Are You Misinformed About the Foster Care System?
Are you misinformed about the foster care system? TikTok star, and foster parent, Brittany Burcham, shares information, advice, and stories on her account to help reduce misinformation.
Her goal is to educate people on the realities of the foster system, including the positive aspects. Many people focus on the negatives of the system, so she wants to inform people about the range of what happens in the foster system: awful days, but also some of the best days.
She shared that her foster daughter encouraged her to start sharing stories and correcting misconceptions on TikTok. She stated that her foster daughter told her “there aren’t a lot of people talking about fostering teenagers and talking about the good parts of foster care … There is lots of negative stuff but nobody talks about doing it right and doing well.”
She discussed that the kids in foster care are all real people, which sounds like a no-brainer, though many people stereotype, judge, and diagnose these kids before meeting them.
These are actual kids at the heart of this … They’re just normal kids.
Through TikTok, she has gained a huge following of over 750K, and is continuing to make videos and grow her account.
She discusses specific misconceptions and misinformation about foster care in her videos.
Misconception: You have to be Married to Foster Children
Truth: “You don’t. It’s really just a willingness to help.”
Misconception: If You Foster, You have to Adopt
Truth: “Foster care is not about adoption. Foster care is a temporary safe place for a child to go while the family works on what they need to work on to parent that child.”
Misconception: You Can’t Rent an Apartment and Adopt- You have to be a Homeowner
Truth: “You don’t have to own a home, it doesn’t have to be some big 5 bedroom mansion. I’ve got an extra room and an extra bathroom and that’s where kids stay when they come to me.”
Misconception: You make a lot of Money as a Foster Parent. It is a Great Side Hustle for People Who Need Money
Truth: “It’s really hard to make money in foster care if you’re doing it right.”
Misconception: Once a Child is Adopted, They Never have to Go Back to Foster Care.
Truth: Brittany has cared for kids who have been returned to foster care. Her advice for those who choose to adopt is to “educate yourself on trauma. Try to maintain relationships with bio family when possible. It won’t be a fairytale. Parenting never is. Get therapy, get resources, reach out for help.”
Misconception: Teens are Awful to Foster
A piece of advice she gives to those who foster for the right reasons is that “You’re going to learn so much, you’re going to laugh so much, you’re going to have so much love in your heart. It amazes me every time I get a new kid, how fascinating and wonderful it is that I get to be this tiny little part of their lives. It just doesn’t get old.”
When Brittany was asked in a TikTok comment about what she would do if she had two years to prepare for fostering, she answered with this list:
- Research trauma, attachment, and foster care.
- Research pediatricians, day care, after care, or other resources you may need
- Be honest with yourself about what behaviors/needs you can handle
- Build your support system
- Mentally prepare yourself to be unselfish – this goes for parenting in general too
Brittany is sharing wonderful advice and stories through TikTok, and we recommend you check out her page if you want to hear any more of her advice on emergency-fostering teens. We want to thank Brittany for helping the misinformed and children within the foster care system.
If you have any questions about fostering/adopting, check out these resources here.