Is Foster Care Professional Employment ?

These days it seems anything goes.  Even a stay at home mom of 25 years managed to get a job running a movie theater with a staff of 15 people. She made her case by outlining her experience in scheduling and budgeting experiences related to running a household.

With foster care, the “payment or stipend” goes to the child’s expenses and so is not actual compensation for doing specific work.  It has been mentioned that if this a job that you would have to be bonded for, then yes you would list that experience of being a foster care parent on a resume.

If you are applying for a job where foster care experience is relevant, such as working with a youth program or something like that, it should definitely be listed but not as employment experience.   It may need to be disclosed as a potential conflict with some positions, for example – work in behavioral health for an agency that also does child welfare work.

And it is interesting that advertisements seeking foster parents are always listed in the “jobs” section of the classifieds.  Listing time spent fostering would make logical sense to explain a gap in work history. If you didn’t work for x number of years because you needed to be at home with foster children.

One foster parent shared – I might list foster parenting under community service/volunteer experience, depending upon the job I was applying for. I never have listed it in our 25+ years as a foster family. I feel that people are prone to look at me as a “savior” then, and I don’t feel comfortable with all that goes with that.

Another mom said – I did list foster parent and stay at home mom.  I was applying for a teaching job after 10+ years of no employment, and I listed it as experience rather than employment. I definitely wouldn’t put it on a resume, if I was applying for a job that didn’t involve  work with children.

A Human Resources Director noted – I would find it odd to see foster parenting on a job resume. Unless the job that they are applying for is in the foster field – like a volunteer, a house mom for a group home. Resumes are to get you the interview, not the job.   Any gap of employment should be explained in a cover letter and not the resume.  She also noted that HR professionals are not looking at gaps in employment as a big negative at this time. After the financial crisis, a lot of people lost jobs and it was hard to find other jobs and/or a good fit.

In fact, this professional admits there are employers out there that will not consider a person for a position because of familial obligations. She suggests the applicant remove any mention of foster care, stay-at-home, etc. Instead say something like “I was away from the workforce for x amount of time because of a personal obligation/matter. That obligation/matter has been addressed and is no longer a factor nor will it impact me in this position.