Here’s how - and why - to become a foster parent in the Dayton area

Bethany Sibbitt said being a parent was a dream of hers for years. Life took her in different directions.

The Kettering Health and Cedarville University employee became a foster caregiver three years ago as a way to fill a need in her community and a need in her heart, she said.

Since then, she has looked after four infants. One is currently in her care. The others were reunified with family.

Sibbitt said she found that gaining the licensing necessary was a longer process than some may expect. Aside from completing a background check, she was required to take three to four months of courses, and a home assessor had to survey her house to ensure it was a safe place for a child.

Sibbitt said she wishes more people understood that foster caregivers have a voice in terms of who can be placed with them and when. Some foster caregivers provide respite care, for example.

“I think a lot of people have an all-or-nothing approach to it,” she said. “They’re not ready for the all, so they just do nothing. They don’t realize how many points of flexibility they can have to help a family and their community.”

Foster parents Michelle Tedford and Kevin Anderson agreed, saying families can also choose to help children and teens through mentorship programs if they don’t feel they can become a caregiver.

Prospective foster parents also don’t have to go through the process alone. Multiple resources exist through the county’s children service department, and caregivers can also fall back on a network of other foster parents.

“We learn as much from other foster parents as we ever have in any training course that we’ve ever taken,” Anderson said.

Adults over the age of 18 may be eligible to be a foster parent. Eligibility is not dependent on marital status or home ownership. Nor is it dependent on personal successes, said Montgomery County Children Services associate director Craig Rickett.

“Children don’t need a perfect parent, because there is no such thing,” he said. “They do need somebody who can take the time to care for them, though.”

Learn more about being a foster or adoptive parent

Montgomery County Children Services has brought back its in-person, informational meetings for prospective foster or adoptive parents. These information sessions are free. The county needs homes for all ages, especially for older children ages 12-17.

Location: Haines Children Center, 3304 North Main Street, Dayton


Tuesday, July 11, 6 - 7:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Aug. 8, 6 - 7:30 p.m.

Thursday, Sept. 14, 6 - 7:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Oct. 10, 6 - 7:30 p.m.

Monday, Nov. 13, 6 - 7:30 p.m.

Monday, Dec. 11, 6 - 7:30 p.m.

Fore more information: Call 937-224-KIDS (5437) to learn about becoming a foster caregiver in Montgomery County.

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