Foster care is time limited. Foster families make a commitment to nurture and provide parental care & supervision while working with Agency staff to assure a child's safety and well being for the duration of the child's involvment.
The changing role of foster care
On November 9, 1997 President Clinton signed the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997, which includes these key principles: All decisions made must be based on the child's safety, permanence, & well-being. Although foster care is a temporary setting, our Agency practices concurrent planning. Concurrent planning means working in two directions at the same time. A plan to reunify the child with their natural family is implemented at the same time that an alternate plan for permanent home is created. The foster family will be asked prior to the placement of a child if they are willing to consider being a potentially permanent family, should the parents be unable or unwilling to complete the reunification plan authorized by the Court. While adoption can be an outcome for some foster placements, should birth families complete the tasks in the reunification plan, the child will return home. In other cases relatives may come forward to care for the child. A foster child may be in placement for a period of 15 months out of the most recent 22 months. Once a child has met the 15-month time frame, unless there is a compelling reason, the Agency must petition for the termination of parental rights.
As a foster parent, you can expect reimbursement, dependent upon the child's age, for room and board, clothing and allowances. The child in your care will receive medical assistance. The birth parent, the Agency staff, and the Juvenile Court System jointly determine the length of time a child will remain in your home. The child's caseworker will discuss the anticipated length of stay prior to your foster child's placement and will assist you in planning for a successful placement experience.
- The satisfaction of motivating and preparing a child for the future.
- The satisfaction of sharing your blessings.
- The satisfaction of responding to the needs of children in your community.
- An enriched family life.
- Seeing a child thrive and grow in your care.
- The time that a child may spend in foster care is limited, but the effect that foster parents have is endless.
Foster parents come from all walks of life. They are of all races, nationalities and economic situations. To meet regulatory requirements, Foster Parents must be:
- 21 years of age
- In good physical and mental health
- Agreeable to the use of nonphysical means of discipline
- Willing to meet foster parenting requirements as set by the department of Human Services
- Willing to complete the home study process which includes favorable State and Federal Criminal and Child Abuse Clearances
- Willing to attend training
- Willing to manage the feelings and behavior of children who have had a difficult childhood
- Willing to facilitate visitation and work toward reunification with the family
- Willing to work cooperatively with Agency caseworkers and other service providers
- Willing to provide the care and safety essential to foster children
- Willing to consider being a potentially permanent family resource, should reunification not be possible