Role of Foster Parents
Foster parents embrace children, value their family connections, and provide a home free of abuse and neglect until they can return home, be adopted or live independently. They must be willing to care for a child, whether he/she is in the home for one day or for a year.
Foster parents are not guardians, nor do they have legal custody of a child in their care, but they are an important part of the decision-making process regarding a child's safety, well being and permanency.
To become a foster parent, you must:
- Attend an Informational Night
- Meet the Qualifications to Adopt
- Complete Pre-Service Training and the Application Process
- Pass a Home Study
Foster parents work as a part of the county team in the following ways:
Meeting day-to-day needs:
- Shelter, food, clothing;
- Regular attendance in school;
- A comfortable, separate bed and adequate space for the child's belongings;
- Structure, rules and discipline;
- Nurturing and guiding the child's development;
- Meeting transportation needs, including to medical, physical and mental health appointments; and
- Handling challenging parenting situations, including emotional, behavioral, medical or developmental challenges that may result from the child's experiences with abuse, neglect, loss and separation.
Working with the child's family:
- Participate as a member of the treatment team working to strengthen and reunify the child's biological family;
- Value and help to maintain the child's connections with his/her biological family;
- Provide transportation for family visits;
- Participate in case planning and related meetings;
- Record the child's observed behavior and progress, and address behavioral difficulties; and
- Communicate with the child's caseworker and other professionals, such as attorney or Guardian ad Litem (GAL), court-appointed special advocate (CASA), therapists, physicians and law enforcement.