We know that becoming a foster parent is a big decision. Below you will find the answers to some commonly asked questions. If you don’t see what you’re looking for here, please CONTACT US.
What are the qualifications for being a Foster Parent?
Foster parents must be willing to care for children and teenagers by providing them with emotional support and stability as well as meeting physical needs. They must also be a legal resident of the state in which they’d like to adopt. Also, they must be at least 21 years of age, complete a comprehensive Pre-Service Training Program, have dependable automobile with proof of liability insurance, have a viable source of income, comply with a criminal background check, comply with a home study, and be able to provide a safe living environment.
What is a home study?
A home study consists of interviews with family members and looks at your relationships, your supports, your history, your parenting style, and the physical space where the children placed with you will be living.
The interviews – which are designed to help us get to know you, your history and your reasons for wanting to do foster care –help us assess if you will be a good match for the children in our program. It also serves as a forum for you to make informed decisions about whether foster care is the right choice for you.
The other part of this process involves our Foster Care Coordinator coming in and looking at your home to see where the child will be living and assessing the safety of the home and neighborhood.
What else is involved in the process of becoming a foster parent?
Foster parents go through an extensive screening and training process, including background checks and fingerprinting. Also, potential families go through a curriculum called “Resource and Adoptive Parent Training” (RAPT). This is designed to educate families about children in “the system” and teach you how to understand and help them deal with the issues they may face. Foster parents also receive training on dealing with the more specialized issues that children in foster care could face.
Training can be done in a variety of formats, but most families prefer the fast track training that we offer one weekend each month.
What about the children in the program? Do you serve only teenagers?
The youth in Foster Care Select homes range in age from 0-18. We also have some teens who meet the criteria to remain in our care until they are 21. The majority of our children come in sibling groups but we do still have the need to be able to place single children as well.
Children come to us for a variety of reasons. Some have been abused or neglected, and that trauma can lead to behavioral issues. Our supervisors and case managers will help you work with them to deal with those issues. Many children have the goal of being reunited with their birth families and will be in your home while working on that relationship. Others will be working toward independent living skills and preparing to enter the world as a young adult.
What if I am not ready, willing, or able to be a foster parent? Are there other ways that I can help and be involved? Can I be a mentor or provide some other type of service?
Apprehension about becoming a foster family is a very normal feeling. It’s good to take the responsibility seriously and realize that it is a big commitment.
A great way to support foster families and children is to become licensed to provide respite care. This is temporary, short-term care for children (10 days or less and is needed when a child’s foster family has an emergency, goes on vacation, becomes ill, or just needs a break. Respite parents have to be trained and screened just as foster parents do, but the commitment is not as great because the children are only with you for short periods of time.
Can single people be foster parents?
Absolutely. The most important requirement is that you are able to provide the supervision that the child/children placed in your home need. Children in foster care have very specific requirements in regards to supervision, so as long as those needs are met, being a single parent does not pose a problem at all.
Is there financial help available?
Foster families are reimbursed for the expenses they incur for the children in their home through a daily per diem. Rates are based on the child’s level of need and the supervision required, as well as their age. The state has set rates based on those factors.
Additional reimbursements are also available. Each child receives a yearly personal allowance of $300 and special occasion allowances of $50 toward birthday and Christmas presents. There is also a mileage reimbursement if you are required to drive more than what is considered reasonable for family visits and appointments.
What other support is available?
Before you ever have a child in your home, you will go through extensive training. After you are on board, you will continue to receive ongoing education. These are chances for you to connect with other foster families and keep learning about how to better help the children in your care.
Therapeutic services are at the core of our program. All eligible children have case management services and life skills training that are eligible. A Family Support Specialist is assigned to each family to answer day to day questions. Our Supervisors are licensed therapists and are available after hours for emergencies. FSS’s meet with children on a regular basis to ensure they get the services they need and to assist you in dealing with any issues that arise. The FSS also provides skill-building activities to children based on a clinical assessment of their needs. Children may also have a therapist through Centerstone or another agency that they meet with regularly.