Q. What qualities should I possess to become a foster parent?
A. Generally, our most successful foster parents are open-minded, dependable, patient and willing to learn new parenting styles for children with different needs. Having a flexible schedule, being tolerant of change and demonstrating the ability to follow our guidelines are all important qualities for success.
Q. Do I need any special training or a special foster parenting license?
A. Yes, you will be required to be licensed, and in some cases require special training. In either case, we’ll provide assistance, including: orientation to the program, ongoing training, regular in-person support, twenty-four hour on-call support availability and other tools to help you learn and develop your skills along the way.
Q. Do I need to own a home to foster a child?
A. No, as long as you meet the space requirements for the child.
Q. How old do I have to be to become a foster parent?
A. Foster parents need to be at least 21 or older.
Q. I am gay or lesbian. Can I become a foster parent?
A. Yes. We welcome people of all sexual orientations to become foster parents, as long as you meet all the necessary requirements.
Q. I have a criminal record. Can I become a foster parent?
A. Depending on the nature of the crime, you may be disqualified from being able to foster a child. Please contact us to discuss specific details.
Q. How long will a child stay in my home?
A. This varies depending on the needs of the child and the circumstances of his or her placement. Some children are returned home after only a few months; others after a year or more. Sometimes, children who can’t go home become eligible for adoption; others remain in foster care until age 21.
Q. Where will my foster child come from?
A. Children are placed through child protective agencies across your state. They may enter your home directly from their family of origin’s home, another foster home or from a more restrictive setting such as a residential facility.
Q. What kinds of kids will you place in my home?
A. When it comes to foster children, one size does not fit all. There’s no typical foster child - some kids are stepping down from residential treatment; some have developmental delays; some have suffered unspeakable abuse; some have never been required to follow the rules of society; some have built walls around themselves to keep out the hurt; and some have lost their beloved homes and families. We’ll train you extensively on how to handle the specific needs of your foster child.
Q. Do you offer financial compensation?
A. Yes, financial compensation is provided to cover room and board costs of foster children. This money is provided to cover such expenses as food, clothing, shelter, transportation, recreation and allowance, and should not be considered income. You will not be responsible for your foster child’s medical costs. You will also receive free certification and local training.
Q. How will my own children be affected by my foster children?
A. All children are influenced by the behaviors and attitudes of other people, whether these individuals are friends at school, neighbors, or foster children. If your children understand your expectations and have a sense of appropriate behavior and values, it is unlikely that they will be adversely influenced.
Q. Do foster children need their own bedrooms?
A. No. Children of the same sex are permitted to share bedrooms depending on the scenario provided that the foster child has space for personal belongings and opportunities for privacy. Children are not allowed to share the same bed.
Q. What kind of help and support will I get?
A. Our foster care agencies have an impeccable reputation for the support they provide to foster children and families. We maintain frequent, consistent contact, and we’re available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days per year to support and guide you.
Q. Do children ever become available for adoption?
A. Yes. Sometimes, for various reasons, children are unable to return home and may have a court-ordered goal of adoption. Foster families are always given adoption consideration when a child in their home needs a permanent family.
Q. I am single. Am I able to become a foster parent on my own?
A. Yes. People who are single are more than welcomed to foster a child. In fact, there are many resources and support systems available that give aid and guidance to any foster parent in need of assistance.
Q. Is there a limit on how many children I can foster at one time?
A. Not necessarily. As long as you can meet the licensing requirements for each child.
Q. I’ve heard that teenagers in foster care can be more problematic or troublesome. Is it more difficult to foster a teenager than a young child?
A. There are misconceptions that teens in foster care are already set in their ways and that their ability to learn, adapt and grow is too limited. But, the truth is something far different. Teenagers need love and guidance just as much as young children do. All that’s missing is the chance to live in a stable, supportive home under the guidance of a caring, responsible adult.