reunification with their biological parents. The time commitment is huge and there is considerable documentation.

8. How do I learn more?

If you are interested in becoming a foster parent attend a B&GH Open House event where you can talk with licensed foster parents who have first-hand experience with fostering.

Help us provide more homes for foster children.

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