So: You’re thinking about becoming a foster parent, but you have questions. You have worries. You maybe even have some doubts.

That’s to be expected: Deciding to be a foster parent is a big step, and it’s one that should not be taken lightly or made quickly. In fact, many people think about it for a year or two before making a decision.

To help with this process, we encourage prospective foster parents to ask themselves some specific questions that will help them know if they’re ready.

The way we see it, these questions fall into two categories: practical considerations (things like money, space in your home and your support network); and emotional matters (how you feel about becoming a foster parent, how your family will welcome a foster child and what special gifts and abilities you have to offer). By working through these questions, we believe you can get a better sense of whether you’re ready to be a foster parent.

Following are some examples of the questions we encourage you to ask yourself if you’re thinking about becoming a foster parent:

Practical considerations

  • Can I/we afford to bring a foster child into my/our home? Yes, you will receive a per diem reimbursement for costs related to foster parenting, but some costs will not be reimbursed.
  • Do I/we have room for a foster child? You must have room for the child and his or her belongings, as well as space for the kid simply to be a kid.
  • Do I/we have a support network of people who can help us? All parents—and maybe especiallyfoster parents—need a support network of friends and relatives they can call on to help them as they raise their children.
  • Am I organized enough to help a foster child keep up with school work, activities and more? Kids’ lives can be busy, and they often need someone to help them manage their activities and responsibilities.

Emotional considerations

  • What about becoming a foster parent excites me the most? This is a fun question.
  • What about becoming a foster parent worries me the most? This is the flip side of the previous question. What makes it seem like foster parenting might not be a great idea?
  • How will I address the things I’m worried about? You’ve admitted what you’re worried about; now it’s time to think about how you’ll overcome those worries. How will you solve problems, address challenges and resolve conflicts?
  • What special skills, abilities or talents do I have that will make me a good foster parent? You’ve got a lot to offer a child in need of foster care. It’s good to think about your gifts.
  • What personal challenges might I need to overcome in order to be a good foster parent? How will you overcome them?
  • Am I prepared to make a difference? Write down the ways that you think becoming a foster parent could make a difference in the life of a child, In the lives of the people who love him or her, and in the lives of your family members.

Of course, making this decision involves a lot more than answering a few questions, and I’m sure you have questions of your own … questions that are unique to you. That’s why I encourage you to visit the Damar Foster Care Services website, and to give me a call at 317-813-4720. I’d love to talk with you about the things that would make you a wonderful foster parent, and to help you address those questions and concerns that make you wonder if fostering really is right for you.

About the Author

Guenevere Kalal

Director of Foster Care Services

As director of foster care services, Guenevere Kalal has built Damar Foster Care Services from the ground up. Since 2010, she has been charged with creating, building and operating the program – including managing the foster care staff. Guene holds a bachelor of arts degree in psychology from Purdue University and a master’s degree from Indiana Wesleyan University.

The basic requirements
To become a foster parent in Indiana, individuals and couples must:

  • Be 21
  • Pass a criminal and Child Protective Services background check
  • Have a vehicle, valid driver’s license and auto insurance
  • Have a regular source of income and earn enough to support themselves and the foster child
  • Live in a home that meets basic fire, safety and sanitary standards
  • Have bedroom space for a child (kids of the same gender may share a bedroom)
  • Be free from any physical or mental condition that would affect their ability to care for a child
  • Be willing to complete the required pre-service training
  • Willing to complete annual training requirements
  • Follow the foster care regulations outlined by the Indiana Department of Child Services