Taking in a foster child: requirements and application process

Would you like to adopt a foster child? You can read here which requirements you have to meet, what is particularly important when applying and what else you should consider if you want to take in a foster child.

Adopt a foster child: how to apply?

In Germany, foster children, like adopted children, are placed by the youth welfare office or by recognized independent agencies. The application is similar to an adoption. Would you like to learn more about adoption? In the following article we have answered the most important questions about adopting a child

However , the requirements of foster parents are somewhat different than the requirements of adoptive parents , because the children are under stress, often even traumatized, because …

  • Foster children often bring a long history of suffering with them. For example, because the parents were unable to take good care of their child due to illness, financial hardship or drug addiction. Or because the second parent is not there or is even unknown.
  • Foster children have often experienced neglect, been beaten, or experienced psychological violence. These experiences shaped them naturally and will never make living together in a foster family that easy. The decision should therefore be well thought out, because foster parenthood is a task that requires a lot of patience, courage and a good deal of idealism.

Requirements if you want to take in a foster child

As a potential foster mother, it is not required that you live in a traditional family form, that you are married to your partner or that you earn a lot. Heterosexual and same-sex couples as well as single interested parties can apply for a foster child. Even shared apartments can take in a foster child, but the necessary emotional and financial stability for the foster child must always be secured. Foster children often come to families with several children so that they can make friends right away. If this is the case, the following applies: the foster child must be at least two years younger than the youngest child in the family.

There are some requirements that you should definitely keep in mind:

  • Financially secure: As a caregiver, you should live in secure financial circumstances and possibly be able to do without your partner’s income so that your foster child can be well cared for. Foster parents receive financial support from the youth welfare office in the form of the care allowance, but it is primarily intended to cover the child’s maintenance costs. The apartment should also be big enough for the foster child to find a place to live. Foster parents also need a health certificate and a police clearance certificate for the application.
  • High Resilience: Raising a child is never a walk in the park—whether it’s biological, adopted, or fostered. However, unlike birth parents, foster parents can not always make their own decisions . They will work together with the youth welfare office and possibly also directly with the child’s parents. A particularly big challengebut the foster child is to be accepted as it is. And that means being able to deal with your past and the problems that have arisen from it. As a result of separation, neglect and physical or psychological violence, many foster children have developed behaviors that foster parents have to respond to intensively: foster children are often very clingy. Others don’t let anyone near them. And many foster children have developmental disorders, for example they only get clean late.

Application procedure if you want to take in a foster child

If you are interested in a foster child, you should first attend an information event organized by the local youth welfare office. It also makes sense to seek contact with other foster families beforehand. The responsible youth welfare office will be happy to help you.

Once the decision has been made to want to take in a foster child, the application follows. The application process usually takes several months. In order for the placement agency to be able to get an idea of ​​you, you now have to fill out questionnaires, talk to a specialist and take part in preparatory seminars. You will probably be visited at least once at home by an employee of the youth welfare office. The agency expects openness on personal issues such as family life, childhood, worldview, life planning and educational goals.

Particular importance is attached to the justification for the desire for a foster child. If these are purely personal reasons, for example a hoped-for closer bond between the spouses, financial advantages or the desire for a playmate for one’s own child, then the youth welfare office will probably not assign a child to the partners. Because in order for the foster relationship to be a success, the top priority of the foster parents, like the placement agency, must always be the well-being of the child.

If you are accepted as an applicant for foster parenthood, the youth welfare office will get in touch with you sooner or later. You will then receive detailed information about the possible foster child, its history and biological family. As a rule, you then have peace and time to decide on this new and important task.

How resilient are the applicants?

An important topic in the preparatory phase is the question of one’s own strengths, resources and limits. Foster parents often fail because they did not make their boundaries clear in advance. A realistic assessment of one’s own abilities makes it easier to find a suitable foster child and prevent failure. Intensive preparation for possible problems with the foster child is also important. In this way, the foster parents can recognize difficulties at an early stage, face them realistically and patiently and find an appropriate solution.

After comprehensive and intensive preparation, nothing stands in the way of a difficult but also very nice and interesting time with the foster child.

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