Foster care allows children to be temporarily placed in out-of-home care while their families work to resolve the problems that led to the children’s removal. In most cases, children remain in foster care until they are reunited with their birth families, or if that’s not possible, are transitioned to adoptive placement.
Qualifications and Requirements
Today’s foster families come in all shapes and sizes. If you are at least 21 years old, have space in your home for additional children and have a stable income, you meet the guidelines. You can be single, married, divorced or widowed. You can own or rent your home as long as your home meets basic safety requirements.
What children need foster homes the most?
Children of all ages and nationalities need foster homes. Children who currently need homes the most are:
- Brothers and sisters who need to stay together
- Children with special needs
- Children who have behavior and emotional problems
- Teenage mothers and their babies
- Latino Children
- African American Children
- Babies born addicted to an illegal substance
- Babies born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
Becoming a foster parent takes time, but you will find that the rewards of helping a child in need make it all worth while.
Step 1: Attend orientation classes.
The first step toward becoming a licensed foster parent is the completion of the required foster care/adoption pre-service preparation course. Sessions are held three times a year, in the winter, spring and fall. These classes are held at our agency on Tuesday evenings from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. This is an eleven week series that educates individuals about separation and loss issues that children in foster care face. The classes also teach about reunification, how to discipline foster children and how to work with the child welfare system. All classes must be attended by both parents in the home before you can proceed to the next step.
Step 2: Complete and Submit an Application
Once you have completed the required pre-service classes, you will need to fill out an application to become a foster or foster-to-adopt parent. The application requires that you provide us with three references who are not related to you. Each parent will be asked to write an autobiography and the family will be required to complete a financial form to ensure that additional members will not create a financial strain upon the family. Additionally, all family members will need to have physical examinations. This may seem like a lot, but keep in mind how much you would like to know about people who might be asked to care for your own children.
Every applicant or family member eighteen years of age and older living in the home will be required to submit to a background check for prior criminal history and/or child abuse history.
Step 3: The Family Assessment
A family assessment, also called a “home study”, is the process that helps us find stable families for children who are in need of a temporary family. Most of the information gathered comes from one-on-one interviews with a caseworker who will visit your home.
This part of the process to become a foster parent takes about 6 to 8 months. Here are some of the areas covered in the family assessment:
- Social history, background and values
- Problem solving and communication skills
- Parenting skills and family preparation
- Family system and family support network
- Financial stability
- Religious background
Once your assessment is approved, you will be eligible to have a foster child placed in your home.
Please remember, we are looking for families for children, not children for families.
Many children who need foster care have brothers and sisters. If you are unable to take more than one child, you may wait longer for a placement. Imagine how you might feel if your and your brother or sister had to be removed from your parents. That is scary enough… but much worse if you had to also be separated from each other because the foster parents couldn’t take both.
No matter what type of child you foster, there will be times when you won’t have a child placed in your home. We have little control over which children come into our care or when. But it is our aim to have a home available for every child who needs a place to live.
Once placed, the children will stay with you until their parents are able to work through the problems that disrupted the family or until the child is placed with an adoptive family. You will do everything for the foster child that you would do for your own children, including transportation to visits and making sure their basic needs are met.
Each month you will receive a reimbursement check to cover the cost of the child. At this time, our agency also helps with daycare costs, clothing and certain school costs. Medical and dental expenses are covered by Clinton County Children Services.
Support For Your Family
As a foster parent, you will need and get support. You will work with a foster care coordinator and a caseworker assigned to the foster child. You will also have the support of other foster parents. You will receive on-going training aimed at parenting abused/neglected children, how to work with the birth family and how to perpare a child for reunification.
Eager to get started?
Clinton County Children Need You!
Imagine what it would be like to be an abused or neglected child.
They wait for someone to open their hearts and home.
Clinton County Child Protection Unit needs loving homes for children of all ages.
Clinton County Children Services is in desperate need of foster homes.
Are you willing to open your heart to a child in need? Call Lisa Massie, Foster Care Coordinator at 937-382-5935, extension 1313.