Foster Care Questions

What is a foster family?
A foster family is a temporary, loving, and supportive home in which a child’s emotional, physical and spiritual needs can be met until they are reunited with their biological family or placed into an adoptive home.Types of foster parenting arrangements can include emergency care, specialized care (medical, behavioral, or career) or traditional foster care. As the foster parent, you will be part of a team working to help the child return home. Throughout the placement, you will be working with social workers, other foster families and other community professionals in meeting the needs of the child and their family.

How long will a foster child be in my home?
There is no set length for a foster placement. It depends on the circumstances of the child and his/her birth family. When a child is placed in your home, there may be an estimated length of time the child is expected to stay.

Do I have a say as to which child is placed in my home?
Yes. Foster parents specify the race, age, gender, and number of children they wish to care for. You have the option to decline a placement.

Where will the child go to school or day care?
Children attend the local school in your community. If the child is not school age, working foster and adoptive parents may choose a daycare home or facility for the child as long as it’s state licensed and contracted. The state may also reimburse for before and after school care until the child is 13.

When are children placed in our home? What is the process of getting the children?
Once your home study is completed and all of your required paperwork is collected, your information will be sent to Jefferson City so they can provide your agency and YOU an official license. Once you are, licensed you then are put on the list of families that can provide care to kids. Your licensing worker will contact you when they feel that they have children that will be a good fit with your family.

How long do I have to decide if that placement will work for me?
Not long, most times you have a total of 30 minutes to decide. The workers calling to get placements have to the end of the day to get a placement made. Often there is not much information to go on, only faith.

How long will a foster child be in our home?
The length of time a foster child is with you differs for every situation. When a child first comes into foster care, the social worker will ask the birth parent if there are any relatives that are interested in caring for this child. If so, a relative could get that child within a month or less after they come into foster care. If there are not any stable relatives, the child will remain in your home until the court decides that the child either can go home or be placed up for adoption. This generally takes 1-2 years. If a birth parent is very proactive to get their court recommendations completed, the child could go back home within a few months. Again—each case is very different!

How will taking in foster children affect our birth children?
If you approach fostering with the perspective that this is a ministry for our family and you include your children in the process, you will be amazed how wonderful the impact can be on your bio kids. Of course there will be sibling issues with sharing toys, mom and dad's time etc… but that would happen if you had another bio kid too. Talk to your kids while you are going through the licensing process to prepare them for the changes that may occur. We will talk more about this in the STARS training.

I am not ready to become a foster parent? Is there something I can do to “try it out”?
Yes. You can provide respite for current foster families. Respite care is short-term care that allows the foster families to have a break, go on vacation or attend to a family situation. To become a licensed respite provider You must be 21 years old, pass a CAN report (Child Abuse & Neglect) and a background screening. You must also have a home assessment (walk-through) completed.