Become a Foster Parent

FOSTER PARENTING

Considering foster parenting? Seeking a challenging but rewarding experience? If so, Quality Counseling is always searching for loving, compassionate, and committed foster parents who wish to make a difference in the life of a child and contribute to the betterment of society.

BECOME A FOSTER PARENT IN TEN SIMPLE STEPS

  1. Meet with Quality Counseling Foster Care Specialist: Call (260) 739-7264 or email john.morrow@qualitycounseling.org to set up an appointment
  2. Complete all background checks
  3. Collect all documents and complete all paperwork
  4. Complete any required training
  5. Complete Home Study
  6. Review Application for Licensure
  7. Submit Application
  8. Licensure
  9. Foster Children Proposed for Placement
  10. Placement of Foster Children

(Time Frame: The licensing process typically takes 6 to 8 weeks from start to finish so long as all documents are provided in a timely fashion)

CHILDREN REQUIRING FOSTER CARE

– Foster children range from newborn babies to 18 years of age

– Foster children come from different races, ethnicities, linguistic, cultural, and religious backgrounds

– Foster parents may care for one or more children

– Whenever possible, sibling groups are not separated

– Sibling groups can be as small as two to as large as ten individuals

– Foster children include individuals who are in perfect well-being; namely, they do not suffer from any social, emotional, psychological or physical problems. They have simply been removed from their homes because their parents are in prison or struggling with substance abuse or other challenges

– Foster children include individuals who have been neglected and abused, emotionally, psychologically, physically, and/or sexually

– Foster children include juvenile delinquents, pregnant teenagers or teen mothers

– Foster children include individuals with physical and mental disabilities

– Foster children include individuals who are delayed developmentally, academically, socially, or mentally, and who require special care and attention

– Foster children may come directly from their family home

– Foster children may also come from foster homes, groups homes, or behavioral health centers

EXTENT OF NEED

– There are more children in need of foster care than there are foster homes

– There is a shortage of African American and Hispanic foster parents nationwide

– There is a shortage of Burmese foster parents in Allen County

– Most ethnic and minority communities are underrepresented in foster parenting

– The younger the children are, and the fewer challenges they have, the easier they are to place in foster homes

– The greatest need is found among sibling groups, troubled teenagers, as well as disabled children and youth

DURATION OF FOSTER CARE

– The duration of foster care varies from case to case.

– Some children only require a brief stay in a foster home. Others, however, require long-term placement.

– Foster placements can last a week, a couple of years, or more than a decade.

THE PLACING OF CHILDREN IN FOSTER CARE

– The preferences of foster families are determined during the licensing process

– Foster families have the right to turn down any placement that is proposed

– The decision to place a child in foster care is a collective one made by Quality Counseling, the foster family, and the referring agency, such as the Department of Child Services or the Probation Department.

QUALIFICATIONS OF FOSTER FAMILIES

– 21 year of age or older

– Adequate income

(Foster parents are selected on the basis of their qualities; not their income. They do not need to be wealthy or have fancy homes. They simply need to be good people with good character)

– Stable living arrangements: single; married couples; or unmarried couples that have been living together for at least one year

(Foster parents do not need to be married. They do not need to be young. They can be empty nesters. They can come from any and all racial, ethnic, cultural, linguistic or religious background)

– Licensed to operate, maintain, or conduct a foster family home by DCS

(Quality Counseling will guide and assist you through this process, providing all appropriate training, services, and support)

QUALITIES OF FOSTER PARENTS

– Sound moral and ethical character

– Caring and compassionate

– Structured and consistent

– Flexible and patient

– Stable and supportive

– Sensitive and accommodating to racial, cultural, and religious diversity

– Determined and undeterred

– Capable of focusing on long-term results and weathering short-time challenges

– Humor

– Committed to learning and working as part of a team

(You are never alone. Our trained and experienced case managers are available 24/7 to answer questions, give advice, and help in any way they can. We will also connect you with a network of current foster parents who can share their experiences with you and provide some respite care. We value and respect our foster parents and make it our mission to support them to the best of our ability.)

