Am I Ready to be a Foster Parent?
The following FAQ questionnaire serves only as a guide for helping to determine if you may be ready to become a foster parent.
Do You Have Enough Room In Your Home To Temporarily House A Child?
You must have enough bedroom space to foster a child. Also, you must be able to provide the child with his or her own bed. A child in care may share a bedroom with your child or another child in care. However, the child may not share a bedroom with any individual over age 18. Also, adults cannot move out of their bedroom and sleep on the couch to make room for the child.
Can Your Home Pass A Safety Inspection?
It is important that children live in a safe and clean environment. During the homestudy process, a representative will conduct a safety and fire inspection of your house or apartment. Your home must be free of danger and garbage. You must have working smoke detectors and a fire extinguisher. You must pass this inspection to be eligible to be a foster parent.
Are You Physically And Emotionally Capable Of Caring For Children?
Being a foster parent can be demanding. You must be physically healthy and emotionally healthy to care for foster children. You will be interviewed regarding your own childhood experiences and your family relations.
Do You Have A History Or Record Of Abuse Or Neglect?
If you have been investigated by Child Protective Services in the past, you may not be eligible to become a foster parent. This includes substantiated cases of abuse and neglect or if your own child had to be placed in foster care.
Do You Have An Adequate Income To Meet Your Own Family's Current Needs?
While you don't have to be rich to be a foster parent, you must have enough income to meet your own family's needs. During the homestudy, you will be asked to provide proof of income. You should keep in mind that foster parents only receive funding to help offset the cost of raising a child--it is often not enough to fully offset the expenses.
Is Your Current Relationship and Home Stable?
Foster parents can be single, married, divorced or separated, but the home and family must be stable.
Has An Adult In Your Home Ever Been Convicted Of A Crime?
If you or any adult residing in your home has been convicted of certain criminal offenses, you cannot be a foster parent. Each adult member of your household will be fingerprinted.
Are You Ready To Begin The Homestudy Process?
You are ready to begin if your life and home are stable. "Stable" means that you are not about to move and are not having financial, marital or emotional difficulties. If you rent, you will need your landlord's approval. Also, your home must be in good repair. Overall, you must have given serious thought to the decision to become a foster parent.
There are many other considerations that affect the decision to become a foster parent. We hope that this helps to answer some of your initial questions. This form was adapted for Virginia families from United for Families of Florida.
If you remain interested in becoming a foster parent, please contact your local department of social services or private child placing agencies serving your area.
Foster Parenting is HEART work! It is an amazing experience for families and the children needing a place to call home.