Frequently Asked Questions about Becoming a Foster Parent
What is foster care?
Foster Care is a temporary home for children and youth who need out-of-home care due to abuse, neglect, and/or abandonment. The goal of foster care is to provide a safe, stable, and loving home to children who have been removed from their home. In addition, foster families are committed to working with biological families to help reunite children with their parents, when possible.
What is a foster parent?
A foster parent is someone who has been trained and certified by an authorized foster care agency that provides care to children who have been placed in the custody of the state foster care system. Foster families provide loving care in their own homes. Foster families may become a permanent caregiver for a child through either adoption or guardianship, in the event that a child is not able to be reunited with their biological family.
Foster families include individuals, couples, and families.
What are the financial requirements to be a foster parent?
There are no specific financial requirements to become a foster parent but you must have adequate income to meet your own family’s needs before being a foster parent. You will be asked to verify financial stability by providing proof of income and completing a budget during the licensing process.
Are there any restrictions to becoming a foster parent based on age, ethnicity, marital status, or sexual orientation?
DCCCA does not have any restrictions based on ethnicity, marital status, or sexual orientation. To become a foster parent you must be at least 21 years of age.
Will I receive financial assistance as a foster parent?
DCCCA issues reimbursement to foster families two times each month. Reimbursements can be received by check or by Direct Deposit to your checking or savings account.
How much room do I need in my home to foster?
Your home will need adequate space for each foster child and their possessions. Each bedroom used by a foster child needs to be at least 70 square feet for one child or 45 square feet per child for more than one child in a room. Each child must have their own bed. Foster children can share a room with your own children as long as that is deemed appropriate. Foster children sharing a room should be within 3 years of each other and once a child is 5 years old, they must share a room with children of the same gender. Additionally, unless a child is under the age of one-year, foster children cannot share a bedroom with their foster parents. In order for a child under 12 months to share a bedroom with the foster parents, the bedroom must be 130 square feet.
Do I have a choice in which children are placed into my home?
Yes. At DCCCA we match our foster children to the family’s identified preferences so that we can ensure the best possible experience for both the foster parents and the child. When we contact you regarding a child, we will provide you with as much information as possible so that you can make the best, well informed decision for your family.
How long will a foster child remain in my home?
Each foster child’s family situation and experience is different. Some foster children might be in foster care a few days, a few months, or a few years depending on the family situation.
There are different types of fostering opportunities available. That allows a more flexible time commitment outside of the traditional concept of 24-7 foster parenting.
Will I be required to work with the foster child’s biological family?
The goal of foster care is for a child to acquire security and permanency as soon as possible; this often includes reunification with their biological family.
What does the phrase “Bridge” mean when referring to foster care?
Bridging is a term used to describe the foster parents’ collaboration with the biological family to ensure the overall wellbeing and care of the child. Bridging includes keeping connections to family, culture, and community. Bridging is meant to reduce the amount of trauma a child in the foster care system experiences, while increasing the chances of permanency.
What are the expectations of foster parents?
- Complete pre-service training and ongoing annual trainings
- Provide supervision, protection, and care to the foster child
- Respect and encourage the child’s and birth parents’ rights, values, and beliefs
- Provide positive parental role modeling to empower the child and birth parents
- Provide transportation (as appropriate)
- Teach life skills
- Participate in case planning and be an active member of the treatment team
- Maintain medical records
- Meet medical and behavioral needs
- Provide for personal, behavioral, social, spiritual, and medical needs of the foster child
- Encourage participation in appropriate activities (educational, socialization, personal growth)
- Maintain clean and safe home conditions
- Report all concerns/problems to your worker in a timely manner
- Update DCCCA worker on all changes with the child and/or foster family status
- Establish and maintain effective working relationship with foster child, birth parents, DCCCA, or placing agency workers, law enforcement, related community agencies, and the general public
- Prepare and cooperate with plans to transition children into another placement as determined by the case plan or court order
As a DCCCA foster parent what type of support will I receive?
