Frequently Asked Questions About Foster Care

What are the requirements for being a foster parent?

You can be single or married, over the age of 25, and have NO criminal record. The rest is an assortment of application documents that must be completed and acquired, such as your DMV driving record, CPR and First Aid Certificates and a physical and TB test. Foster families must be willing to have their homes safety inspected and are required to complete 12 hours of pre-certification training and maintain 12 hours of training annually.

Do I have to make a lot of money to be a foster parent?

Foster parents must have sufficient regular income to sustain their family without relying on the foster family reimbursement. (Unfortunately, AFDC, temporary disability, student loans and unemployment compensation do not qualify as income.)

Can foster parents work outside the home?

Families for Children has working parents and stay-at-home parents who serve many types of children. Each child’s situation must be evaluated individually and some children have needs that require a full-time at-home parent. Working parents must have some flexibility in their work schedule so that the foster children can be transported to scheduled visitations, appointments, etc. which typically occur during regular working hours. As a working parent you need to develop a child care plan that includes after-school care and care for school vacations and holidays as foster children must be supervised by an adult 24 hours a day.

Can single people apply to be foster parents?

We recognize that single parents can give high quality care to a child. Single parents need to identify a back-up provider who can care for your foster children in your absence or illness, as foster children require 24-hour adult supervision.

What are the requirements for transporting children?

Foster parents are responsible for transporting foster children to school, doctor appointments, after-school activities, etc., just as they are for their own children. In addition, foster parents are responsible for transporting the foster children to and from all court-ordered visitations which normally occur during working hours. All vehicles must be in good running order and there must be enough seats, seatbelts, car seats and infant car seats available for the family. In addition, we require that both parents have a valid California Driver’s license, current auto insurance and the ability to drive.

Will I meet the child before he/she is placed in my home?

The referring county social worker is usually working with tight time constraints and therefore "pre-placement visits" are generally not feasible. We will give you all the information we receive from the county social worker about the child initially and as it is received. You will need to be prepared to make a decision about fostering a particular child based solely on information we give you over the phone.

Will I get to choose the age and/or sex of the child placed in my home?

As part of the application and home study you will identify the age and sex of child or children that would be most appropriate for your home.

Once I am certified, how long will it take to get a foster child placed in my home?

The timing of placements depends on the situation of the foster children in the foster system. We match children to available homes based on the child’s needs, your criteria (age, sex, siblings, etc.) and the criteria of the placing social worker. Placements may be made within a couple days of being licensed or can take several months.

Can the foster child go to the school my children attend?

For continuity of education services, foster children are generally placed in foster homes in their "home" school district unless the foster parent is willing to transport the child on a daily basis to the child’s home school district.

Does it cost anything to become a foster parent?

There are minimal out-of-pocket costs associated with completion of the Live Scan (fingerprinting) and the CPR/First Aid training. Once you are certified we will reimburse the fees you and your spouse/partner incurred for fulfilling these requirements. In addition, there may be out-of-pocket expenses related to ensuring your home meets the home safety checklist and these expenses are not reimbursed.

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