It takes a unique and special individual to become a successful foster parent, whether at SOS Children’s Villages Illinois or another agency. For those who may be curious about becoming a Foster Parent in our community, it’s good to know what’s involved from the very beginning. The model of care at SOS Children’s Villages Illinois offers a unique approach to foster care and the benefits far outweigh any costs.
The SOS Illinois model trains and employs full-time, professional Foster Parents. Individuals, domestic partners, or married couples live in single-family homes with up to six children in one of three villages. It’s a vocation with no shortage of benefits.
SOS Illinois Foster Parents Get to Transform Lives
First and foremost, SOS Illinois Foster Parents benefit from the amazing opportunity to make a difference in the lives of children. To change the trajectory of a child’s life from negative to positive; from unstable to stable is a tremendous gift. Foster Parents at SOS Illinois make it possible for a child and sibling group to have a promising future. They have the ability to change lives. It’s hard to imagine a greater benefit.
SOS Illinois Foster Parents Have a Chance to Help Build Healthy Brains
We all want to be loved. It’s considered a basic human need. In fact, there’s scientific evidence that humans are hard-wired to give and receive love. Research has proven that when babies and children are deprived of love, which is considered a form of neglect in the scientific community, it actually changes the shape of their brain as it develops. Foster Parents at SOS Illinois have the benefit of sharing love with children who deserve and need it.
SOS Illinois Foster Parents Get the Opportunity to Make Dreams Come True
Children and youth in foster care have hopes and dreams and goals, just like everyone else. But it’s difficult to focus on dreams when there’s constant upheaval and chaos in your life. It’s nearly impossible to have hope when you have no stability or security. Children live in single-family homes in a village setting with their siblings and/or other children and Foster Parents at SOS Illinois, which provides them with a stable and secure environment, maybe for the first time. SOS Illinois Foster Parents have a chance to create a stable home life to make room for hopes and dreams.
SOS Illinois Foster Parents Get to Build and Strengthen Families
The SOS Illinois model strives to keep siblings together, which research has shown has a significant positive impact on the lives of children and youth in foster care. SOS Illinois Foster Parents get to share their parenting skills to build and reinforce strong family connections for siblings and any children who are members of an SOS Illinois family.
SOS Illinois Foster Parents Receive Professional Training and Support
Foster Parents at SOS Illinois are provided with ongoing professional development through an educational and training program called SOS University, as well as through other professionals in the Village communities and on-call Relief Parents, who provide much-needed and well-deserved relief time for our Foster Parents.
SOS Illinois Foster Parents Have Access to Personal Resources
SOS Illinois Foster Parents are required to relocate to one of its single-family, private homes within one of its Villages, so housing is provided. There are also several other personal benefits including:
- An annual salary
- Health and dental insurance
- Contributions to a 403B retirement plan after one year of service
- Housing, including utilities
- Use of an SOS Illinois vehicle
- A household budget for food and other expenses for the children in their home
What does it cost to be an SOS Illinois Foster Parent? Love, dedication, passion, and stamina. Learn more from Mickey Haldeman, one SOS Illinois’ longest serving Foster Parents, as she shares her experience. Without question, the benefits far outweigh the costs. If you’re willing to pay the price and reap the benefits of being an SOS Illinois Foster Parent, we would love to hear from you.
Want to support SOS Illinois in other ways? You can donate to help our innovative approach to foster care by making a gift today or joining our monthly giving program, Dream Makers, to ensure we have the resources we need all year long to provide top-notch programs and services to siblings in foster care and at-risk families.