What are the benefits of becoming a foster parent? TOP
There is no greater reward than helping a child thrive and grow into a well-adjusted socially responsible, self-sufficient, stable adult. By doing so, you will have the joy of knowing that you changed that child's life forever.
What types of people are foster parents? TOP
Foster parents are amazing, hard working, caring individuals from all socioeconomic, religious, ethnic and racial backgrounds.
Can foster parents work outside of the home? TOP
Most foster parents do work outside of the home since one of the requirements of becoming a foster parent is financial stability. Daycare or aftercare is provided for all foster children up to age 9 at a subsidized rate. This means that the cost is nothing or is minimal and is covered by the monthly board rate that the foster parent receives for the care of the child. A child under the age of six weeks requires a stay-at-home foster parent since he/she is not old enough for daycare.
Do foster children see their biological parents during the time they are in foster care? TOP
Most children in foster care visit their biological parents on a regular basis, usually once a week, as part of the court-ordered plan to reunite the family.
What kinds of problems do the children generally have? TOP
Children who have been removed from their homes due to abuse, abandonment or neglect have been traumatized. You will learn how to work with the behaviours they exhibit due to this trauma in your pre-service class.
What types of children are waiting to be placed in foster care? TOP
Children of all ages, origins, ethnicity and backgrounds are in foster care. However, they share one common thread. All of these children need a loving family and a place to call home. All of the children in foster care were removed from their parents' care due to abuse, abandonment or neglect of the child by the parents. The children are put in foster care through no fault of their own. We are especially in need of foster parents who can:
What are the requirements to become a foster parent? TOP
- stay at home to care newborns under 6 weeks old;
- take sibling groups, especially of mixed gender;
- care for children with behavioral or mental health issues;
- care for children with medical needs;
- care for teenagers and provide independent living training.
Foster parents must be at least 21 years old, have sufficient income to support the household, have a clear background check and be in good physical and mental health. A foster parent can be single or married. Being a foster parent can be demanding. You must be physically and emotionally healthy to care for foster children. Those individuals who have recently suffered a traumatic experience - divorce, death of a loved one, significant career change, etc. - will be encouraged to wait to begin the process to become a foster parent.
Foster parents are part of a team to provide stable, loving care for children in foster care and to determine what is in the child's best interest. Foster parents must be willing to work with other parties involved in the child's case and participate in court proceedings by attending hearings, when possible, and providing statements to the court.
Foster parents must be willing to support foster children's contact with their biological parents and cooperate with the agency's efforts to reunite them with their families or prepare them for permanent homes through adoption.
Do foster parents have a choice on the child that they take into their home? TOP
Children are placed in foster homes by matching their needs with the foster parent(s)' or family's situation and strengths. A foster parent will never be asked to accept a foster child that he/she is not prepared to help. The foster parent selects the level of need (traditional, enhanced or therapeutic) and age group of the children that he/she would like to foster.
How many rooms do I need to have in my home to become a Foster Parent? TOP
It's important for the child to feel that they have a space to call their own. Each child must have their own bed and must be in a separate room from the foster parent. Foster children may share a bedroom with another child of the same gender, but no child may share a bedroom with anyone over the age of 18.
How much money to I need to make to become a foster parent? TOP
Foster parents must be financially stable. Foster parents are given a monthly board rate based on the age of the child and the level of care provided. The board rate payment is not meant to be a source of income. You must have enough income to meet your own family's needs and you will be asked to provide proof of income.
How long do foster children stay in foster care? TOP
Foster care is a temporary arrangement for children while their parents are rectifying the situation that brought the child into care. The amount of time a child spends in foster care varies by each case. The law requires, in most circumstances, that every effort be made to reunite children with their parents as soon as it is safe for the child. If the child cannot be reunited safely within a certain period of time (12-15 months), the law requires that another permanent home be found for the child.
Is it true foster parents cannot use corporal punishment (spanking) to discipline the foster child? TOP
Yes. Foster parents are prohibited by law from using any form of physical punishment. Positive discipline, combined with understanding and love, should be used to educate the child to conform to the standards of your family and our society. Positive discipline will be covered at length in pre-service class.
Can we take the foster child with us on vacation? TOP
Yes. However, you must have prior arrangements approved by the Child Advocate and approval by the court for out of state travel.
Can we leave the foster child with a baby-sitter? TOP
Yes. You will learn more about requirements for baby-sitters in your preservice training class.
What is a home study? TOP
A home study is a collaborative effort with the family and the foster care management agency to determine if foster care will fit their family lifestyle. In the home study, the foster care licensing specialist will assess the potential foster home/family and complete a written summary on their strengths, skills, behaviors, attitudes, stamina and any other qualifications that will help the family deal with the challenges of foster parenting. The foster parents select the level of need and age group of the children they would like to foster.
What type of support is available for foster parents? TOP
There are many different types of support available for foster parents:
Each foster child has an assigned Child Advocate (caseworker) that visits the child at least once a month and assists the foster parent with obtaining services for the child and ensuring that the foster parent is able to meet the foster child's needs. Once a foster child is placed in a foster home, the foster parent will receive a monthly board payment that is meant to cover most of the cost of caring for the foster child. Foster parents also receive support from their licensing agency.
**The board payment is NOT meant to be a source of income and you WILL incur some expenses on your own.
Every child in foster care has Medicaid to cover all medical expenses.
Twelve days of paid respite care is also available through the foster home management agency. Respite care is when a foster child stays with another foster family for one or more nights, usually when foster parents must go out of town and cannot bring the child with them.
The foster parents also have a foster home support specialist through the foster home licensing agency. The specialist is available to assist with any issues that arise and visits the foster family quarterly for traditional foster care and monthly for therapeutic and enhanced foster care.
The Child Advocate will assist with arranging childcare at little or no cost to the foster parent.
The foster child will receive mental health counseling, behavior modification services and physical, speech and occupational therapies, as necessary.
Many children in foster care are also assigned a Guardian Ad Litem or an Attorney Ad Litem to advocate for their best interest in court.
There is an organization called Foster and Adoptive Parent Association (FAPA) that provides support to fellow foster and adoptive parents. In Broward, FAPA meets at 7 pm on the fourth Tuesday of each month at Plantation Community Church, 6501 W. Broward Blvd., Plantation. In Palm Beach, contact FAPA at 561.352.2540 for more information on support services.
Click HERE for the Foster Parent Resource Guide page.
What are other options to help foster children without being a full-time foster parent? TOP There are many ways to help foster children. One way is to volunteer to mentor or tutor, provide administrative assistance or assist with various events at one of the many foster care agencies working directly with the children. Click HERE to view specific volunteer opportunities.
Another way to help foster children is to donate goods and services to the foster children. Contact ChildNet in Broward at 954-414-6000 and Palm Beach County at 561.352.2500 for learn more about donating.
A good way to learn about fostering, gauge your readiness to become a full-time foster parent and still help a foster child is to become a respite foster parent. Respite care occurs when a foster child stays with another family for one or more nights, usually when foster parents must go out of town and cannot bring the child with them. Respite foster parents receive the same training and license as full-time foster parents.
Can foster parents adopt their foster children? TOP
Yes. If the biological parents of the foster children do not complete their Case Plans in a timely manner, the court may terminate their parental rights and the child will be free for adoption. The foster parents are usually the first choice for adoption of a child that has been in their care. The biological parents will not be able to regain custody of the child(ren) once their rights have been terminated and they have exhausted their appeals in the Dependency Court system.