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#1 of 13 Old 02-23-2011, 01:12 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I am strongly considering foster parenting ever since I had a Pre-Pregnancy Consultation that said that I would be considered high-risk to have a child of my own, due to medical problems.  Even though I want my own biological child, several of my relatives and people at church are wanting me to consider foster parenting instead.  Before I go about this, I wanted to ask some of you about your experience with foster parenting.

 

Do you have a choice on how young or old the foster child is that you want to take care of?

Do they allow singles to be foster parents?

Do you have to have certain things before you can foster parent, like a child's bed or crib or stuff like that?

I have read that you get paid to be a foster parent, how much do you get on average?  Is it enough to cover supplies for the child?

What happens if the foster child is out of control and very agressive?  Is there support groups for foster parents?

Are you allowed to homeschool foster children, or are they required to go to a public school?

 

If anyone can give me some tips and advice, it would be great.  Thanks!

 

Jessie

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#2 of 13 Old 02-25-2011, 05:04 PM
 
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I'll try. 

 

 

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Do you have a choice on how young or old the foster child is that you want to take care of?

Do they allow singles to be foster parents?

Do you have to have certain things before you can foster parent, like a child's bed or crib or stuff like that?

I have read that you get paid to be a foster parent, how much do you get on average?  Is it enough to cover supplies for the child?

What happens if the foster child is out of control and very agressive?  Is there support groups for foster parents?

Are you allowed to homeschool foster children, or are they required to go to a public school?

Yes. You tell them the range you're comfortable with, and generally they call you with a placement (which may be totally outside your range) and you can say yes or no. They might be wrong, though. Generally not wrong on age or gender (though this can happen) but sometimes they don't know much. They told us my son was healthy, in fact he has CP, but they didn't know it at the time. 

 

Yes. YMMV according to state, but as far as I know all states allow single foster parents.

 

Yes. You must have a crib or bed or both, depending on your age placement. So when we had asked for a child 0-4, we had a crib and a toddler bed ready. You must have a dresser usually, too. The room has to be ready for the child before you pass a homestudy. 

 

You don't get paid, per se. You get a "reimbursement" based on the child's age and needs. This really varies by state. I think in my state it starts at around 400 per month (which in my state is totally up to the foster parent to use for whatever they want) and another 100 or so which is specifically for clothing and personal items, and must be receipted. 

 

This one depends. Agencies have different rules and standards about this. Generally they will try to install services- therapies, extra help for you, respite care, etc, before removing a child. IN my state, however, you cannot have a child removed in less than 30 days. So once the kid is there, s/hes there for 30 days unless they decide to remove him first. It may be difficult, but a good agency will have good support services. Whether there are support groups varies by region. Many places have them, yes. 

 

This depends, as well. Depends on agency and on birth parent wishes. I think many agencies would allow it but some may not. As long as birth parents still have rights, (which is usually) they have ultimate say over this, generally. 


Mom to 5 wonderful kids (9, 6, 4, 2 and 0), 1 adopted through foster care.

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#3 of 13 Old 02-25-2011, 05:19 PM
 
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I'm not sure if you got your questions answered (maybe by private message?) but I'll make an attempt to answer some that I know!

 

First off, it's important to note that every state has different rules and regulations on licensing foster and adoptive families.  Second, different agencies within one state can also have different rules about licensing.  So the first step there is to do some research on what agencies are close to your home and which agencies you might want to be licensed with.  Then you should ask these agencies their policies on being a single foster parent, what kind of placement referrals they receive, etc. 

 

I'm going to answer your questions, but bear in mind that I'm licensed in Arizona and the rules may not be the same for your state.  This is just to help give you some idea of what you're looking at. 

 

In Arizona, with my agency:

 

You absolutely have every choice you could possibly desire regarding which child(ren) you foster.  Age, gender, religion, culture, nationality - all of these things and more are up to you.  Granted, the more you narrow down your list, the fewer kids who will meet your requirements.

 

My agency does license single parents.

 

You are required to have a house inspection visit for safety regulations as well as 3-5 home visits with the agency caseworker prior to becoming licensed.  We were required to have a bedroom for the child(ren) but it can be a very simple room.  We take infants, so we were required to have a crib and a carseat for the right age range as well.

 

Technically, we do not get "paid" to be foster parents; we get "reimbursed" for being foster parents.  The checks come monthly and there is a set daily amount that we receive per child.  The age ranges vary slightly in their pay grade; infants get slightly more money because of diapers, that kind of thing.  There are emergency funds you can apply for, should you need to buy a large amount of clothes for a child who has nothing - etc.  The amount of money is enough to cover our expenses, plus a little bit extra.  We also have to keep all our receipts, in case the agency or the state wants to make sure we are using the correct amount of money on things for the child, since that's what the reimbursement is for.  The downfall here is that we don't get paid for (example) February until the middle of March, so we do have to cover the costs for the child up front. 

