Thursday, April 2, 2015

foster answers: part 3

Do most people foster with the intent to adopt, or do you have to view all situations as temporary?
When you first sign up, they ask if you're signing up for foster care, foster to adopt, respite, or kinship.  (I think that's all.)  There are no absolutes or definites in foster care, since everything depends on people's [the parents'] choices, but here's the breakdown: Foster care has a higher chance of being temporary than foster to adopt, respite is when you take care of kids for a short time - like a weekend when the foster parents need a break - and kinship is when you're taking care of a family member's child(ren).  Joel and I do foster care, but we're open to adoption if any of our cases lead to that.  I don't know the statistics of everyone, but of the people in our training classes, it was about 50/50 foster and kinship.  Of the foster, about half of those were hoping to adopt.

Joel and I love our kids very much and hope they get to go home as long as that's the best place to be.  They love their family and want to be with them, so that's what we want for them.  We decided early on to always root for the family honestly (and not secretly pray they mess up).  However, if things go badly and our kids ended up needing adoption, we'd do it in a heartbeat.

Do you get paid to do foster care?  How much?  Is it a payment or just enough to cover expenses?

Yes, you get paid.  It's set up as a per-day amount and depends on the age and "difficulty" of the child.  (You're paid more to care for children with harder behaviors.)  With our two children, we get just under $1000/month.  Whether that's a payment or just enough to cover expenses depends on how frugal you are, I guess.  :)  They also reimburse for case-related travel.  (Example: For miles to and from therapy, you get reimbursed something like .38/mile.)  To help prevent people from fostering to make money, they ask for pay stubs and the amounts of all your monthly bills (just during the licensing process, not all the time) to make sure you have a livable income without the DCFS check.

What do your kids call you?
On the first day of a placement, we tell the kids they can call us Joel and Alison or Mom and Dad, since we're the mom and dad of this house.  So far, they've mostly called us Joel and Alison, but sometimes Mom(my) and Dad(dy).  We've had one who, when he's in a  public situation where he doesn't feeling like explaining foster care to people, calls us Mom and Dad, but Joel and Alison the rest of the time.

Can you foster kids if you have animals?

Yes! But they won't call you if the child they're placing has a problem with animal cruelty.

What resources are available to help your foster child? Who pays for them?

SO MANY.  In fact, they just put out a magazine this month to make sure we knew about more of them.  As far as resources we utilize - both kids have weekly play therapy paid for by the state.  All school-age foster kids have a mentor / tutor who meets with them once a week.  There are training classes all the time (for us, not the kids).  They're always on different topics, so you can attend those that apply to your situation.  There's holiday help (like the Angel Tree and an extra stipend per child at Christmas time).  There are storage units full of donations (clothes, backpacks, books, sheets, school supplies...).  Foster kids have Medicaid.  They also have a lawyer.  (In every case, there are three lawyers - one for the state, one for the parents / family, and one for the kids.)  If they want to join a club / team / take lessons, etc., fees can be paid by the state or through Wishing Well.  Kids who age out of the foster care system get help finding a place to live, paying for college, and paying for medical expenses for a certain number of years.  There are also many people and businesses in the community who donate free or discounted resources.  That's what Wishing Well is.  There's a local Kung Fu place that gives free classes to kids in foster families.  Thursday's Heroes teamed up with the Utah Foster Care Foundation to throw a BYU Football Foster Family Day, where foster families got to meet / take pictures with / hang out with the BYU football coaches and team members.  There are a ton of resources!

What happens if you want to take a trip?
In-state: You have to tell the kids' caseworker.  S/He is actually the legal guardian, so if a natural disaster happens or something, s/he needs to know if you took a trip to three hours away to go camping where there's no reception.

Out-of-state and you want to take the child with you: You need permission from the caseworker and, I believe, the parents.  Then you take them as if it were a normal family vacation.

Out-of-state and cannot or do not want to take the child: (I don't mean you're taking everyone but the foster child - I'm not heartless!  Imagine it's your anniversary or something.:)  There's a thing called respite care.  Y'know how, at your job, you build up paid vacation days?  Well, as a foster parent, you build up paid respite days.  You get one a month, but you can save them up.  When you want to use it, you let your caseworker know.  S/He will find a respite home or you can ask on the Facebook group if there's anyone available to help out.  Then, it's like if you were dropping your kids off at your in-laws' while you go on a cruise - you drop the kids off at the respite home while you're gone, but both you and the respite family get paid for those days.  (Remember how I told you the payment was per day?)

Next Tuesday:
What does the licensing process entail?  How long was it between becoming licensed and getting your first placement? and some more. :)

Previous posts on this topic:
Part 1, Part 2


“I haven’t got any options!” said Malfoy, and he was suddenly white as Dumbledore.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince


mdebaltzo said...

Next TUESDAY! I have to admit, I'm a bit disappointed with the delay, but I do understand that it has been a lot of information.

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