This is a really common question and the answer is simple: “Yes!”
Basic requirements to know:
Specific requirements are set by states (and in some cases counties), but typically the requirements to foster are fairly straightforward. Generally speaking, foster parents must be at least 21 years old, pass a background check, complete the necessary requirements for training and complete a home study. You can own or rent a home, condo, or apartment, as long as you have a room for a child. And, you must have sufficient income to support your family.
Singles can be incredible foster parents.
A fried of mine, Terry Gray is a single foster and adoptive dad and enterpreneur. He has been a phenomenal place of stability and support for the teen guys in his care. He brings lots of humor and fun to his relationships with the guys. I’ve gotten to witness firsthand just how special of a foster home he’s provided. Getting to watch their shared laughs and seeing the strong bonds he’s formed with his high school boys is amazing and inspiring!
Terry sees being single actually as an advantage in terms of having more capacity and availability on multiple levels to invest into the lives of the kids. Terry says, “The cool thing about being single and doing it is you have a hundred percent of your emotion and everything you would normally put into a family, you have all of that in you and you’re able to give that all.”
Hear more from Terry:
Leveraging support is key.
The key is leveraging support through your circle of friends and through your community. This is true really though for all foster parents, whether single or married.
Bernie Lattner understands how crucial support really is in the fostering journey. He’s a single foster/adoptive dad who has fostered nine kids, adopted three, and mentored over 30. This on top of being a prison chaplain by profession.
He has a ton of wisdom and insight to share when it comes to fostering as a single. Giving back through fostering and equipping the young men in his care to give back to society are really important to Bernie. He sees firsthand with his chaplain role at a prison the destructive impact on men who didn’t have strong role models in their lives growing up.
That realization has been a powerful catalyst for him to continue to help kids in foster care all these years. Bernie really seeks to help connect the boys in his care to other role models as well in the community. He also realizes the importance of having a female presence in his house (through friends and family) and has invited them in sometimes to help with tutoring, meals, and talking to the boys about dating from the female perspective.
Bernie says, “Even though you’re a single foster parent, you’re only as single as you want to be. You can bring in as many resources as you need to make that load bearable and have the best outcome for the kids.”