REQUIREMENTS & PROCESSES
Foster parents must be at least 21 years old, pass background clearances, and be in good physical health. Our most successful foster parents are open-minded, dependable, patient and willing to try different parenting styles for children with different needs. Having a flexible schedule, being tolerant and demonstrating the ability to work as a member of our team are all important qualities for success.
The process to become a KidsPeace foster parent involves five or six visits to your home over a 10 to 12 week period. During those visits, KidsPeace staff members gather paperwork, interview all family members, inspect the home for safety, and fully explain the responsibilities of foster parenting. In office or at home training is required prior to approval. Our mutual screening process helps both sides determine if foster parenting is right for you and the characteristics of children that will best fit with your family’s lifestyle and ability.
WHO ARE THE CHILDREN?
Children aged birth to 21 may need foster care for just a few days, or may be in placement for longer than a year. Foster families willing and able to accommodate sibling groups are in high demand, as are those who are able to take older children and teens. Some children are stepping down from residential treatment; some have developmental delays; many have suffered abuse; others have never benefited from expectations or structure; most have built walls around themselves to keep out the hurt; and all have lost their homes and families. Our training and support to foster parents is valuable when helping a child who has known such pain and upheaval.
How do I become a KidsPeace foster parent?
The application process involves five or six conveniently scheduled visits to your home over a 10 to 12 week period of time. Staff members gather paperwork, interview all family members, inspect the home for safety and fully explain the responsibilities of foster parenting. Our careful screening process helps you determine whether or not foster parenting is right for you, and, if yes, helps us match just the right child to your home.
What qualities should I posses to become a foster parent?
Generally, our most successful foster parents are open-minded, dependable, patient, and willing, to learn new parenting styles for children with different needs. Having a flexible schedule, being tolerant of change, and demonstrating the ability to follow our guidelines are all important qualities for success.
Do I need any special training or a special foster parenting license?
Yes, in some states, you will be required to be licensed, and in other states, you’ll just need special training. In either case, we’ll provide everything you will need, including: orientation to the program, ongoing trainings, regular in-person support, twenty-four hour on-call support availability and other tools to help you learn and develop your skills along the way.
How long will a child stay in my home?
This varies depending on the needs of the child and the circumstances of his or her placement. Some children are returned home after only a few months; others after a year or so. Sometimes, children who can’t go home become eligible for adoption; others remain in foster care until age 18.
Where will my foster child come from?
Children are placed through child protective agencies across your state. They may enter your home directly from their family of origin’s home, another foster home or from a more restrictive setting such as a residential facility.
what kinds of kids will you place in my home?
When it comes to foster children, one size does not fit all. There’s no typical foster child: some kids are stepping down from residential treatment; some have developmental delays; some have suffered unspeakable abuse; some have never been required to follow the rules of society; some have built walls around themselves to keep out the hurt; and some have lost their beloved homes and families. Most will undergo counseling and therapy while in foster care. It won’t be easy to help a child who has known such pain and upheaval, but we’ll train you extensively on how to handle the specific needs of your foster child.
Must I take any child you place with me?
No. Before placement, KidsPeace will present you with available information about the child we believe “matches” with your household. You may request additional information, and you may always accept or reject a child’s placement. Saying “no” does not affect our willingness to call you about other children in the future. We respect your right to do what you think is best for your family.
Will I get to meet the child before he or she moves in with me?
Sometimes. If time allows, we try to arrange pre-placement visits so you can meet ahead of time. In many cases, however, a child’s need for a foster home is urgent, and you won’t be able to meet your foster child until he or she arrives at your door.
Do you offer financial compensation?
Yes, KidsPeace provides compensation to cover room and board costs of foster children. Your local office can explain the current rate structure and payment system. This money is provided to cover such expenses as food, clothing, shelter, transportation, recreation and allowance, and should not be considered income. You will not be responsible for your foster child’s medical costs. KidsPeace does not have a minimum income requirement. However, your income must be earned and should be sufficient to meet the financial needs of your family.
How will my own children be affected by my foster children?
All children are influenced by the behaviors and attitudes of other people, whether these individuals are friends at school, neighbors, or foster children. If your children understand your expectations and have a sense of appropriate behavior and values, it is unlikely that they will be adversely affected.
Do foster children need their own bedrooms?
No. Children of the same sex are permitted to share bedrooms provided that the foster child has space for personal belongings and opportunities for privacy. Children are not allowed to share the same bed. The bedroom designated for the foster child must have a door for privacy and a window to allow for ventilation and a second means of escape in case of emergency.
Where and when do children visit with their families of origin?
When the goal is to eventually reunite the family, visits are crucial to help the child maintain a sense of belonging and identity. Visitation schedules vary and may be scheduled once a week or once or twice a month. You’ll be asked to transport the child to visits, which are generally held in a supervised office setting.
What kind of help and support will I get?
KidsPeace has an impeccable reputation for the support we provide our foster children and families. We maintain frequent, consistent contact, and we’re available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days per year to support and guide you.
What if I'm overwhelmed or I can't handle my foster child's problem?
So that you don’t get overwhelmed, we provide respite care, both on a regular schedule and on an emergency basis. At KidsPeace, we recognize that sometimes placements fail despite everyone’s best efforts. If the situation becomes unworkable, we will move the child to another home.
What forms of discipline am I allowed to enforce?
Your current parenting style will determine how much of an adjustment you will need to make to follow our guidelines. Our policies and guidelines are designed to protect both you and your foster children. We only allow appropriate, non-physical methods of discipline, such as removing privileges, giving “time outs” and using rewards, encouragement and praise for good behavior. Some of our discipline rules:
- NO physical punishment
- NO withholding meals, clothing, or shelter
- NO verbal abuse or name-calling
- NO threats to have a child removed
- NO physically strenuous work or exercise solely for punishment
- NO allowing other children to punish the foster child
Do children ever become available for adoption?
Yes. Sometimes, for various reasons, children are unable to return home and may have a court-ordered goal of adoption. Foster families are always given adoption consideration when a child in their home needs a permanent family.