Foster Care FAQs
Foster care basics
What is a foster parent?
A foster parent is someone who has a desire to help children. The specific requirements can differ from state-to-state, but the main requirement for all foster parents is to temporarily provide a safe and healthy home environment for a child or children who are in need of a family they can rely on.
Where do foster children come from?
Children placed in Centerstone foster homes come from throughout our service areas in Indiana and Tennessee.
Why should I become a foster parent?
Like one of our foster care parents says, “It sounds like a token word, but foster parenting is truly rewarding.”
Children need families they can rely on. Unfortunately, not all children have that. A recent report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found the rate of children entering foster care is much higher than the number of available families.
Simply put, we need more foster parents.
Becoming a foster parent
How do I become a foster parent?
The process to begin is simple. Click here to complete the information form and we will follow up about your interest and walk you through the next steps.
Can I become a foster parent if I live in a state outside of Centerstone’s service area?
You must live within our service area to participate in Centerstone’s foster care program. Our service area includes Indiana and Tennessee.
Can I become a foster parent if I have a health condition or disability?
Health is taken into account during the application process: you will be required to complete a medical form for each adult and child in your household. If you have a disability, you can foster children as long as a physician states that you are healthy enough to do so.
Will I be supported if I become a foster parent?
Most definitely! At Centerstone, our foster care team carefully chooses families to pair with children who are referred to our program.
All children coming into foster care have experienced trauma. As a result, they may find it difficult to cope in their new home. For these families, we provide case management and services to assist you and your foster child.
We also train our staff and families to work with the “whole child,” with a focus on sleep, diet and exercise. By helping children make healthy choices, their chances of success dramatically increase.
Will I be trained in being a foster parent?
Yes! Foster parent training classes are scheduled to be as convenient as possible.
Unlike many agencies that offer large, classroom-style trainings, Centerstone can even provide individual classes in your home when your schedule allows. We have found these in-home trainings to be convenient and help our foster parents and staff become acquainted and comfortable with each other in their working relationships.
What if I need a break?
Centerstone offers time for all of our families and children to take a break for a few days. Simply let your Centerstone case manager know in advance that you need personal time, and they will work with you.
What kind of people are allowed to become foster parents?
Almost anyone who has a desire to help children can become a foster parent. Foster parents must be at least 21 years old in Indiana and 25 years old in Tennessee, and pass background checks, a health screening and an income verification.
About foster children
Do I get to pick the child I foster?
Yes, Centerstone respects your current family situation and wants to place a child in your home who will be a good fit. During the training process, you will fill out a form that helps us identify children who might be a good match for you.
As each child comes available for placement, staff members will determine appropriate homes for the child. We then contact prospective foster parents to discuss the child. At that point, you can decide whether to proceed. You can decline placement at any time.
Can I foster more than one child at once?
Of course! Most parents are allowed to foster two at a time, but there are exceptions made as in the case of sibling groups.
Will the children need their own bedroom?
No. Same-sex children are allowed to share a room with another but are not allowed to share a bedroom with a foster parent. However, all children must have their own bed.
Will anyone supervise my time as a foster parent?
Yes, foster care coordinators and case managers meet with foster parents often to help you make sure you are doing well and meeting all of the state and company requirements.
Do I have to interact with the biological parents of the child I foster?
Maybe. The children’s level of contact with their biological families varies greatly from case to case.
In most cases, the aim of foster care is for the child to be reunited with their biological family. This may require that you have some level of interaction with the biological parents, but every situation is different. There are some cases in which there will be lots of contact with the biological family and some cases in which it is actually prohibited.
Am I responsible for paying for all of the child’s needs?
No. Each child in foster care has full medical care provided by a medical card.
Foster parents also receive a tax-free payment each month to reimburse you for your time and expenses.
Centerstone also gives its foster parents additional financial support each month to buy clothes for foster children. And we reimburse for mileage to therapy appointments and other foster child-related activities and appointments.
What if I change my mind about being a foster parent?
You are not obligated to stay active as a parent if you choose not to be one, and there is nothing wrong with changing your mind about being a foster parent. Simply let your Centerstone case manager know.