Foster Care Information
Foster care is a program, run by your state, which allows stand-in parents, referred to as foster parents, to care for minor children who have been removed from their biological home. There are a number of reasons why children might be removed from their biological home, including abuse and neglect. Often, parents who have had their children removed from their home are given a plan to follow, which will result in their regaining custody of their children, upon successful completion. The main goal of foster care is reunification, although it isn't uncommon for children placed in foster care to become available for adoption. There are a number of steps that potential foster parents must take in order to become licensed foster parents. Each state completes their process a little differently, but generally, each state will have similar requirements.
Some requirements to become a foster parent may be:
- Background check and finger printing
- Comprehensive homestudy to ensure child safety
- Classroom hours First aid certification
- Medical clearances for all adults and children currently in the home
- Statement proclaiming that corporal punishment will not be used
- Statement advising your role as a mandated reporter
Once you've completed the requirements for your state, you may or may not get a paper copy of your license, either in the mail or hand delivered. Either way, someone from your agency or local Child Welfare Office will contact you to advise you that your home as been approved.
Licensed foster parents are usually reimbursed expenses accrued throughout the month by way of monthly stipend, mailed from the state or agency you're working with. It is not uncommon for parents to spend well beyond the monthly allotment in order to care for the children in their care, so ensuring your ability to care for children is a very important step when deciding to become licensed.
Depending on the age range you've chosen, you could start getting calls even before your license has arrived. The need for qualified foster and foster adoptive homes in the U.S. is great and taking the steps to become a licensed foster parent is a great way to help children in your state who need a safe place to call home.