WHAT ARE THE QUALIFICATIONS FOR BECOMING A FOSTER PARENT?
- Applicants must be at least 21 years old.
- Foster/Adoptive parents can be married or single.
- Foster/Adoptive families should be financially stable and have an income sufficient to meet the family’s needs.
- Applicants must be able to provide a safe, secure and healthy home for a child.
- Foster/Adoptive parents must be in good physical and mental health.
- All adults in the home must complete criminal background checks including FBI, sex offender registry and a check of the child abuse registry.
- All applicants must complete training to help them understand the needs of children in foster care.
CAN I GET FINANCIAL HELP FROM THE STATE TO CARE FOR A FOSTER CHILD?
To meet the needs of children placed in their home, foster parents receive:
- Financial assistance in the form of a daily rate;
- Medical coverage for the children;
- Daycare assistance for working parents; and
- Other assistance provided to meet the specialized needs of children on a case by case basis.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF FOSTER HOMES?
- Basic foster homes
- Medically Complex Homes – for children with medical challenges
- Specialized Medically Complex Homes – for children with medical and emotional challenges
- Degreed Medically Complex Homes – for children with medical challenges in which the primary caretaker is a health care professional.
- Care Plus Foster Home – for children who have emotional or behavioral challenges.
WHAT KIND OF TRAINING DO I NEED TO BECOME A CERTIFIED FOSTER PARENT?
The Department for Community Based Services provides training that meets the needs of foster parents. The Pre-Service training is 15 hours classroom and 15 hours on-line. Foster parents are required to receive a minimum of six hours of ongoing training each year.
DO I HAVE A CHOICE REGARDING THE CHILDREN WHO ARE PLACED IN MY HOME?
Yes. We want to ensure that the needs of the children placed in the home are compatible with the strengths of the foster parents.
MAY I TAKE A FOSTER CHILD INTO MY HOME AND ADOPT HIM OR HER?
Maybe. Foster care is temporary care with the goal of reuniting the child with his birth family. Three out of four foster children do go home and foster parents are required to help the child successfully reunite with his birth parents. In the event that the child’s return home plan changes to adoption, the foster family may apply to adopt. Many adoptions in Kentucky are foster parent adoptions. In selecting adoptive families, the best interest of the child is always of the utmost importance. Therefore, many factors have to be considered. For example, does the child need to be adopted with his siblings who may be in other foster homes?
Many families choose to be approved for both adoption and foster care. Families are advised not to foster just so they can get a younger child. Remember, three out of four return to their birth families. However, with additional training families may become concurrent planning foster homes. This program uses risk assessments to try and predict which child is the one in four who will not return to the birth family. These foster parents are required to work with the birth parents to return the child, but if that does not occur within twelve months of entry into foster care, then the termination of parental rights are pursued and the foster family adopts the child. The program is designed to prevent harm to vulnerable young children by shifting the emotional risk to the adults. Not all families can accept the uncertainty of not knowing if they get to keep the child. Your R&C worker can help you in deciding whether to explore this option.
IS THE CHILD’S BACKGROUND AVAILABLE TO ADOPTIVE PARENTS?
All known relevant information about the child’s educational, medical or developmental history is provided to the foster parent.
ONCE I BECOME A FOSTER PARENT ARE THERE OTHER FOSTER PARENTS I CAN GO TO FOR ADVICE?
Kentucky offers foster parent peer support through programs such as: