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Can I be a foster parent if I'm single?

Photo of Karen Lavin

Deciding to become a foster parent is one of the most important choices a person may ever make. Giving hope and a loving environment to a child who has been dealt a difficult set of circumstances can be very rewarding.

Often, however, fostering is seen as something that only those in stable relationships with partners may undertake. While it is true that most foster parents are couples, it is indeed possible to become a foster parent as a single person.

Becoming a foster parent is not for everyone, and should be considered very soberly — especially if you are a single person. As a single foster parent, you will face all of the difficulties that can weigh heavily on traditional foster parent couples. But you will be without the advantage of having another person to share these responsibilities.

There are some general requirements that all foster parents are expected to meet. Foster parents are required to have no felony or misdemeanor convictions and no history of perpetrating child or elder abuse. Potential foster parents must also demonstrate that they have a regular income that is sufficient to care for the needs of the foster child. Foster parents must also provide homes that are suitable for housing children. All foster parents must be at least 21 years of age.

Although it is possible to be single and foster a child, some agencies or states may not choose to place children with foster parents who are cohabiting with unmarried partners.

If you believe that you are ready to make a difference in a child's life by becoming a foster parent, it is wise to enlist the guidance of an attorney with extensive family law experience. With proper legal guidance, you can confidently pursue your dream foster parenting, knowing that your rights and the rights of the child will remain protected.

Source: Findlaw, "Foster Parent Requirements," accessed Jan. 19, 2017

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