Click here to take the first step in becoming a foster parent.
What is Foster Care?
Children who have been abused and/or neglected who are unable to remain safely in their homes are placed in foster care. The primary goal of foster care is to provide intervention services and to reunite the children with their biological parents. When reunification is not possible and parental rights have been terminated, children are placed for adoption and linked with a waiting family who is willing to provide a lifelong commitment to the child. Children in foster care stay with trained foster parents who can provide a safe, nurturing and supportive home environment.
Children may be placed in foster care as a result of a finding of abuse or neglect. This can include issues of parental homelessness, lack of resources to safely provide for their children, substance abuse, mental health complications, and domestic violence.
Every effort is made to keep children with their biological families unless it is unsafe.
The goal of child welfare is to provide permanency, safety and well-being along with a sense of family, stability in the least restrictive setting possible.
Foster parents are needed to assist children in this temporary situation of foster care. Foster parents who are open to adoption may wish to become licensed with the goal of “foster-to-adopt”.
Becoming a foster parent is a big decision; however, it can be a rewarding decision as well! Child and Family Charities currently seeks individuals and families who are willing to foster minority children, children with disabilities, sibling groups and children over 10 years of age.
Steps to become a foster parent:
- Attend an Orientation
- Complete an application and licensing packet
- Attend training
- Participate in a home evaluation
Foster Parent benefits at Child and Family Charities:
- A licensed therapist on staff
- A 24-hour on-call service
- Monthly foster parent support group
- Monthly foster parent newsletters with updates on trainings and other support group options
- Inclusive placements
- Involvement in children’s case planning (Family Team Meetings)
- Financial assistance, health insurance and children’s daycare assistance
- Excellent and collaborative customer services across multiple departments
- Fun activities and events throughout the year for foster families and their children
- Referral incentives
Frequently Asked Questions: Foster NOW
Q: What is an Orientation?
A: An orientation is a 2 hour meeting at the agency where you can learn about the expectations of being a foster parent, learn more about what children are in need of placement and what you can expect in the licensing process.
Q: What is the Application and Licensing Packet?
A: Once you complete an orientation, you may sign a foster parent application (2 pages) and begin to provide us with information about your home, your family and the reasons why you have decided to become a foster parent.
Q: How long does the process take?
A: Once you sign an application, you are required to become licensed within 180 days (6 months).
Q: What is involved with Foster Parent training?
A: Prior to becoming licensed, applicants are required to attend 12 hours of specific training curriculum. Trainings are held in person in a group setting with other applicants from other agencies so that you may benefit from collaboration with others
Q: What is a Home Evaluation?
A: A licensing specialist will collect the licensing paperwork from you and conduct 2 to 3 face to face visits with you and your family in your home. The evaluation is a collection of information about your home, your family, your beliefs and goals as well as to ensure that your home is in compliance with the state licensing rules.
Q: How long will children be in my home?
A: Children who enter foster care may need a short term placement (1-2 weeks up to 12 months) or a longer term placement (12+ months or a permanent placement through adoption).
Q: Who will I work with?
A: A licensing specialist will assist you with getting started and will maintain at least annual contact with you for as long as you remain a foster parent. When a child is placed in your home, you will have a case manager who will interact with you on a more frequent basis.
What is Adoption?
When the court has determined that it is no longer safe for a child to be able to reunite with his or her biological family, the permanent plan for the child may change to adoption. Children who are available for adoption are in the custody of the State as their biological parent’s rights have been terminated. Children of all ages may become available for adoption for a variety of reasons; however, the biggest need remains for sibling groups and older youth.
The adoption program at Child and Family Charities focuses on youth who have been involved in the child welfare system where the court has terminated the parental rights of their biological parents. Families who are interested in adopting a child from foster care are not required to become licensed; however, they will undergo the same, in-depth study and complete background check as licensed families. The benefits of becoming licensed will likely give you the opportunity to have the child placed in your home prior to the adoption being finalized so that you can begin to build a bond with a child who is available for adoption right away.
Although adoption means making a lifelong commitment to a child, it is important to recognize that these children, all who have history of abuse and neglect, do have connections with their biological family despite the trauma they have encountered. An adoptive family must be willing to understand this history and embrace who the child is and where he or she comes from in order for an adoption to be successful. Child and Family Charities offers excellent case management services to assist you through this process but also offers post-adoption services for your years ahead. Click here for more information about Post Adoption Services (PASS).
Frequently Asked Questions: Adoption
Q: How long does the process take?
A: The adoption process varies from case to case depending on a variety of circumstances; however, you can expect the process to take anywhere from 6-12 months (or longer) after the child is legally free for adoption to finalize the process.
Q: What is the “Adoption process”?
A: Whether you become licensed or not, each family must undergo an extensive study which includes background checks, information gathering, medical evaluations, training, obtaining references, etc. Once your study is complete and you are matched with a child, you will begin down the path to finalizing the adoption. The process includes securing subsidy (if available), obtaining consent and filing the legal paperwork.
Q: What is subsidy?
A: Subsidy is a form of support that can be financial through monthly reimbursements or medical through additional insurance. Eligibility for financial or medical subsidy depends on the circumstances of each case. Subsidy supports are often available for the adoption of sibling groups and older youth.
Q: Is there a cost to adopt?
A: When adopting a child through the child welfare system, there are no fees for services such as completing the home study, filing legal forms with the court, etc. Any fees that are required for the process are often reimbursed through the State and/or this agency. Each case is unique so this may not be applicable in all cases.
Q: What is consent?
A: The process of obtaining consent is what the case manager does to obtain permission of the state (who holds the legal custody of the child) to request that the legal custody change to the adoptive parent. Consent must be obtained for the adoption to be approved as the agency can only make a recommendation and not a decision about any child who is a ward of the State.
Q: What is involved in the legal paperwork?
A: Once any subsidies are secured (if applicable) and the consent for adoption has been approved, the case manager will work with the court to file the legal paperwork to name the adoptive parents as the legal family for that child. The court will often set a hearing date within a few weeks of obtaining the legal paperwork so that the adoptive placement can be made formal.
Q: After the court hearing for the adoption, is the child officially adopted?
A: Not necessarily in all cases. The court and/or the family may request a supervision period by the agency for up to 6 additional months to ensure the child and the family have the necessary services and support in place to ensure a successful adoption. The supervision period is required if the child has not been living in your home for a minimum of 6 months prior to the legal paperwork being signed.