What is a Foster Parent?
Foster parents are people who provide a caring temporary home environment for children unable to live with their birth families. Foster parents can be married or single; renters or homeowners; with or without children of their own; and can also work outside the home.
What Kind of Children Need Foster Care?
A foster child is one whose own parents are physically or emotionally unable to provide for the child's needs. The child may have been abused, neglected or abandoned and often has experienced physical, emotional or social deprivation. Children needing foster care come from all races and range in age from birth to 18.
How Do These Children Come Under the Agency's Care?
Juvenile Court places children under the custody of Children Services. In other cases the family may voluntarily seek help from the agency and ask that foster care be provided for their children until a family crisis is over. Schools, hospitals, churches, social agencies and others may refer children. The rules affecting children coming into foster care are established and monitored by state and federal governments.
How Long Does a Foster Child Stay in the Foster Home?
Placement of foster children can vary from a few months to a number of years. The law requires Children Services to ensure the child's safety and make reasonable efforts to reunite families. Caseworkers cannot always predict how long reunification will take.
What Type of Families Are Needed?
- Families for African-American children, particularly infants, toddlers and adolescents.
- Families willing to foster emotionally, mentally or physically handicapped children.
- Families willing to take adolescents, mother/baby groups and pregnant teens.
- Families willing to take children on an emergency basis or provide respite care.
- Families willing to foster children with special medical needs, including drug-affected infants.
- Families for sibling groups.
Foster parents participate in the decision about the types of children they prefer to foster.
Do I Need to Live in Montgomery County?
MCDJFS-CSD will complete a home study on any qualifying Montgomery County resident who is interested in becoming licensed to foster and/or adopt children. It is not required that people live in Montgomery County to foster and/or adopt from our agency; however, decisions on home assessments for out-of-county residents will be made on a case-by-case basis after review and approval by the Adoption and Foster Care Resources Manager.
How Do I Become a Foster Parent?
The state requires that all foster parents be licensed. You need to be over the age of 21, you can be married or single. The licensing process includes being interviewed by a social worker (assessment), a medical report, a criminal record check including fingerprinting, references and a brief check of the physical condition of your home.
Foster parent training is required of all applicants to expand their knowledge of the foster parenting role and to strengthen your ability to care for foster children.
What is a Home Assessment?
A home assessment consists of interviews with the potential foster parent or parents and any children living in the home. The assessment worker will want to become better acquainted with your family and give you the opportunity to learn more about Children Services.
Foster/Adoption Dual Approval
Families interested in both foster care and adoption may choose the option of a dual assessment process. Families assessed in this way will be qualified to accept both foster care and adoptive placements. If you want dual approval, notify the social worker assigned to conduct your assessment.
Is There Financial Assistance?
Families are not paid for caring for foster children; however, a monthly compensation check is provided by the agency for food, clothing and incidentals. The amount varies with the age and special needs of the child, as well as the level of care provided to the child and is considered reimbursement for necessary expenses. In addition, Children Services assumes the cost of needed medical and dental care. There is also some reimbursement available for child care and transportation expenses.
For More Information
Call Montgomery County Jobs & Family Services, Children Services Division at (937) 224-KIDS(5437) to talk to a Foster Care Specialist. That individual will be happy to answer any questions you have, send you additional information and/or invite you to the next meeting for prospective foster parents.