So, you decided to become a foster parent… Congratulations, you have taken the first step into the vocation of fostering. Well, actually the first real step was to have compassion. You showed you care and want to help others and that is always a plus.
Next step locate a local Foster Care agency in your area and complete their application process and review their handbook as well. These items will cover everything about you: name, age, profession, address, legality. This process will delve deep into your private life, please do not see it as an attack on your character. It is a mandatory stipulation that gauges your ability to foster/adopt and see what child(ren) will benefit from your care. It should go without saying you must be strong.
The next part ties into the second whereas you will have to prove to several people that you have the capacity and ability to care for a child(ren) sufficiently: the agency you have chosen to reside under, Child Protective Services, THE CHILD, and most importantly… Yourself. You will need to attend courses and classes regularly even if they contain items you are familiar with i.e., CPR, but these courses are mandatory. They usually run for about four to ten weeks in length. But you will find support from amongst other foster parents who are in the same boat. That’s the joy of communities.
The last critical part of the process: a HOME STUDY. Is the last hurtle to earning the coveted title of foster parent. The specifications vary state by state, but mostly a home study is a requirement. It is used to gauge your ability to possibly foster/ adopt and find your potential child pairing.
You will go through many rounds of interviews as well as your family to judge your character. Home visits will also be conducted during this period and reference checks will be carried out with people who know you. Your caseworker is ultimately the final voice whereas all your data is compiled to measure your capacity and what demographic of children will benefit from your care and how many you can potentially handle. Vice versa if you’re adopting whereas the caseworker checks if the child will integrate well into the family.
That concludes the home study, your home study file is out there for agencies to help match you with a child (and for your own records, ask for a copy).