Foster care is the temporary placement of a youth who has been removed, through no fault of his/her own, from their home and family due to concerns for safety and may have been abandoned, abused and/or neglected.
A foster home is a temporary home for youth who have been abused, neglected, abandoned, and/or have special needs. These youth have been removed from their homes/families due to safety concerns.
Aside from providing a loving, safe and nurturing environment, there are other needs for youth placed in your home. These include but are not limited to:
What do I need to do to be a foster parent? What is the process to being a foster parent? How can I prepare for foster care? Is there anything different to adopt? To become a foster parent, you will need to plan on attending 5 training sessions to start. These sessions can be done virtually or in one of ESP’s office locations. Throughout the course of training, you will be provided with various paperwork that will also need to be completed. A home study will be completed once you have completed the training and provided the necessary paperwork.
In preparation for foster care, ensure that you, your spouse and family are ready to take on this role. It can be an exciting process as well as an overwhelming process. ESP is dedicated to working with you, your spouse, and your family through the process.
The process is the same in regards to foster-to-adopt.
While there is no required salary requirement, foster families must be able to maintain their family’s needs without relying on the reimbursement.
Unfortunately, there is always a need for foster homes. Many referrals may match your preferences. They all need loving homes. The more flexible you are with your preferences (0-17), the more likely they can be placed with you post-certification. Youth with the highest need for foster homes are teenagers.
Are Felonies and Misdemeanors Barriers to Being a Foster Parent? Learn more about this topic in our article on the subject
Yes, you can. Conversations will be done from the start of your journey through completion regarding the preferences you have that may fit best with your family. Youth with the highest need for foster homes are teenagers.
You can foster-to-adopt. Most youth are adopted by their first placement. When placed in your home, the goal is less likely to be adoption. If the court decides the “Return to Home” goal is no longer appropriate, there are other options, to include adoption. A youth would need to be in your home for a minimum of six months before the adoption process can move forward.
Being a foster parent for a teenager or a young adult is very different from being a foster parent for a younger child. In the same aspect as a younger child, teens need a loving, supportive, and nurturing home.
Many teens in foster care come from backgrounds in which both positive and negative emotions were often expressed in extreme, inaccurate, or inappropriate ways. Youth need to know how to express emotions appropriately.
They need to feel the joy of knowing that a respected adult cares about them and how they feel. Developmentally, teens are often on a rollercoaster ride of emotions. Having someone who can model a caring, calm, and respectful response enhances teens’ positive development. Teens and young adults are adults-in-training. They need—and want—life models, life coaches, and opportunities to develop into the people they can be.
Emergency placements occur if a child comes into care less than 72 hours and needs a placement right away. This may occur in the middle of the night or the next day.
It also may be for various reasons such as abuse allegations, youth living in unsafe conditions, drug abuse and/or neglect by biological parents, emergency situations with the current foster home, etc.
Biological children play a big role in fostering. Many times, they are excited and eager to have a foster sibling. Someone they can play with. However, sometimes it is scary for them.
They may be worried about what it will look like, be like and feel like to have a strange child come into their home. There are a couple of ways to ensure that your biological child (ren) continues to feel loved while being a foster parent.
1. Inform your biological child of the decision to become a foster parent before starting the process. It is important to include them in the decision as well as the process. During the home study process, the foster parent advocate will interview the biological child (ren).
2. Ensure you are spending quality individual time with all of the children, including foster youth.
3. Family outings or trips are something that can be very positive for all as this will assist in the family bonding together. The foster youth will feel like they are part of the family.
For further information, please reach out to Extra Special Parents.
Extra Special Parents understand everyone’s schedule may be different. We offer virtual training through zoom.
Attachment is a natural process as a parent and foster parent.
You have allowed another human being into your home, life, and family.
Many moments of love, laughter, and tears have been had during the time they have been in your home.
The primary goal is to Return Home for youth in care. Foster parents can and do become a mentor and an additional support system for the foster youth and their family.
It is not uncommon for foster parents to maintain contact with their foster youth and biological parents/caregivers once the goal has been reached for them.
ESP receives referrals, from localities throughout the state of Virginia, for youth who are in need of a placement. If you are outside of the area from the referral, the youth can be placed. It is possible their schools and service providers would need to be transferred.
From the start of your journey to being a foster parent to being certified, it can typically take approximately 3 months. This is based on the necessary paperwork being completed timely, other appointments through the home study process is timely as well as attending the trainings consistently.
It is preferred your spouse/partner be part of the process. This journey will impact the family as a whole. The support within the structure of your home will be very important.