Foster parenting is a selfless and rewarding undertaking that gives you an opportunity to do something worthy for the society. Opening your heart and your home to a needy child can be a life-transforming experience. Now that you have decided to support and take care of a child, it is important to understand the procedure to become a foster parent.
Let us discuss the steps you must follow to becoming a foster parent:
Search the number of foster agencies in your state. Select one from them and talk to them. You can also ask other foster parents opinions about their agencies. Try to communicate through online foster parenting forums and seek advice from the experienced foster parents too. This could help you weigh your options better.
2. Attend An Orientation
Once you have selected the foster agency, the next thing is to attend the orientation class or the pre-service parent training classes. This class must be taken before going any further with the fostering procedure. In the orientation class, you will be given an idea regarding the challenges and difficulties these foster kids have gone through. It holds to be a perfect platform for you to get your questions cleared.
3. Fill Out The Application
After the orientation, you will be given a set of applications. You will have to fill in your details such as income verification and letters of recommendation, age verification documents, permission to complete a background check, etc. After filling the application, it needs to be submitted to the local office of children services.
A caseworker will meet you next, who will help you finish the rest of the paperwork. The caseworker will conduct a background check at the local, state and federal level by using your thumbprint. If you want to know more, you can learn more from this post about the qualifications required to become a foster carer.
4. Be Ready For A Home Visit
Once you clear the background check, your licensor will fix an appointment with you for the home visit. During house inspection, they will check if it follows the basic safety standards. Safety measures like smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, fire extinguishers have to be in perfect working order so basic safety is never compromised. Make sure these basic safety standards are met before the home visit to get the final approval from the licensor.
5. Attend the training
After getting approval in the home visit, next you will be asked to attend a training that informs you about foster parenting. There are 4-hours core training courses which are mandatory and must be taken within 12 months of the approval. These need to be repeated after every 3 years.
Some of them include child protection and safeguarding, first aid, dealing with child behaviors, pediatric emergency first aid, etc. There are other courses also available to enhance your experience such as medication administration, understanding self-harm, child development, promoting educational achievements, etc.
Attending this training that is outlined with such courses that empower the foster carers to support children and young people with their specific needs will help you be more confident.
6. Receive The Foster Care License
After successfully completing the above steps you will receive your community carer license. This means you can start fostering children and bring them to your house. The community carer license is given just for a year, after which it has to be renewed. As a part of the license requirement, you will be required to attend their ongoing training every year.
7. Prepare Yourself And Your Home For The New Foster Child
After receiving your license it is important to set your house in a way that appears to be welcoming for your foster child. Clothes, toiletries, games, toys, books, etc. are some of the essentials required during the first few hours of the placement. You must also understand that foster parenting is temporary and its primary goal is to reunite the child with his/her parents. Until then, your job is to maintain a safe and secure home for your foster child.
8. Placement Of A Child
The next main step is to place a child in your home. Prior to the placement of your foster child, you will be briefed about the child, his/her clothing needs, specific care and other detailed information about the child and his/her birth family. The foster agency will then match your family with foster children and identify the child that suits your family.
If you love children, being a foster carer is the best thing you can do.