- Trained and experienced Specialists available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to provide support to your family
- A continuum of services that include local trainings, support groups, resources, and activities for every family
- Monthly newsletter to help keep you current on new policies and connected with other foster parents
- Multiple foster family parties and activities across the state each year
- Twice a month reimbursement for the children in your care
- Foster children’s physical and mental health needs should be completely paid for through Medicaid coverage
- Daycare assistance is available through DCF
- Your family specialist will work with you to match your home with children to ensure the best home placement for the children and your family
Is daycare assistance provided to foster parents?
Yes. Daycare assistance is available. Once a child is in the foster home, the foster parents can submit the application for Foster Care Child Care (FCCC) assistance. The child care provider does have to accept EBT payment from DCF. If you are unable to locate child care that accepts the EBT payment, there is an exception process to request approval.
What medical insurance is available for foster children?
Foster children are Medicaid eligible and can receive medical, dental, vision, and mental health services at no cost.
Can I adopt a foster child in my home?
If the biological parents’ parental rights are terminated and the foster child’s permanency goal is adoption, then you may be eligible to adopt the child. Please note, not every foster child will be adoptable.
Why does a child come into foster care?
Children often come into the custody of the state through no fault of their own. Reasons often include abuse, neglect, and/or abandonment by their parents and/or caregivers.
What are the costs of becoming a foster parent?
Pre-service training and background checks – options will be available at no cost. There may be minimal costs associated with obtaining a medical exam (e.g. a physical exam) and ensuring your home meets safety standards (e.g. smoke detectors and child-proof locks).
Can a foster child share a room with another child?
Yes. Foster children who are under the age of 5 can share a room with other children regardless of gender; when children reach age 5 they are required to only share a bedroom with children of the same gender. Special circumstances or situations may be arranged if it is determined appropriate.
Can I enroll the foster child in my school district?
Yes. Best practice to reduce trauma for children in foster care is to allow them to remain in their current schools but that is not always an option. If a child matched and placed in your home can not attend their previous school you will need to immediately enroll them in the school district in which your family resides.
Can I foster if I live in an apartment?
You can live in an apartment, home, or condo that you rent or own if you want to become a foster parent. You must have adequate space for a child to sleep, play, store their possessions, and provide a safe home that meets the standards required for licensing.
How many children will be placed in my home?
State regulations do not allow for there to be more than 6 kids under 16 in the foster home. The maximum number of children a family can license for is 4. The number of children that will be placed in your home will also be dependent upon many different circumstances:
- The number of children you are open to being matched with at one time
- The age of the children
- The number of children your home and vehicles can safely hold
- The number of children (biological/adopted) who currently live in your home.
- Some placements will require special permissions, extra visits, or extra supports that may affect the number of children that will be placed in your home at one time
FAQ for Licensing of Foster Homes
What are the basic steps to becoming a foster parent?
- Call 1.877.306.6250, go to https://www.DCCCA.org/fosternow/ to make an inquiry, or email email@example.com
- One of our specialized staff will follow up with you to answer any additional questions and schedule an initial visit at your home.
- You will enroll and begin the pre-service training and fingerprinting process (at no cost to you).
- You will complete all licensing paperwork and a Family Assessment through the course of interviews, home visits, and personal reference checks.
- The Department for Children and Families (DCF) Licensing Division will come to your home to complete a walkthrough.
- If in compliance at the time of the DCF Licensing walkthrough, a license will be requested and once received, you can begin fostering!
Are there any restrictions based on age, ethnicity, marital status, or sexual orientation?
What are the screening requirements?
- Kansas Bureau of Investigation name checks, and Child and Adult abuse registry checks for every member in the home 10 and older
- Fingerprints for every member in the home 14 and older
- Out of state background checks for every member in the home 18 and older
- Driving record checks for the foster parents
- Safety inspection of the foster home