 

A number of foster children act out and have behavioral "issues" stemming from abuse, neglect, abandonment, and/or poor parenting.  Our agency covers helpful tips and tricks as well as disciplinary tactics during our 10 week licensing prep class.  Our agency also offers support groups and continuing education classes to help anyone in need.

 

Most of the time, the state and our agency want foster children to be schooled in public schools.  I have only heard of one case where homeschooling was allowed - and it was a very severe case where the 7 year old girl did not know how to properly care for herself, feed herself, or even hold a writing utensil.  I believe (and this is just conjecture) that they want the kids in public schooling to make sure there are other eyes on these children.

 

Overall, I've found most agencies genuinely want to help their foster parents succeed and they LOVE it when foster parents adopt. 

 

Well, hopefully I haven't bored you too much with my long novel of a post!  If you have any other questions that I might be able to answer, don't hesitate to ask or send me a PM. 


Mom and Mama to our Ever so clever daughter (9.1.12)! We have a blog, too!
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#4 of 13 Old 02-27-2011, 02:10 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by briannas auntie View Post

I am strongly considering foster parenting ever since I had a Pre-Pregnancy Consultation that said that I would be considered high-risk to have a child of my own, due to medical problems.  Even though I want my own biological child, several of my relatives and people at church are wanting me to consider foster parenting instead.  Before I go about this, I wanted to ask some of you about your experience with foster parenting.

 

Do you have a choice on how young or old the foster child is that you want to take care of?

 

Yes.  Generally, nobody wants you taking children you won't be comfortable with.  And that range can change as you take placements and realize you may not be best suited to the age range you thought you would work best with.  Sometimes, people just change because they've "had enough" of a particular age range (after a placement has left, of course ;) )

 

 

Do they allow singles to be foster parents?

 

I'm on a national board and have never heard of single people NOT being allowed to foster in any state.  BUT, they will make any other adult living in your house go through the process 99% of the time.

 

 

Do you have to have certain things before you can foster parent, like a child's bed or crib or stuff like that?

 

For the most, no.  In fact, some places will even supply you with things like this upon a placement.  I have heard different areas wanting a crib or carseat in-home before the placement arrives but they often will allow you to wait and/or supply one for you (even if only temporarily).  They don't usually expect you to buy this stuff for a placement that may take months to arrive.

 

I have read that you get paid to be a foster parent, how much do you get on average?  Is it enough to cover supplies for the child?

 

You get a monthly stipend that is supposed to cover all of the costs associated with the child.  The amount varies by state, age range, and sometimes by extra "levels of care" (i.e. excessive driving around due to medical visits/therapies, etc. if they apply).  In addition, I have rarely heard of a state that didn't also provide some kind of accommodation for clothing for the kids although how they provide this totally varies by state: some give money in your monthly check, some give a voucher, etc.  For the most, they do try to cover everything.  In reality, yes--they usually cover everything but they may not cover the lifestyle of your family.  For example: my kids got a clothing stipend that would absolutely cover the bare-bones basics via Walmart and one pair of shoes, one coat, etc.  In our household, the kids don't wear WalMart, they have a dress coat and a play coat, dress shoes and play shoes.  It's obviously not what they plan for when budgeting for the kids because it's not "necessary".  We also had a hard time with the local Y's mindset that foster parents were all in it for the exorbitant amount of money we got eyesroll.gif and therefore they offered ZERO discounts for foster kids... so I once wound up paying a $70 youth membership fee for a ffs to join the Y for a year (that we knew he wouldn't be with us) PLUS $122 for a fencing class he attended twice (because it was the only individual sport offered anywhere other than swimming and he had issues that made team sports impossible).  Needless to say, they don't account for that, either.  But all the kids in our home do some kind of activity and we don't NOT do them with the foster kids--kwim?

 

 

What happens if the foster child is out of control and very agressive?  Is there support groups for foster parents?

 

In all fairness, they DO TRY to keep kids that are that difficult to manage OUT of regular foster homes (and instead, try to find therapeutic or special care foster homes for them--which conform to different licensing standards and get paid at higher rates).  But it happens.  Sometimes, the state simply doesn't have enough background with the child to know what they're like.  If a child is unmanageable, you CAN have them removed.  We had such a child placed with us but everyone knew he belonged in therapeutic care.  He came with a list of support contacts including a "mobile response" unit number--which is who I would call if I needed emergency, on-site help with him.  He DID ultimately have to be removed from my home (although I kept him longer than they asked--by choice).

