Wednesday, April 1, 2015

foster answers: part 2

How much say do you get in which kids you foster?
All of it.  I get a phone call that goes something like this: [this is totally imaginary] "Hello, this is Lindsey from DCFS.  I wanted to see if you'd be interested in a placement.  It's three kids - an 8-year-old boy, a 4-year-old girl, and a 6-month-old girl.  These are their issues, as far as we know: ____.  This is why they have those issues, as far as we know: _____.  If you say yes, we'd drop them off in about two hours.  What do you think?"  Then I call Joel and tell him everything I was told, we pray about it, and call back with a yes or no.  In the training classes, they really stressed the fact that, if you don't think the placement is a good match for your family, you should say no.  They want kids to have as stable an environment as possible, so they don't want to remove them in six weeks if you can't get along.

Can you make requests about the children you receive? (sex, age, disabilities, how many...)
Yes!  When you first tell DCFS you're interested in getting training, they ask your preferences.  They ask again during the home study, and then you also get to decide when you get the phone calls.  As far as I've experienced, they try pretty hard to place you with kids who match your preferences.  They ask about sex, age, disability, race / nationality, language spoken, number of children, and behavior issues.  (Ours, if you're curious now - in the order I listed - either, 0-5*, depends, any, English or Spanish, willing to take sibling groups*, and depends.)  As far as the behavior issues go, they give you a list and you check which ones you'd definitely take, which you'd consider, and which you definitely wouldn't take.  Behaviors include bedwetting, animal cruelty, lying, pregnancy... and everything in between.

*Note: They don't always know all the kids' behavior issues, so sometimes you end up with things you didn't know about because no one else knew, either.

*Because we're willing to take sibling groups, we've also said we're willing to go older than 5 if it means being able to keep siblings together.  However, even in those situations, we don't (currently) want to go older than elementary school (about 11 years old).

*Sibling group size: Our house is legally allowed to sleep 14 foster kids and a baby.  (Kids up to two years old can sleep in your bedroom.)  We wouldn't go that high right away hahaha :) but are currently open to groups up to four-ish.  It'd depend on the situation.

Are you worried about getting children with problems like lying, stealing, breaking things...?
This kind of goes with the question above, and the answer is... kind of.  Haha :)  I would have a harder time accepting children with known destructive behaviors.  The other two examples bother me less.  

*They only send the really difficult cases to people with a higher level of certification.  There are a few levels; Joel and I are Level 1.  I don't know what Level 2 is like, so we may do that someday, but we're not (currently) interested in going higher than that (where you have pregnancies and suicidal kids and stuff).

Are the children with you 24/7 (not counting school, etc.), or do they spend the days with other families and nights with you?
They are with us as if they were our biological children.  They live with us day and night.  As cases improve and kids get closer to going home, they get to do overnight stays with their biological family.  Also, if Joel and I need a break, we can request respite care.  This is basically like babysitting but can be overnight.  (more on this later)  But except in those couple of cases, they're with us all the time.

Do they go to the same school as your kids, or do you have to take them to a different school?
It depends on where their old school is in relation to your home.  If it's a reasonable distance to drive every day, they ask that you take the child to his/her old school (to help keep some stability in his/her life).  More often than not (in my experience and with others I know), it's too far to be considered reasonable, and the foster parents end up enrolling them in the school the rest of their kids go to.

Do you get paid?  What do they call you?  and some more. :)

More questions?


                                           "Please do not use that offensive word in front of me," said Dumbledore.
                             Malfoy gave a harsh laugh.  "You care about me saying 'Mudblood' when I'm about to kill you?"
                                                                         "Yes, I do," said Dumbledore..."
                                                                   Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince


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