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Foster Care FAQs


You have Questions.
Here are Some Answers.

Family & Children Services understands that opening your home to a child or children in need is a big decision – one that comes with many questions. We want you to make an informed decision and are here to help you navigate concerns and the process.

Review frequently asked questions regarding foster care and email our team to learn more!

Q: What is foster care?

A: Foster Care is a service provided to children who have been removed from their homes because of substantiated neglect or abuse. Foster families provide 24-hour care to children while birth parents work towards family reunification.

Family & Children Services staff provide services and support for both the foster and birth family as the local family court reviews the birth parent(s)’ progress regularly.

Q: How can I help?

A: By becoming a foster parent! You can provide a safe and stable environment for a child, reduce the risk of further harm to children, and promote family reunification. You can also give children the love and attention they deserve when they are away from their birth parents.

Q: Who makes a good foster parent?

A: People from all walks of life make great foster parents. Some are single, some are married, divorced, or widowed. Some are heterosexual, some are a member of the LGBTQ+ community. Some own their own homes and some rent. Some already have children, some do not.

Despite their differences, all foster parents share several characteristics, including:

  • Being 18 years of age or older.
  • Loving children.
  • Having a stable income.
  • The ability to commit to challenges.
  • A desire to be a team player and work towards reunification.
Q: What are the requirements to be a foster parent?

A: While completing the licensing process is a requirement (more on that below), above all, exploring the necessary characteristics of foster parents is key. Finding success as a foster parent and the children in your care requires patience, flexibility, consistency, an ability to work as part of a team, and a willingness to meet the needs of children.

Q: What do foster parents do?

A: Foster parents are 24-hour caregivers. They provide food, shelter, clothing, and emotional support for children. Providing an opportunity for recreation and social interaction is required in addition to transporting the child to appointments, doctor’s visits, weekly parenting time, and school.

Foster Parents must also attend ongoing training classes and participate in monthly home visits with caseworkers. They are expected to treat their foster children just as biological parents are expected to treat their biological children. Foster parents must work as part of the team and support the plan of reunification.

Q: How do I know if I’d be a good foster parent?

A: Foster parenting requires a lot of patience and compassion. Foster parents understand that the children who come to them are hurting and that it takes a long time to reduce that pain and change the resulting behaviors.  You must be 18 years old, of good moral character, in good health, have an adequate income, and meet other basic standards to qualify.

Q: How much does it cost to become a foster parent?

A: The licensing process is free, but everyone in your family will need to complete a physical exam. You may incur some cost for that if your insurance doesn’t cover the exams.

Q: What kind of financial support would I get?

A: Foster parents receive reimbursement two times per month to provide food, clothing, and other things their foster children need. The amount depends on the age and needs of the child. You would also receive a clothing allowance for foster children twice a year.

Children in foster care are eligible for Medicaid, which pays for medical, dental, and mental healthcare. Many foster families will also qualify for reimbursement for the costs of childcare.

Q: How long does the licensing process take?

A: Typically, the licensing process takes 3-6 months. Some of the timing depends on how quickly you move through the training and paperwork requirements.

Q: How much training will I receive?

A: There is a required training curriculum provided to all foster parents during the initial licensing process. Pre-licensing training topics include trauma-informed parenting, behavior management, grief and loss, and working with the biological family.

Q: Can I decline a placement?

A: Yes, we encourage you to only take placement of children you feel comfortable caring for.

Q: What if I need help?

A: During normal business hours, the Foster Care Specialist or Foster Care Supervisor is available.  Outside of office hours, we have an emergency, on-call worker who responds 24 hours, 7 days a week.