1. What is foster care?
Foster care is the temporary placement of children outside of their own homes. It occurs because of abuse, neglect, or other family problems. When possible, the Department of Children and Family Services and other agencies work with families to reunite them. When that's not possible, measures are taken to identify adoption resources -- or prepared for independent life.
2. What is Respite?
Respite care is the short-term care of a very dependent or difficult child which enables the parents - birth, foster or adoptive - to take a break. Some children's needs require round-the-clock intensive care and parents can soon become burned out. Respite fostering is often very rewarding, and a close relationship can grow up between families over the years. Some Respite families have adopted their foster children.
3. Who can become a Foster Parent?
Our most successful foster parents are open-minded, dependable, patient and willing to learn new parenting styles for children with different needs. Having a flexible schedule, being tolerant of change are all important qualities for success.
You can apply to become a foster parent if you:
- Are at least 21 years old. There is no upper age limit
- Are married or single. Must be married for at least one year.
- Have sufficient income to meet your own family’s needs
- Pass a criminal background check
- Are a U.S. Citizen
4. Do I need to own my own home?
No, however, each child in foster care must have his or her own bed.
5. Can I still work?
Yes, as long as you provide adequate child care arrangements that meet state regulations while you are at work.
6. Is there financial assistance available?
Foster parents receive a monthly care allowance to feed, clothe and meet the material needs of the children placed in their care. Extra compensation is available for special needs children. Per diem rates vary according to the needs of the child and/or the agency that holds the license.
7. Does a foster family get to decide if a child is a good match?
Once the Intake Department has identified a match for the referral, the foster family will have an opportunity to confidentially review information about the referred individual. If the family is interested in pursuing the placement, then a face to face meeting for the family and the foster care referral is set up. If all goes well and all parties involved feel that the match has the potential for success, the placement is made.
8. Does the child have medical insurance?
Each foster child gets a medical card from the state that guarantees payment for all necessary medical care and preventive medicine. You will be given a number to call to get help in selecting a physician for a child placed with you. The medical card is also accepted by many hospitals and for approved prescriptions. You should not pay any medical bill directly.
9. How many foster children can we take?
That depends on factors such as your ability, your enthusiasm, how many children you have of your own, and how much room you have in your home. The maximum number, including your own children, is set out by state foster care agency’s licensing standards.
10. Do all foster children have problems?
Children who come into the foster care system have been traumatized; unfortunately this could manifest itself through negative behaviors. By looking past the behavior and into the root cause, foster parents can work effectively with children who have experienced trauma.
11. What kind of support/help will I receive?
The Bair Foundation has an impeccable reputation for the support we provide our foster children and families. We maintain frequent, consistent contact, and we’re available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days per year to support and guide you.
12. What kinds of children need foster homes the most?
Although licensed to take children from birth to 18, The Bair Foundation focuses its recruitment efforts on families who are willing to take hard-to-place teens and large sibling groups. We believe that every child regardless of age deserves a loving family and stable environment. Keeping siblings together reduces separation issues and contributes to the success of the placement.
13. What are the training requirements?
The number of required pre-service hours varies from state to state. In addition to the trainings, an in-depth home study must be completed, along with interviews,references, CPR/First Aid and a criminal background check.
14. How long does it take to get a foster child?
Because the need for foster homes is so great, placement may happen soon after the family is certified if a match can be made. The Bair Foundation is mindful of the limited experience when making the first few placements and provides additional support.
15. Can we take our foster child on vacation with us?
In most cases, yes. But if it involves out-of-state travel, you must call your child's caseworker in advance for approval.
16. Can foster children go to church with us?
Yes. Usually, you will get children whose religious background is similar to your own. But if a foster child is of a different faith, he or she must be allowed to attend worship in that faith.
17. Do a child’s birth parents visit him or her?
The Bair Foundation works to maintain contact between a child and his biological family. In most cases, visits between parents and children are an essential part of the efforts to reunite families. The child's caseworker has the primary responsibility for planning visits and arranging supervision, if required. The caseworker will talk with you and the child's parents to work out the time and location of the visits.
18. Can we adopt our foster child?
The first goal is to return foster children to their biological families when that is possible. However, if a foster child who has been in your home for some time becomes available for adoption, you can discuss your interest in adopting him or her with the caseworker. At that time, you would have to meet all of the regular requirements for becoming an adoptive parent. Many foster parents begin fostering with the intent on adopting a child.
19. Won’t it be hard on us when the foster child returns home or is adopted?
Yes. That is, in fact, the hardest part of being a foster parent. You will certainly feel sad for a time. It's only natural -- just as it's natural for your foster daughter or son to want a family of his or her own. But there will always be new foster children who will need your care and affection. There is happiness in knowing that a child or teen was able to reunite with their family, and as foster parents you helped to make that happen. Many children have a deep desire to reunite with their biological families.
20. How long does a child stay in a foster home?
This varies depending on the needs of the child and the circumstances of his or her placement. Some children are returned home after only a few months; others after a year or so. Sometimes, children who can’t go home become eligible for adoption; others remain in foster care until age 18.