Decades of Devotion

In April 2009, Patricia and Wayne Stover hung up their fostering hats. This remarkable couple raised four biological children and went on to foster at least 55 children over a span of 20 years. In addition to caring for dozens of children in need, the couple has been heavily involved in foster parenting fundraisers and associations. They were honored by their community in Lycoming County, Pa., for their hard work [source: Thompson]. The Stovers are living proof that the benefits of foster parenting can lead to a lifetime of happiness.

Benefits of Being a Foster Parent

There are many common-sense benefits of becoming a foster parent. You're helping children have better lives. You're actively removing them from poor environments and providing them with the stability they're seeking. Even if you only have a child for a few months, you have the ability to teach the child lifelong lessons and set positive examples for how healthy families should function.

Most states provide financial compensation for the costs of foster parenting. The rates can differ based on the ages of the children or any special needs they have. An average 4-year-old child in Missouri comes with $282 per month to cover expenses, while a medical- or special-needs child would receive $671 per month [source: MFCAA]. Missouri also gives each child a Medicaid card and an annual clothing (or monthly diaper) allowance. If you have a job that would require daycare services, you can receive assistance for that cost until the child is 13 years old [source: MFCAA].

It's possible to get other costs reimbursed, too. In the state of New York, foster parents can be reimbursed for school costs, tutorial help, club or organization fees, camps, excessive bills (such as phone calls to parents) or damages to personal property caused by the child [source: NYSOCFS]. You may also be eligible for tax deductions by caring for a foster child [source: IRS].

Does all of this sound good to you? Read on to learn about the foster parenting process.