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Foster care is the temporary placement of children and youth with families outside of their own home due to situations such as child abuse or neglect. The goal is to provide a safe, stable, nurturing environment.
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A foster parent is a person who cares for children/youth who are not in their custody, children and youth who have entered the foster care system. Foster parenting is an opportunity to make a difference in a child’s life during a time of crisis. Foster parents care about children and are willing and able to provide care and nurturing for the duration of the child's stay in foster care. Foster family care is a temporary arrangement until a child’s permanent plan is achieved, such as return to their own families or adoption. Foster parents are asked to complete an application, submit to home assessments and attend training. Foster families must demonstrate financial and emotional stability, responsibility and a willingness to work with the agency that supervises their home.
You are encouraged to be informed. Watch the required orientation video here. Gather information about foster parenting, talk to other foster parents, then contact your local social services office to sign up for their next foster parent orientation session. There are a number of ways to get information about orientation schedules:
Should you decide that you do not have sufficient room in your home or that you are unable to provide full time care for another child in your home, we encourage you to explore alternative ways to support foster care.
Foster parent certification follows mandates set by Louisiana law, Bureau of Licensing requirements and agency policy. The following requirements must be fulfilled prior to an individual or couple being certified to provide care for children. Individuals or couples must:
Although foster care regulations vary from state to state, there are some universal requirements:
Yes. You may have to work with the child’s birth parent. The Department of Social Services Foster Parent Program is comprised of a team of persons working together to do what is in the best interest of children. Foster Parents are critical members of that team. The goal for a child placed in the Department of Social Services custody is to achieve safety and permanency as soon as possible, which includes working with the child’s parents towards reunification.
Monthly board payments are made to certified foster parents to reimburse for the cost of caring for a child. Board payments are to help meet the daily needs of the child for shelter, food, clothing, allowance and incidental expenses. Board payments are determined by the child’s age. The child’s health and dental needs are covered by Medicaid.
Unfortunately, no. Social workers do their best to match a foster child with a foster family who can best meet the child’s needs. Some foster parents prefer to work with teenage children, while others do better with young children. You, however, will be able to specify the age and gender of the child you prefer.
he length of time that a child stays in a foster home varies according to the plans for reunification with their biological family. Children may be in foster care for only a few days up to 12 months or more. The length of stay is influenced by the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997. The goal is to seek a permanent placement for the child as quickly as possible, be it reunification with the birth parents, kinship care, or adoption. If the child cannot be reunited with their biological family, the child will be placed in a permanent home. Placement is for as long as it takes to achieve a permanent placement for the child, whether the plan be for reunification with the child's family, placement with relatives, or adoption.
Yes. Single persons and married couples are generally accepted as foster parents.
Each family or child is assigned a case manager who is responsible for providing support to each family. Supportive services (respite care, training, crisis lines, etc.) are provided by the licensing agency. Support is also available through state and local associations.
Foster children are eligible for Medicaid cards which cover medical, dental and counseling services.
Yes. For families where both parents work full time day-care can be provided.
Foster parents receive a reimbursement which is intended to cover the cost of food and clothing. In addition, each child will receive a $200 clothing stipend 2 times per year.
In most cases, foster children can share a bedroom with another child of the same sex. Each foster child must have their own bed and dresser.
The first goal is to reunify a child with his/her family. In the event that the child cannot return home or be placed with other relatives, foster parents have first consideration as adoptive parents.
Many families are interested in both fostering and adopting. They agree with the agency that the needs of the child come first. In most cases, this means that they help prepare children for reunification with their birth family or toward a relative or kinship placement. When termination of parental rights is in the child’s best interest and adoption is the child’s plan, then foster parents who have cared for the child will be given the opportunity to apply for adoption.
Yes, with permission of the child's social worker.