Trust us, we know that the choice to become a foster parent is a big and very personal decision. We know that you will have many questions along the way, to help we’ve listed some of the most frequently asked questions that we receive from prospective foster parents. Browse the list, and if you still have questions, feel free to book a call with one of our staff members.
How do I become a foster parent?
The first step to becoming a Foster parent is to attend an Information Meeting to learn more about the children, the state foster care system, and the requirements for approval.
What qualities should I possess to become a foster parent?
A Foster Parent needs to have a heart and compassion for children and be willing to do what is required or needed to provide them with their best days! Our foster parents are a variety of ages, may be single, married, divorced, or widowed, and must have a source of income to maintain their household. We encourage our families to be flexible in sharing their interest with children and open to learning new interests or hobbies for the sake of the children.
Do I need special training to become a foster parent?
Foster Parents are required to complete IMPACT training which is a pre-service training for anyone wishing to foster or adopt through the State Foster Care system in Georgia.
How long will the children stay in my home?
When children first come into care, it is unknown how long they might need their temporary home. It may be as short as a few weeks or as long as eighteen months; the average is eight to nine months.
Where will children placed in my home come from?
Children coming into your home could be from anywhere in Georgia; however, there is a goal to have children placed within fifty miles of their biological families and every effort is made to have this be the case!
Must I take any children you place with me?
No, information will be shared with you about children who fall into the age range for which you have been approved. Together we will determine, with the information provided us about this child or children, if they might be a good match for your home. You are always able to say no.
Will I meet the children before they move in?
Although there are a few circumstances when you might meet children before their placement, the majority of the time your first meeting will be at the time of placement. The exception would be if children are moving from a relative or another foster home on a planned basis and pre-placement visits can be arranged. Most often children are coming straight from their own homes and such visits are not feasible.
Do the children you place with me need their own bedroom?
Some children need or desire their own bedroom, but it is possible for them to share a room with another foster child or with one of your children. Age and gender of children, as well as the history of the child, are taken into consideration.
What kind of support will I receive?
UMCH provides you with support through your family’s assigned Foster Care Worker, through our 24/7 on call system, access to clothing, diapers, school supplies and baby equipment, a strong volunteer network to offer additional assistance such as meals and babysitting, as well as extra financial support through our incidental fund for the enrichment of the children.
Do foster parents get paid?
Foster parents receive a per diem or daily stipend to assist in the care of each child on a reimbursement basis each month. In addition, medical, pharmacy, dental and therapy needs are covered as is the costs of day care. A clothing allowance is received. So, although foster parents do not get “paid”, there is financial assistance for most of the expenses of caring for children.
What if I’m overwhelmed?
Your UMCH Foster Care Worker or one of our “on call staff” is available to you on a daily basis for support, advice, and encouragement during the adjustment period of the initial placement as well as during other times of stress. Respite care is available in the event you have a family emergency which needs your attention or on a planned basis to allow time for refreshment.
What form of discipline am I allowed to use?
Physical discipline or corporal punishment are strictly prohibited for foster children; therefore, time is spent in IMPACT training discussing other forms of discipline such as restrictions, time outs, the withholding of privileges, and re-directing. Your Foster Care Worker is a great resource for assisting in determining the best choice for the children in your home.
Do children ever become available for adoption?
UMCH approves homes as foster homes and children come into your home as foster children with the plan of reunification with their family. However, over a period of time, it may be determined that this children cannot be reunified with their family. In these cases, the children will move to an adoptive tract and an adoptive home will be sought. Often, the foster family caring for them chooses to become this adoptive home or another adoptive home is identified.