Can You Be a Foster Parent With a Full-Time Job?

The short and sweet answer is yes, a foster parent can work full- or part-time.

If you meet all the primary requirements to be a foster parent, you’ll likely be approved, even if you have a job. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy. You need an agency that understands that some parents may have full-time work and an agency that guarantees the best support to parents.

Below are some things you should consider.

Foster Care and Working Full-Time: Not All Foster Agencies Have the Same Rules

Not all foster care agencies operate with the same policies and requirements. In fact, it’s very common for different agencies to have different internal guidelines regarding expectations about children’s activities, transportation, monitoring visits or taking children to school or the doctor. You may need to look around to find an agency that can work with your situation.

However, you won’t want to seek an agency with lax requirements and dive into fostering with unrealistic expectations. In addition to the core parenting needs all children need, foster parents also need to attend meetings and complete relevant training, and in many cases, they need to provide transportation for the children to have visitations with their biological parent(s).

Find an agency that is willing to work around your schedule. Do they tell you what days you need to go to their office for orientation and training, or do they give you options, such as in-home services or online orientations? Do they offer support with transportation or medical appointments for those occasions in which you may not be able to transport children? As you consider becoming a foster parent, you need to consider all these issues.

7 Tips for Foster Parents Who Work Full-Time

Foster parenting may feel like a full-time job in itself, but becoming a foster parent when you have a full-time job is absolutely possible. If you work full-time and are interested in becoming a foster parent, these seven tips may help.

1. Enroll the Child in Day Care Services

Remember: Enlisting extra help does not equate to providing poor-quality care. When you enroll foster children in day care services, you can handle your individual responsibilities while ensuring they are well taken care of. When looking for day care services, ask the following questions:

  • Have you worked with foster children in the past?
  • Do you know how to respond to outbursts or behavioral issues?
  • Do you communicate a child’s progress with families?
  • How flexible is your schedule?

Aside from helping you out, day care comes with some additional benefits for children, including readying them for school and helping them become better communicators.

2. Find a Trustworthy Babysitter

If you want more one-on-one care for a foster child while you’re at work, you can enlist the help of a trustworthy caregiver. As you look for a babysitter, consider the child’s physical, developmental and social needs, and make sure to meet them ahead of time. You can have them meet the child, show them your home and discuss necessary things like allergies and medical requirements.

Keep in mind that, in many places, you cannot leave a foster child with a babysitter for more than 24 hours or enroll them in day care without approval from child and family services. You can, however, let a responsible babysitter care for the child for less than 24 hours without approval. These rules are meant to keep the child safe and secure.

3. Understand the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) requires that employers with over 50 employees provide up to 12 weeks of yearly unpaid leave for birth, adoption or foster care. When you work full-time as a foster parent, you should understand your rights under this law so that you can be available during the adjustment period, when the child in your care is sick or when you are experiencing a severe health issue yourself.

4. Join Support Groups

No one understands the triumphs and challenges of being a foster parent more than other foster parents. You can tell them when you’re struggling, listen to their stories and share in one another’s joy. Whether you find a network of fellow foster parents online or work with an agency that offers support groups, having people you can talk to in moments of delight and sadness is hugely beneficial.

5. Talk to a Counselor

If you’re looking for additional emotional support, you can talk to a counselor. They can help you navigate the complex feelings associated with becoming a foster parent and give you a space to work through your emotions.

6. Foster Siblings

Fostering more than one child might seem like the exact opposite of a solution for a foster parent who works full-time. However, keeping siblings together is associated with several important benefits, including higher rates of adoption and reunification. Additionally, it can help create positive sibling relationships, and the children will be happy to spend time together. If you work full-time and are worried about a child feeling lonely, keeping them with their siblings can help them adjust and feel less anxious.

7. Foster a Child Part-Time

You may be surprised to learn that part-time fostering is quite common. It’s called being a host-guardian. Some call it respite care.

There are three ways for you to become a positive influence in the life of a child in need: adoption, fostering and becoming a host-guardian. Adoption is a more involved subject that we address in a separate article. Being a foster parent and being a host-guardian are pretty much the same thing, except that as a host-guardian, you can pick the number of days — or even hours — you’re available to provide a safe environment for children in need.

Many times, host-guardian programs offer a great opportunity for potential foster parents to become familiar with how much time and effort is actually needed to do a good job as a foster parent. And knowing that is the key to determining whether working full-time in an outside job is something you can balance while still fulfilling a foster child’s needs.

If you’re not sure how your work life and family life will balance out, try being a host-guardian before becoming a full-time foster parent. Not all agencies offer the host-guardian program, so consider an agency that does. This is also an excellent way to help out current foster parents when they need some time off.

Knotts Family Agency Can Work Alongside You During Your Foster Care Journey

You can foster a child while maintaining a part-time or full-time job. However, for many parents, it’s not realistic — many prefer to focus entirely on being a foster parent. But if you’re mentally committed to working full-time and becoming a full-time foster parent, you should give us a call.

You need an agency committed to working with you based on your individual or family situation. Knotts Family Agency uses a variety of ways to make it easier for you, including one-on-one orientations at the time and place of your choosing. We’ll work around your schedule and work tirelessly to make sure you are 100% satisfied. Give us a call or contact us online today — our team is well-qualified to listen to your story and create a situation that’s a win-win for you and the child(ren) you ultimately get to foster.

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This Post Has One Comment

  1. Thanks for pointing out that part-time fostering is also an option for busier people. I’m interested in learning more about how to be a foster parent because I’ve always been interested in finding time to do some humanitarian work whenever my schedule allows. I think that fostering could be something that I could do in order to do my part in making my local community a better place.

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