 

As for support groups, that depends on your area.  Some areas have great fp support groups and some have nothing.  Ask about this at the initial interview with the licensing person who gives you the initial introduction chat.  Or Google "foster parent support groups" and your state.  There's also a national fp board that is extremely helpful.

 

 

Are you allowed to homeschool foster children, or are they required to go to a public school?

 

Usually you're not.  There are some exceptions out there, but by and large--nope.  In the eyes of the state, the schools are an extra set of eyes on the kids for safety purposes.


 

Also, if you're fostering with the intent to adopt, please ask if your state has a separate unit that handles children who have a goal of "adoption".  Otherwise, please, please, PLEASE DO NOT listen to a caseworker that tells you that although a child's goal is "technically" reunification, there's no chance it will happen or that it's a formality or whatever else they tell you that leads you to believe that you will wind up adopting that child.  Until the goal is "adoption", expect them to go home.  And once it IS adoption, tread carefully.  Relatives that have been non-existent for the 2-4 years that child has been in foster care will suddenly appear when they realize that kid may be severed from the family.  And some of THOSE didn't even know the situation until it got that dire.  Strange but true.

 

People who foster and really just want to adopt are on the worst kind of emotional roller coaster known to man.  And the states/agencies--either in their desperation for foster homes or in their honest best-guessing--will tell you that a child will be adoptable when the reality is that they have absolutely no idea.  If you put your faith in what they tell you, you could be set up for heartbreak after heartbreak before your forever child comes.  And that child MAY BE a foster child whose initial goal was reunification... it happens.  I'm just saying that you should pay more attention to the legal process than to what you observe in the case and/or what the workers tell you.  Because observation and hearsay will put you on a roller coaster you don't need to be on.

 

We grew to love fostering more than we ever imagined.  We loved the freedom of having a family and then going back to "just us" and living without the confines of the state laws for foster parents and having people in our house all the time.  It was really awesome.  We have also adopted out of foster care (our state had a separate unit that handled children whose goal was adoption, and our forever child came that way).  I think that when you know what to expect, it's a much less difficult thing to deal with.


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#5 of 13 Old 02-27-2011, 07:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all the helpful advice.  This will come in very handy when I take to the foster parenting agency in my county.

 

Jessie

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#6 of 13 Old 03-01-2011, 09:29 PM
 
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I know you basically got all your answers already, but in case it helps, here are mine...

 

Ages - you choose what you want to accept. It can be a wide age range or a narrow one. There are different requirements for each age, though, so depending on your home's set up, you may be restricted to certain ages only.

 

Single people - YES! In fact, most foster parents I've met are single women. Plenty of couples foster, too, but for some reason I've met more single women than any other kind of foster parent. In my areas they will let single people, married people, gay couples, or even non-romantic roommates be foster parents.

 

Beds, dressers, etc. - It's recommended to have furniture ready, but we were able to buy them at the last minute right after we accepted a placement. When we wanted to increase our license to accept more children, they required furniture.

 

Reimbursement - In my area the average is around $500-$600 per month. For some children that's plenty and there's a enough to start a savings account for the kid if you wanted. For other children, you end up digging in your pockets to make up the difference. For example, a kid with serious medical issues who goes to a different doctor every day is going to cost you a lot of money in gas whereas an athlete kid who constantly gets dirty and who eats nonstop might cost a pretty penny to clothe and feed. It just depends. The longer the child is with you, the better you get at managing their expenses and making the money last longer. (I don't have to keep receipts.)

 

Aggressive children - I don't know. I would not accept placement of an aggressive child. The vast majority of children in care are there due to neglect and they are not "out of control" kids by any stretch of the imagination. Most are simply looking for a warm, safe bed, clean clothes, nourishing food, and some hugs now and then.

 

Support groups - There are foster parent associations and foster parent liasons that can help with some of the emotional stuff. Personally, I have not found them to be particularly useful for anything other than information gathering. In my experience, a trained therapist or a nonjudgemental close friend is much better support even if they don't understand what it's like to be a foster parent.

 

Schools - In my area they try very hard to keep the kids in the same school they were in before they were in fostercare unless there is a danger in that. So it's unlikely that you could home school many of the foster kids, though there are probably some that you could.

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#7 of 13 Old 03-10-2011, 01:47 PM
 
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Just as a thought to add in here: 

If you are not able to have your own child, I would not encourage you to foster.  Foster children are not there to be your baby they are there because THEY need YOU.  If you are looking for love and affection you may not get it.  You may get hate and broken hearts instead.  Many states require at least a year between an infertile diagnosis and foster parenting for exactly this reason.  However, if you have it in you, do it.  If you are doing for the kids and KNOW that you are doing it strictly for them, then go for it.  But if you are doing it because you have a broken heart over infertility, then don't.

