What is foster care?
Being a foster parent is so much more than loving a child in your home. It’s also showing kindness to a family when they need it most.
It’s giving a child a safe place to land during a hard, scary time when they’re away from home. And it’s showing compassion to a parent who is likely overwhelmed, scared, and without a lot of support.
It’s helping a child stay connected to the only home they’ve ever known, in whatever way it’s safe to do so, and cheering on a family that’s living out a comeback story.
At Bethany, our heart beats for family. We want to see families strong, supported, and together. But we know there are times when families face challenges—and children need care.
That’s why we’re seeking foster parents who believe in families too.
Common questions about foster care
How many kids are in foster care in the U.S.?
Over 400,000 children are in the U.S. foster care system. The average age of a foster child is 8.
There is an urgent need for foster homes for older children (ages 11-17) and sibling groups.
How much does it cost to be a foster parent?
Foster parents receive a monthly, tax-free stipend. While the amount varies by state, most foster parents report it covers necessary expenses like food, clothing, and school supplies.
You will still discover additional out-of-pocket costs, which is why we recommend foster parents seek community resources and family support.
What are the qualifications to be a foster parent?
You must be 21+ years of age and have sufficient space in your home for foster children. You can be married or single, and you can own or rent your home, apartment, condo, etc.
The exact requirements vary by state. Staff at your local Bethany office will explain your state’s licensing requirements.
What qualities do you need to be a good foster parent?
You might assume a certain type of person makes an “ideal” foster parent — but that’s not true. We’ve worked with single dads, seasoned grandmothers, first-time parents, and parents who both work full time. People from all walks of life can be foster parents.
We’re looking for parents who can provide both structure and flexibility. Parents who have a sense of humor and are open to new parenting styles. Parents who have a heart for older children and keeping siblings together. Parents who advocate fiercely and love generously.
Is there a Bethany foster care program in my area?
Enter your zip code on our Find a Location page to locate the program nearest you.
What is the process for becoming a foster parent through Bethany?
The process to become a foster parent looks different in each state, based on their licensing requirements and regulations. Generally speaking, these are the steps to become a foster parent through Bethany:
Attend a free informational meeting hosted by your local Bethany branch
Complete the certification process, which includes a thorough background screening and specialized foster care training from Bethany staff
Receive your first foster placement and welcome a child or children into your home
Video series: An introduction to foster care
This five-part series is designed to answer five commonly asked questions about foster care:
• What is foster care? • Who are the kids in foster care? • Who are foster parents? • What will foster parenting be like? • What are the steps to becoming a foster parent?