Is Foster Parenting for You?

Filed under: Parenting

Every night in America, nearly 400,000 children go to bed in foster care. LGBTQ youth are over-represented among the population of young people in foster care. Caring adults can make a real difference in the lives of these young people by becoming foster parents. It requires courage, empathy, patience, tenacity as well as love. This page outlines some of the challenges and rewards of foster parenting. Read more on HRC's blog.


Children are placed in your home on a temporary basis. Their stay could be as short as one night or as long as several years.

  • There are opportunities for adoption but they are not guaranteed. The goal of most state and private placement agencies is to reunite the child with his or her family as quickly as is safe and feasible.
  • Your house may be the latest stop for a child who has been in the system for some time and may have been to many homes, some good, some not so good. This is especially true for older youth. Young people in foster care often develop defense mechanisms that can make it tough for anyone to get through to them.
  • Children in foster care are often the victims of neglect or abuse. These traumatic experiences can lead to emotional and behavioral problems that can disrupt your household.
  • Foster parents often need to care and advocate for foster youth around their medical needs, including issues related to physical and developmental disabilities.


The rewards to foster parenting are countless. Two foster dads from Missouri, Derek and Justin, say "Becoming foster parents has been, without a doubt, one of the best choices we've ever made." Read their story here.

Below are just a few of the reasons to open up your home and your life to a young person in need.

  • These children need you. Right now, there is a critical shortage of adoptive and foster parents in the United States.
  • They want you. LGBTQ youth are especially in need of welcoming and affirming foster homes where they will be accepted for who they are.
  • You can make a difference. Some of the hardest children to find foster homes for are LGBTQ teens; young people questioning their sexual identity; and babies born with HIV. LGBTQ adults are in a unique situation to help these young people.