Foster Parent FAQ
What would be my role as a foster parent?
The need for foster parents currently ranks among the most pressing in the child welfare system. Our North Florida counties have a shortage of foster families. Becoming a foster parent offers a wonderful opportunity to make a profound difference in the life of a child by:
- Creating a stable and nurturing environment
- Helping a child feel safe and secure
- Building a child’s self esteem
- Regaining a sense of trust in others
- Helping a child learn and grow
Foster parents can be married, single or divorced, homeowners or renters, as young as 21 years of age or senior citizens. Foster parents open their hearts and homes to children who have experienced maltreatment at the hands of someone that they know and trust. These children need your love and support to help shape their future.
How can I get started?
It’s easy. Contact us and you will be assigned a licensing specialist who will talk with you, complete a home study and walk you through each stage of the process. Included is our informative Quality Parenting Training class where you’ll get started with eight weeks of training, one night a week; monthly foster care stipends; and additional training opportunities.
To request a printed inquiry package, please contact us at (850) 522-4485, ext. 8404 or toll free at (866) 769-9481. You can also email us at [email protected].
What is a foster parent?
A foster parent is a professional parent who provides substitute, temporary care for dependent children. The partnership goal of the foster parent(s), Life Management Center and the Department of Children and Families is to reunite foster children and their parents and to rebuild the family whenever possible. Foster parents are a very important bridge between a child’s past and his or her future.
How long will foster children stay in my home?
Children may remain in the home for a few months or as long as a year or more.
How old do I have to be to be a foster parent?
You must be 21 years of age to be a foster parent.
Do I have to be married to be a foster parent?
You do not have to be married to be a foster parent.
Can I work and be a foster parent?
Most foster parents work outside the home and there may be some funds to assist with daycare services.
Will I receive training on how to be a foster parent?
There is a mandatory training called Quality Parenting Training (QPT). This training is 24 hours and encompasses an 8 week cycle. Foster parents are also required to have an additional 8 hours of training per year to meet annual re-licensure requirements. This training can be easily completed through attendance at Foster Parent Association meetings and other training opportunities provided by Life Management Center.
Do foster children visit their families?
Yes. These visits are arranged by a Department of Children and Families caseworker. The caseworker and the court system determine how often they occur. The visits can range from an hour in the agency office to overnight or weekend visits.
What about vacations, medical care, etc.?
Foster children are part of your family. This means they go on vacation with you, you take them to regular doctors visits and you interact with their school as necessary.
Is there financial help?
Foster parents are reimbursed by what is called a monthly board rate. These rates vary according to the age of the child and whether you provide a regular, therapeutic or medical foster home. Therapeutic and medical foster parents require additional training. Foster parents cannot be dependent on these payments to care for the children. The Medicaid program covers medical expenses for all foster children.
Do I have to take every child I am asked to take?
No. You have the final word on whether or not to accept a foster child into your home. Every effort is made to determine the age, race, sex and number of children you are prepared to accept into your home. Foster children need to be placed into homes where they are wanted. The children need foster parents who are able to parent children with a variety of needs, as well as the willingness and strength to help children heal over time.
May I ask for removal of a child from my home?
Yes. However, every effort will be made to work with you to remedy negative issues. Each time a child is moved between homes, more damage is likely. Therefore, it is critical that the children remain in their initial placement home. You, as a foster parent, have access to the ongoing assistance necessary to maintain children successfully in your home.
Thank you for considering foster parenting. There are children who need your help.