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#8 of 13 Old 03-25-2011, 09:31 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MissinNYC View Post

 IN my state, however, you cannot have a child removed in less than 30 days. So once the kid is there, s/hes there for 30 days unless they decide to remove him first. 


This is so shocking to hear.  So if a child hurt's your own children they will not come and get them that instant?  If they light fire to your house they will not come and get them?  If you tell them you are too stressed to handle this child they will not come and get them?

 

Here they are not happy about it but will come and get a kid the instant you call.

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#9 of 13 Old 03-26-2011, 06:59 AM
 
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Quote:
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This is so shocking to hear.  So if a child hurt's your own children they will not come and get them that instant?  If they light fire to your house they will not come and get them?  If you tell them you are too stressed to handle this child they will not come and get them?

 

Here they are not happy about it but will come and get a kid the instant you call.

 

I think the 30 day thing is pretty standard, but in most places if there is a threat to people or property that is an emergency and they will remove the child as soon as possible. They are trying to avoid people saying "well this isnt working out, she's got to go!" and not giving it time, or giving the worker time to find a new, permanent placement rather than having the child shuffled around from emergency placement to emergency placement. I highly doubt if a FC was harming other children in your home they would say "oh you have to wait out your thirty days!"

 


 

 


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#10 of 13 Old 03-28-2011, 11:21 AM
 
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Sorry, should have been more clear. If the child is violent or dangerous to himself or others, or does things like start fires or molest other kids, they will remove them ASAP. But things like stress, etc, no, I don't think they remove for. I mean, if I said I was so stressed I was suicidal or hysterical crying on the phone for an hour every day, they'd probably come, but generally if you accept a placement (here) you have it for 30 days (unless the child is reunified or ordered to be placed with family). We have so few foster homes and so many kids that the alternatives are group homes or other really sub-standard options. 

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Originally Posted by JoyFilled View Post




This is so shocking to hear.  So if a child hurt's your own children they will not come and get them that instant?  If they light fire to your house they will not come and get them?  If you tell them you are too stressed to handle this child they will not come and get them?

 

Here they are not happy about it but will come and get a kid the instant you call.



 


Mom to 5 wonderful kids (9, 6, 4, 2 and 0), 1 adopted through foster care.

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#11 of 13 Old 04-22-2012, 05:19 PM
 
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My husband and are in tucson as well:-) we're also considering fostering infants. We found your response to be very informative. We'd like to ask you approximately how much one can expect in reimbursement monthly?
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#12 of 13 Old 04-22-2012, 08:37 PM
 
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Foster care rates can vary but this page (from 2009, so rates may be slightly higher now) might give you an idea: https://www.azdes.gov/internetfiles/internetprogrammaticforms/pdf/foster_rates.pdf . In most places, once a child reaches a certain age (in my state, MI, i believe its age 13) the rate increases a bit. And there is the "basic rate", and then higher rates based upon the needs of the child (in my state of MI, there is Basic, Level 1, Level 2, Level 3...anything above 3 would be considered extraordinary)...a child's level of care could increase based upon behavior issues or medical/health issues and there is a checklist that scores the extra work a FP might do for that child's extra needs. Different states may handle this differently. in my state a healthy infant would be basic level and you'd get around $440/mo. It looks like AZ might be around $600-700/mo. Most states also provide a separate yearly or 2/yr clothing allowance.


Katherine, single homeschooling mom to Boy Genius (17) geek.gif  Thing One (6) and Thing Two (6) fencing.gif and one outgoing Girl (12) bikenew.gif and hoping for more through foster care and adoption homebirth.jpgadoptionheart-1.gif 
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#13 of 13 Old 04-23-2012, 03:13 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by queenjane View Post

Foster care rates can vary but this page (from 2009, so rates may be slightly higher now) might give you an idea: https://www.azdes.gov/internetfiles/internetprogrammaticforms/pdf/foster_rates.pdf . In most places, once a child reaches a certain age (in my state, MI, i believe its age 13) the rate increases a bit. And there is the "basic rate", and then higher rates based upon the needs of the child (in my state of MI, there is Basic, Level 1, Level 2, Level 3...anything above 3 would be considered extraordinary)...a child's level of care could increase based upon behavior issues or medical/health issues and there is a checklist that scores the extra work a FP might do for that child's extra needs. Different states may handle this differently. in my state a healthy infant would be basic level and you'd get around $440/mo. It looks like AZ might be around $600-700/mo. Most states also provide a separate yearly or 2/yr clothing allowance.

Thank you for the information:-D
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