1. How do I become a foster parent?
For information describing the steps to becoming a foster parent, please view "Fall in Love with Adoption and Foster Care", contact your local Department for Community Based Services office or call (800) 232-KIDS (5437). You will be sent a packet of information that describes the different types of foster homes, different types of children and the requirements for being approved as a foster parent.
2. What happens after I have received my packet of information?
You should read through the information in the packet, then attend an information meeting for families interested in foster care. This meeting provides families with information about the children in foster care and the general requirements for becoming an approved family with the Department for Community Based Services. This meeting will give you the opportunity to ask questions, as well as talk to someone who is an experienced foster parent. Please call your local Department for Community Based Services office or (800) 232-KIDS (5437) for times and dates of information meetings.
3. What are the qualifications for becoming a foster parent?
An applicants must be at least 21 years old with income sufficient to meet his or her family's needs. Applicants may be married or single and applicants and family members must be in good physical and mental health. Physician statements are required to verify physical and mental health status. Applicants must meet the requirements for housing safety and space, provide at least three references and authorize the release of criminal records to the Department for Community Based Services, including a check of the child/spouse abuse registry. Applicants must complete 30 hours of training to help them understand the needs of children in foster care.
4. What types of children are in foster care?
Children placed in foster care range in age from birth to 21. Many of these children have been abused, neglected, emotionally maltreated, exploited or sexually abused. Special needs children may have multiple or severe problems, including medical disabilities, physical handicaps, special dietary needs, birth defects or chronic illness. They may also be mentally retarded as diagnosed by a qualified professional, have emotional or behavioral disturbances evaluated by a qualified professional or have other circumstances or added evidence that ordinary care does not meet the needs of the child.
5. What are the different types of foster homes?
- Regular foster homes
- Medically Fragile Homes for children with unstable medical conditions
- Care Plus homes for children who have behavioral problems and have not been successful in regular foster care placements
- Emergency Shelters for children 12 and older in need of immediate, unplanned placement for less than 30 days
- Relative Foster Homes
6. Who are SNAP kids? I see their pictures in the newspapers sometimes.
The majority of SNAP (Special Needs Adoption Program) kids are considered hard to place or having special needs. Special needs can include white children older than 10; African-American children of all ages; members of sibling groups of three or more school-age children; and children with moderate to severe physical, mental and emotional disabilities.
7. Can I get financial help from the state to care for a foster child?
Foster parents receive financial assistance in the form of a daily rate based on the needs and age of the child and the training and skill of the foster parent. The daily rate includes, medical, mental health, school, diapers, day care, haircuts and other special expenses.
8. What is respite care?
Respite providers are not foster parents but are essential because they help children and their foster parents by providing short-term relief or babysitting. Respite may be provided by the hour, overnight or over a weekend.
9. What kind of training do I need to become a foster parent?
The Department for Community Based Services provides training that meets the needs of foster parents. Foster parents are required to receive a minimum of six hours of ongoing training each year.
10. Can I foster only a specific age or need child?
You may accept any child, or children, who is referred by the department for temporary foster care.
11. Can people on welfare become foster parents?
Applicants will not be approved when their only source of income is foster care payments or anticipated adoption subsidy funds. Applicants will be expected to have an income sufficient to meet their present family needs and to insure the stability of the family unit.
12. Can I foster or adopt a relative, for example, a grandchild?
A child may be placed with a relative when it is in the best interest of the child. A relative foster home must meet the same requirements for training and ongoing approval as nonrelative homes.
13. Once I become a foster parent, are there other foster parents I can contact for advice and support?
Support can be found through the Kentucky Foster/Adoptive Parent Support Network or by contacting (877) 994-9970 (in state) or (270) 809-2052 (out of state).
14. May I take a foster child in my home and then adopt him or her?Foster care is temporary care. The goal is to reunite the child with birth parents or relatives whenever possible. If the child becomes available for adoption, foster parents my apply to adopt. In selecting an adoptive home, the child best interest are the primary consideration.
15. Is a child's background avilable to adoptive parents? All relevant information about the child's parents, the child's educational history, the child's medical and developmental history, and the child's placement history is provided to the adoptive parents. If an older child is being placed, the information is expanded to include eating, sleeping, and play habits; fears; relationship; school experiences, etc.
16. What happens after the child is placed in an adoptive home? A social worker visits monthly, until the adoption is final, to provide assistance as necessary. Support services are offered as needed. Parents who've adopted previously are available to share experiences and knowledge. There is a statewide adoption support group, as well as local chapters.