Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Foster Care Q&A: The Basics

Disclaimer: Each state has their own Foster Care rules and regulations.  I will try and answer questions as basic and broad as possible, but will be speaking from our experience as foster parents in Alabama.  I encourage you to research your state Department of Human Resources or independent Foster Care Agencies to learn more. 

Let's start with some of the basics! 

1. Who can become Foster Parents? 
  • Adults (In Alabama, it's 19 years old and up)
  • Married Couples
  • Singles

2.  What is required to become a Foster Parent? 
  • Background Checks
  • Child Abuse and Neglect Forms 
  • Home Study and Home Visit by the Social Worker
  • Classes (In AL you are required to complete a 10-week, 30 hour class)
  • Your home meets the state standards for eligibility to foster

3.  What are the types of Foster Parents? 
  • Respite Parents - Provide short-term care for foster children.  Respite trained foster parents can take emergency placements for a few days, weekend, or a week.  When full-time foster parents need a break, have an emergency, or need to leave the state and are unable to take the foster children, Respite Parents provide care for their foster children.  
  • Full-time Foster Parents - Licensed to provide care for foster children in their home.  The number of children allowed in the home is dependent on the size of the home and number of bedrooms. 

4. Why are children placed in Foster Care? 
  • Neglect - When Social Services investigates a family for neglect allegations and the children are not in imminent danger, then they will often try to put services in place to allow the biological family to continue raising the children.  If those services are not successful and there is no immediate or extended family available to care for them, then the children are removed from the home and put into foster care.
  • Abuse - Physical and sexual.  Allegations of abuse that have been confirmed result in the child being removed from the home. 
  • Drug or Alcohol Abuse - If the child is born to a mother addicted to drugs and tests positive for the drug, they are taken immediately from the mother and put into foster care. 
  • If a biological parent has all of their children currently in foster care and they become pregnant again, the child will immediately be placed into foster care upon their birth. (In the state of Alabama). 

Foster Care Q&A Part 2 coming soon! 

If you are a foster parent in another state and want to add or clarify anything, please email me at leslieharris77 (at) gmail (dot) com.  Would love to have your input. 

Have more questions after reading this?  Leave them in the comments below or send me an email! 

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