For SOS Illinois Foster Parents, their career is not just a full-time job—it’s a full-time vocation. Foster Parents are the foundation of the SOS Illinois model, and they create a stable home life that aids children in overcoming difficult pasts, healing from trauma, and gaining in their dreams. While you are able to become a Foster Parent as an individual with SOS Illinois, becoming Foster Parents as a couple yields unique benefits.
Benefits of Becoming a Foster Parent Couple at SOS Illinois
When you become Foster Parents at SOS Children’s Villages Illinois as a couple, you have unique benefits in relation to being a Foster Parent individually. As a Foster Parent couple, one parent is employed as a Full-Time Foster Parent, and the other parent works outside of the home. For couples beginning their shared lives together or looking to build a unique family, this opportunity allows for one individual to provide care for the children while the other is able to advance themselves in their chosen career field. For couples who may have adult children, or those looking to stay involved after retirement, becoming a Foster Parent couple gives you the unique chance to utilize skills you’ve gained in your personal and professional life to make a difference in the lives of youth.
What Does Full-Time Mean as a Foster Parent?
SOS Children’s Villages Illinois Foster Parents don’t clock in and clock out and return home at the end of the day: they make a very real change to their lives when joining our team in this role. Our Foster Parents move into one of our three Chicagoland Villages and take care of up to six brothers and sisters in a single-family home in one of those Village communities.
SOS Illinois Foster Parents attend to the daily schedules and diverse needs of each of the children in their home, nearly 24/7 (our part-time, on-call Relief Parents provide weekly relief time). As full-time, professional SOS Children’s Villages Illinois Foster Parents, their role is so much more than just a job. Our Foster Parents are deeply invested in the healing, development, and growth of the brothers and sisters in their care on a daily and ongoing basis.
“The rewards, I can talk about those: it’s seeing the kids smile, seeing them being happy and being content and comfortable knowing that they’re secure—and trusting me with handling everything. Children come with different traumas. They come with different expectations of a foster home, and it’s my job to make it feel like it’s their home.
Those are my rewards, just seeing them thriving and moving on.” Veteran Foster Parent with SOS Illinois, Jeanette Rush
Oftentimes, the other member of a Foster Parent couple provides relief time as a Relief Parent, too. By doing so, the member of the couple that works outside of the home is able to have special bonding time with the children, gain valuable parenting skills, and earn additional income for the family.
Advice for Potential Foster Parents from One of Our Own
Michele “Mickey” Haldeman was the very first Foster Parent at SOS Children’s Villages Illinois. For more than 25 years, she has served as a caregiver to over 20 children at our Lockport Village. Many of those children Mickey raised from infancy to adulthood. As trends in foster care have progressed towards a model of permanency, Mickey has continued her work as a nurturer of sibling groups and leader within the Village community.
Join SOS Illinois as a Foster Parent Couple
This opportunity is open to all couples where both individuals are over the age of 25, and both undergo the appropriate background checks and training. Eligible couples are married, in a civil union, or domestic partnership. SOS Children’s Villages Illinois is committed to growing a diverse community and does not discriminate on the basis gender or sexual orientation, and we welcome same-sex individuals or couples to apply to become Foster Parents. In addition, we encourage couples where one or both parents are bilingual and comfortable with conversational Spanish.
Core Requirements for Foster Parents at SOS Illinois
Successful Foster Parents must meet the following minimum criteria in order to move forward in the application process.
- Valid driver’s license, proof of insurance, and clear driving record
- DCFS (Department of Children and Family Services) background clearance
- DCFS medical clearance
- Must be at least 25 years of age
- Must have a high school diploma or equivalent
- If applicable, must adhere to the policy of bringing only one biological or adopted child into the Village home
- Must be willing to move to any one of our three Villages (Lockport Village, Chicago Village, and Roosevelt Square Village)
- Must be willing to commit to three years of service as a full-time, professional Foster Parent
Interested in becoming a Foster Parent couple at SOS Illinois but still have questions? Check out our FAQ page for Foster Parents.
Ready to begin the process of becoming a Foster Parent? Fill out our Foster Parent questionnaire.