Foster Care FAQs
I get so many questions about foster care and what it’s like to be a foster parent! I know it’s awkward to ask some of these questions when you don’t know someone well and I had all of the same questions when we were considering foster care. If you have others please email or message us because I’m so happy to answer them!
How long does it take to become a foster parent?
This varies between agencies. Typically, training is either done in self study with regular social worker meetings or it’s completed in a class format. Personally, we chose the self-study method because it worked well for our schedules. We were able to complete the training in about 2 months as well as ALL the paperwork, home study, fire inspection, and health screening. It’s a lot, but it’s worth it!
Do foster parents get financial support?
Each state offers a stipend for families who foster children. It’s not a lot, but it does offset the costs of adding extra children into your home. Most agencies also offer vouchers for childcare and do their best to help with extra necessities. The county we are licensed through offers a clothing closet hosted by a church that offers lots of necessities.
My Target cart when I had 1.5 hours to go pick up our foster boys
How are children placed in your home?
With very little notice! Most often foster parents have just a couple of hours to prepare to welcome children into their homes. Often times the children come with nothing but the clothes they are wearing. Even if they are able to get some personal belongings, it’s usually not much. One of the best ways to help a foster family is to find out what necessities they need when they accept a new placement.
Do foster parents talk to bio parents?
This depends. Most often parents are encouraged to maintain a cordial relationship with birth parents, but some have very little contact. Personally, I feel it’s important to encourage the bio parents as much as possible. When bio parents are allowed court ordered supervised visits with their children, foster parents don’t usually attend. In our agency, a social worker transports the children to and from visits and also supervises the visit.
Can you ever leave the children with babysitters or other family?
In North Carolina there are several options. A few years ago a prudent parenting law was passed that allows foster parents to leave children under the supervision of friends or family for up to 72 hours. So YES, you can help babysit foster children! Beyond 72 hours a background check is generally required. Other foster parents can also offer what’s called respite care which allows them to care for foster children for up to two weeks at a time. Foster parents are also encouraged to take foster children with the family on vacations and trips. All that’s generally required is a travel letter as long as the travel is approved and within the United States.
The big one…. Are you fostering them to adopt?
My answer is always “I don’t know”. Foster care is a long and drawn out process. Most agree that children are best off with their biological parents assuming they can care for them, so the court system is set up to give parents ample time to address the issues involved. Different states and counties vary widely, but most cases take multiple years before adoption is finalized. There are thousands of children throughout the US that are immediately available for adoption meaning that their parents rights have already been terminated. If your family has ever considered adoption, these children desperately need homes.
Do all children in foster care have major “issues”?
The answer is NO! Yes these children have all experienced trauma in their young lives, but I’m blown away at the resilience of many of these children, including the boys we are currently fostering. Many children in foster care have never experienced a stable family or unconditional love and do so very well when they do have that opportunity.