Department of Family Services – Children and Families

Fairfax County, Virginia

CONTACT INFORMATION: Monday–Friday 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m.

TTY 711

12011 Government Center Parkway, Pennino Building
Fairfax, VA 22035

Oriane Eriksen,

Foster Family New – Foster Care Myths

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There are a lot of misconceptions about foster care, foster parents, and the children and families involved. Each issue of Foster Family News contains a myth that will be clarified for those interested in supporting foster care. Check out the myths and facts that have been in previous issues.

1. Myth: You can’t be single.

Fact: No matter your marital status, you can be a foster parent to a child in need. Single, divorced and married (including LGBTQ couples) people are all welcome!

2. Myth: Foster kids are unfixable.

Fact: Children are resilient. They can bounce back from trauma. Foster Parents can make a difference in the life of a child by providing love, structure, support, and a caring environment.

3. Myth: I can’t foster, I would get too attached.

Fact: Instead of letting the fear of getting too attached deter potential foster parents, be motivated by the fear that these kids may never feel truly attached to someone. Children in foster care need a person who cares deeply for them and who will get attached, regardless of their experiences or behaviors.

4. Myth: You need to own your home.

Fact: Foster parents can either own or rent. The home must have adequate bedroom space for the children. Each child must have their own bed.

5. Myth: Children in foster care can't do normal things.

Fact: With training (and in some cases) collaboration with social workers, foster parents can make decisions related to vacations, babysitters, playing sports, allowing teens to work part-time or get a driver’s license.

6. Myth: Teenagers are the most difficult to foster.

Fact: Every child in foster care has experienced some trauma, and brings strengths, abilities, and challenges regardless of age. With training (and in some cases) collaboration with social workers, foster parents become equipped to bring out those strengths in character and help children of all ages recover from past trauma. Being in an environment with loving foster parents who nurture a teen's coping skills and resilience can help them to recover, thrive, and move forward in life. Success in school, jobs, community activities and beyond become a reality. 

7. Myth: You can’t work full time.

Fact: Many foster parents work outside the home. There is Child Care assistance available to help defray the costs.

8. You must be a parent.

Many foster parents do not have children. Regardless of your parenting experience, caring for children who have experienced trauma is made easier if you have the right training. Our department provides ongoing resources and training opportunities to help prospective foster (and adoptive) parents become comfortable.

(go to Foster Family News current issue or archive)

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