What To Expect When You’re Fostering–If you’ve been thinking about becoming a foster parent, there’s a lot more going into it than you think! Don’t fret; Newsymom and our friends at COAD4Kids-New Philadelphia are laying out all the deets on what to expect so you can be supported during the process of foster-parenthood. Read more right here on Newsymom!
There are lots of misconceptions when it comes to becoming a foster parent. (See also: Requirements for Becoming a Foster Parent) To help better prepare you as you begin this journey into Foster Parenthood, our friends at COAD4Kids-New Philadelphia are giving us the inside scoop on what to expect as you take your first steps into becoming a foster parent!
The Road to Becoming a Foster Parent
Becoming a foster parent isn’t as simple as the process for bringing home a baby you had at the hospital. (Isn’t that crazy?!) When you choose to be a foster parent, you sign up to care for children who are placed in care for a reason. Most of them have been through (or are currently undergoing) traumatic experiences.
Due to these experiences, there’s extra baggage to care for with additional appointments, support, and therapy. Agencies will require extra hoops for potential foster parents to jump through to ensure all children are matched with caregivers who can maintain consistency and support them during this time of uncertainty.
How Do I Start the Process to Become a Foster Parent?
Each county may have different requirements, but here’s the main flow of the process to become a foster parent:
Inquire through JFS
Inquire through your local JFS about your interest in becoming a foster parent. You’ll be provided with a packet of information, requirements, and the application to look over and help solidify your decision on becoming a foster parent.
Apply through JFS
If you’re ready to dive in, you’ll submit your application to JFS, along with any additional requirements your JFS has.
Home Study Is Completed Within 180 Days
JFS will conduct a home study to be completed within 180 days. The home study is a chance for JFS to see if you’ll be a good match as a foster parent, and also get information on you and your lifestyle to best pair you up with a child or children in the future. Home studies normally consist of:
- Face-to-face interviews
- Criminal records check/sex offender search
- Physicals for all household members
- Vaccinations (flu, pertussis, etc.)
- Income requirement verification
- Completing pre-placement training
- Contacting references
- Well water test (if you have well water)
- Fire inspection
- Safety audit
- Child characteristic checklist
Once all of this is complete, JFS will make the recommendation to the state. (Note: You will need to recertify as a foster parent every two years!)
No One Said The Road Is Easy…
Warning: This is NOT a quick process! It takes time to ensure foster children are in the best care, with the ability to support them during this difficult transition.
Foster children are having their slates wiped clean: starting a new school, in a new home, with new caregivers, and being split from siblings. Their entire world is being rocked. They need foster parents who can do everything they can to help support and understand them, consistently.
As a foster parent, you can expect to take them to extra appointments: doctor’s appointments, therapy or counseling visits, visitations with family members, and attendance to school functions to name a few. Each child carries different trauma, so expect the situations to vary with each child.
But, It Is WORTH It
COAD4Kids-New Philadelphia wants you to know that you CAN be a great foster parent. There are tons of support groups with other foster parents to help you help your foster children. Your county also may provide additional resources to support you in giving the best care to your children!
There are many reasons to become a foster parent, but the most important one is to share love and support with a child in need! To learn more about becoming a foster parent, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, call (330) 364-8882, or follow COAD4Kids-New Philadelphia on Facebook.