What Is Foster Care?
Foster Care is a system of care provided for children who cannot live with their birth families for either a short or an extended period of time. While the child is in foster care, both the child and their biological family will be working to make changes that are necessary in order to make reunification possible and more successful. Sometimes this does not work and the child cannot be returned to the biological family. In such cases, the child may become eligible for adoption
How do kids get into Foster Care?
Children come into foster care when their families can no longer provide a safe, healthy environment for them. In these cases, the child may be out of control or they have been neglected or abused by their family.
Will I have to work with biological family members?
Depending on the permanency plan for the child placed in the home, it is possible. If the child’s eventual goal is to safely reunify with their biological families, it is likely that family members will be involved in the child’s treatment planning. You may help coordinate family visits, provide transportation for family visits, and work with biological parents in team meetings. Each foster child’s case is assessed on an individual basis and the treatment team makes decisions about family involvement and how that involvement will occur.
What is the difference between “traditional” and “therapeutic” foster care?
- Traditional foster care refers to care needed by a child who does not have emotional and behavioral problems, does fairly well in school, and does not act out beyond what is normal for his/her age.
- Maryhurst trains all of their foster and adoptive parents to provide therapeutic foster care. Because most of the children placed in Maryhurst foster homes have some level of emotional and behavior problems due to their histories of neglect and abuse, we feel all parents must be equipped with the skills to provide them with proper care, nurturing and consistency to help them heal from those traumas.
Who is eligible to be licensed as a foster parent?
Foster Parent requirements:
- 21 years of age or older
- Married or Single
- Submit to background checks that reveal no felony convictions or convictions related to abuse, neglect, sexual exploitation, or death.
- Provide credible, positive references
- Provide proof of income outside of foster care
- Provide a physician’s statement that they are free of illness or condition that could present a health or safety risk to a foster child
- Be able to provide safe environment for a child
- Be able to provide an individual bed for each child (children of the same gender may share rooms)
How does fostering work with spouses and other adults in the home?
Spouses and people who co-parent must both be certified through the Maryhurst, Inc. FTH training in order to be able to foster.
Can I provide part-time foster care on the weekends or holidays?
Yes! We call this respite care. All of our parents use respite care and provide respite care whether they have a full-time foster child or not. For instance, if a parent is going out of town for the weekend or has a special occasion that is not for the child to attend, they might schedule respite with another foster parent while they are away. Respite-only parents complete the same training as full-time foster parents.
Can I still work outside of the home?
Yes! It is a requirement that each foster family have income other than foster care and that they are financially stable without foster care reimbursement.
What type of compensation is provided?
Parents will receive compensation for each day the child is in their home. This is called a per diem. Per Diem rates range from $24 to $50 a day based on the needs of the child in their home.
Is this compensation taxable? Can I claim foster children on my taxes as a dependent?
Per Diem compensation is not generally taxable. You can only claim foster children on your taxes once the child has been in the home for 1 year. If you intend to claim them as dependents and deduct any expenses, you will need to keep all receipts in an orderly fashion.
Am I responsible for medical costs?
No. All children who are in state’s care have Medicaid coverage in the form of a medical card which covers all costs.
Can I foster with FTH and another agency?
No. A person can only be certified and active with one agency at a time. If you are already with another agency and you are interested in switching to Maryhurst, Inc., please let us know that so we can contact your current agency before proceeding with your paperwork and training.
Will I be able to choose my foster children?
Yes. During the training, we will educate you on the type of children we serve. After this training, you will be asked about preferences regarding behavioral issues, emotional issues, age, gender, and culture.
What is the process to become a certified foster parent? How long does this certification last?
The process of certification involves 36 hours of training, appropriate paperwork, background checks, home study, and interviews with all members of the family. The training takes 10 weeks to complete. Once that is completed, the amount of time before certification will depend on how quickly the applicant is able to complete the requirements in addition to the time it takes the FTH staff to complete the home study.
What type of paperwork is required?
- Completed homework from all 9 training sessions
- Copy of proof of Income other than foster care
- Copy of proof of Homeowners/Renters Insurance
- Copy of proof of Auto Insurance (liability limits of $100,000/$300,000)
- Copy of Valid KY Driver’s License
- References- both financial, personal and familial
- Physician Statements and TB tests for all family members
- Immunization Certificates for all children
- Background checks for all adults in the home
- CPR/First Aid certification
- Marriage and divorce certificates
- All other documentation discussed during the pre-service training and gathered with assistance of FTH staff
How long will it take for me to get a foster child?
This time frame is variable and depends greatly on how specific you are regarding the type of child that you want. Our goal is to match children with appropriate families and sometimes this can take time. Keep in mind that children are more easily matched with foster families that are open to a wide variety of children, including race, age, gender, and behaviors.
What does the training consist of?
In the training, you are educated on understanding trauma and its effects on our children, effective communication, motivating children, behavioral interventions, documentation, and the special needs of foster children.