When it comes to foster care, there are endless rumors and myths about the youth, foster parents, and the system. None of these rumors or myths seem to paint foster care in a positive light. This is actually causing a big problem for our children in the foster care system.
Over the past few years, there has been a steady decline in the number of foster homes that are available for our most vulnerable children. In fact, currently 1/10th of Oregon’s population are foster parents for the over 8,000 kids who are in foster care today. What does that mean for our kids? It means sleeping in hotel rooms with caseworkers, bouncing from house to house, and being sent out of state to receive treatment.
Our kids deserve better. After experiencing trauma, grief, and loss, they deserve a secure place to live. This is where you all come in. While I know not everyone can be a foster parent, everyone can help debunk the false myths and rumors about foster care and educate others.
Myth: You have to be a traditional family to foster.
FACT: Foster families come in all sizes, shapes, colors, and dynamics. Children are not cookie cutouts and neither should their foster families. Maple Star Oregon celebrates the diversity of our families. We thrive on it. Having a variety of families allows us to find a home for our children that match their needs, personalities, strengths, and skill levels.
Myth: Foster parents do it for the money.
FACT: Foster parents are not paid. They receive a reimbursement payment to help cover the cost of raising a child. In Oregon, the base reimbursement rate for DHS foster parents is equal to 60 percent of the average cost of raising a child. Foster parents foster to help children in their communities. As Maple Star is a private not-for-profit, we are able to reimburse our foster parents at a higher rate to compensate them for loss of work to take youth to appointments, reimburse them for their time filling out paperwork, and help cover the cost of any childcare needs.
Myth: You have to be a stay at home parent to foster.
FACT: Most foster parents have at least one or more parent working outside the home. While fostering and working may be tricky at times, with a little creative planning it is very doable and encouraged. Children in foster care are able to attend after school activities such as Boys and Girls Club, daycare, after school clubs, etc. Maple Star reimburses at a higher monthly rate to help cover the cost of after school activities to help our working families.
Myth: Only super heroes can foster.
FACT: Foster parents are just normal people who want to help make a difference in a child’s life. No super powers required. Investing in this relationship offers a child a sense of security, worth, and belonging that last long after they leave your home. All kids need in order to be resilient is one consistent caring adult. That could be you!