Wednesday, April 8, 2015

foster answers: part 5

How regulated is your home?  Are there regular calls / visits from the kids' caseworkers?
Each year the licensor visits your home twice - one scheduled visit at (re)licensing time (in the first year, this is the home study), and one unannounced visit.  The unannounced visit is to make sure you're still following the rules you committed to (and that there aren't, for example, medicine bottles being kept on the counter instead of locked up).

In case it hasn't been made clear so far, there are two caseworkers involved - one is ours (mine and Joel's) and the other is the kids'.  They call ours an RFC.  She clarifies policy changes for us, tells us about upcoming education opportunities for maintaining our license, answers questions about filling out paperwork, does her best to help if we're having trouble with our kids... that kind of thing.  She's a huge resource for us.  She sends emails every so often to check up and visits our home every couple months.  These, so far, have always been scheduled visits.

The kids' caseworker's main responsibility is to the case.  She goes to court, supervises visits with parents, works with the parents, etc.  She visits our home once a month to talk with all of us (meaning Joel, the kids, and I), talk with just Joel and me if there's information the kids shouldn't know yet, and talk privately with the kids to make sure things are going well at our house.  

What are the requirements if you already have kids?  (ex: If you have daughters, can you only foster girls?)
If you already have children, the main requirements are concerning bedrooms.  Boys can't share rooms with girls, and there needs to still be the proper amount of bedroom square footage per foster child.  You may choose to only foster girls if you have daughters, but there are no requirements I know of that would force that.  They do ask that you only accept a proposed placement if you feel it would work well with your current children. (Example: Would you accept a child who is older than your oldest?)

Do you have to own a home to be a foster parent?  What if you move?
(I know I promised an answer, but I'm currently waiting for a response from my RFC to make sure my answer was correct.)

How long, on average, do you foster a child?
The average time is one year.  

Do you have any idea how long your kids will stay with you?
Short answer: No.  Long answer: Legally, I can't say much.  I can say that whatever happens will be pretty drawn-out.  By that - as far as I know - I don't mean two years, but you can't know parents'  future decisions.  Every situation is unique.  The younger the children, the more predictable the time frame (because DCFS wants infants in a stable environment quickly - within about 18 months).  The older they get, the fuzzier the time frame gets.

Do you have any hope of adopting, or do you want to just stick with fostering?
I kind of answered this in Part 3, but here's a more straight-forward answer.  Joel and I started fostering with the understanding (between each other) that, if any of our cases led to children needing to be adopted, we'd probably do it.  I say "probably" because there always circumstances you can't predict, but the way we see it, if we love the children enough to keep them for the long drawn-out process that leads to termination of parental rights, we'd love them enough to keep them forever.  So, fostering is what we set out to do, but we are absolutely open and willing to adopt.  I don't want to say we hope for it, though, because I honestly want to root for all our kids' parents to straighten out.

How do visitations work?  How much do you know about where they came from?  Do they bring belongings with them?  and some more. :)

Previous posts on this topic:
Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4


The woman gave an angry little titter.  “Think your little jokes’ll help you on your deathbed then?” she jeered.
“Jokes?  No, no, these are manners,” replied Dumbledore.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince


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