REASONABLE AND PRUDENT PARENT STANDARD

– Committed to making careful and sensible parental decisions that maintain the health, safety, and best interests of a child while at the same time encouraging his or her emotional and development growth through extracurricular, enrichment, cultural, and social activities

PHYSICAL FACILITIES OF THE FOSTER FAMILY HOME: GENERAL

– Located, constructed, arranged, and maintained to provide adequately for the health, safety, and moral welfare of all occupants

– Adequate space

– Access to indoor or outdoor recreation space

– Working utilities at all times

– Adequate lighting at all times

– Heating, air-cooling or ventilation to provide for a comfortable temperature

– A working telephone

– No exposure to second hand smoke at home (or in the foster parents’ vehicle)

– Mobile homes must have two exits located at least 20 feet apart; one exit must be within 25 feet of each bedroom door

– Mobile homes must be skirted and securely anchored

PHYSICAL FACILITIES OF THE FOSTER FAMILY HOME: BEDROOMS AND BATHROOMS

– Adequate ventilation for the health, safety, and welfare of the child

– Provide proper bedrooms for all occupants

– Bedrooms in basements are subject to a waiver so long as the basement is finished, has two easily accessible exits leading to the outside

– Children 6 years and older, who share the same room, shall be of the same sex

– Children over 12 months will not share a bedroom with adults, except in the case of illness or developmental disabilities and only with the approval of the DCS

– In no event shall a child ever sleep in the same bed as an adult

– Each child shall be provided an individual bed and mattress that is 1) off the floor; 2) of a size to accommodate the child

– A crib meeting federal safety regulars shall be used for a child under the age of 2

– Appropriate bed linens shall be provided for the comfort of the child

– Bed lines will be changed and washed regularly

– No convertible sofas or temporary bedding shall be used except for temporary care and only upon approval of DCS

– Sufficient bedroom space to allow at least 50 usable square feet for each child

– A close or wardrobe in addition to drawer space

– Sanitary bathrooms that provide privacy

– Water provided for bathing shall be kept at a comfortable temperature

CARE OF CHILDREN / DISCIPLINE

– Foster parents shall be responsible for discipline.

– Discipline shall not be delegated to the child’s peers or persons who are strangers to the child

– Discipline shall be appropriate to the developmental age of the child and related to the child’s act

– Discipline shall not be out of proportion to the particular inappropriate behavior

– Discipline shall be handled without prolonged delay

– Foster parents shall not use any of the following types of discipline:

1) corporal punishment, including physical hitting or any type of physical punishment inflicted in any manner upon the child’s body

2) Physical exercise

3) Requiring or using force to make the child take an uncomfortable position

4) Verbal remarks that ridicule the child or his or her family

5) Denial of an emotional response that is appropriate to the situation

6) Denial of essential services, for example:

a) Health care

b) Food

c) Clothing

d) Bedding

e) Sleep

f) Mail

g) Family visitation

h) Threats of removal or denial of reunification

i) Shaking

j) Placement in a locked room

FOSTER PARENT HOME STUDIES

If you are interested in becoming a foster parent or are currently a foster parent in need of an update or re-licensing, Quality Counseling will conduct a Home Study.

During the course of a Home Study, Quality Counseling will evaluate the suitability of the family and home environment for a foster child or children.

Parent-Child relationship, education, family history, discipline methods, support systems, sibling relationships, references, expectations, experience with children, motives for applying, behavior of children, interests and activities, areas of tension and conflict, employment history, and adequacy of the home environment are all assessed during the course of a Home Study. These services are performed in home and typically completed within 30 days of referral.

CONTACT AND QUESTIONS

If you are interested in becoming a foster parent, kindly contact us by telephone at (260) 739-7264 or email us at fostercare@qualitycounseling.org