What to Expect as a Foster Parent
You have love in your heart and want to help children or adults through tough times; but you are wondering what it's like to be a foster care provider on a daily basis. How will it impact your schedule? Your family?
Foster care providers that care for young children and teens providing a nurturing, stable environment in which a child can progress mentally, physically, emotionally, and socially. They provide children with guidance, discipline, and safety, as well as addressing a child's special needs.
What Care Includes
Depending on the child's particular needs, care typically includes:
- Attending recreational and enrichment activities
- Helping children through the grieving and adjustment process that accompanies removal from their own home and placement
- Maintaining a record for children of their time in care, including developmental milestones, photographs, report cards, etc.
- Monitoring school attendance, performance, note special needs and accomplishments
- Providing appropriate clothing
- Providing children's basic physical and emotional needs
- Providing consistent and realistic discipline and guidance that is age appropriate and does not involve corporal punishment
- Providing a separate bed and place for his/her belongings
- Transporting children to medical and dental appointments
The rewards of being a foster parent for children include doing the little things every day that show you care - take the children to school, take them to an appointment, fix dinner, read a bedtime story, and teach life skills along the way. Basically you provide daily care and guidance with acceptance and patience. There will be challenges along the way, but knowing you are making a profound impact on a person's life is immensely rewarding.
- Attend local school, team, cultural, and social events with a child
- Be a positive influence in the life of a child
- Contribute to the lives of children and families
- Help a child build a foundation on which to be successful in the community
- Make a difference in families and communities
- Share in the growth of a child
- Tell bedtime stories
- Assisting the youth to learn independent living skills
- Assisting the youth to pursue post-secondary education or employment
- Be a caring adult in the life of a youth - possibly beyond the time the youth is in your home
- Helping a youth transition to being an adult
Support and Reimbursement
Child Foster Care
Children who are in transition from one home to another setting depend on many people who are responsible for them, including their parents who are responsible for visiting their children and correcting conditions that led to their removal; police officers and court officials who may removed children from their homes and place them in foster care; county case managers who provide services to the children in foster care and their families; and foster parents and other providers who are responsible for protecting, nurturing and caring for the children placed with them.
Child Foster Care Team
As a child foster care provider, you will be part of a team supporting the child placed in your home. Included in the team are:
- The Licensing Social Worker helps you through the licensing process and is available for ongoing support and consultation.
- The Child Protection or Children's Mental Health Social Workers work with the child and the biological family and create the plan for the child to either be reunified with the parents or for another permanency option.
- The Guardian Ad Litem represents what is in the best interest of the child back to the court.
- Other agency and community professionals working with the child and family.
Reimbursement for the expenses involved with caring for children is helpful. Foster care providers receive a per diem per child in their care and may also receive additional payment to care for a child's special needs.
There are guidelines for determining the amount of financial support to foster care providers. Funds available to foster care providers vary on a case-by-case basis, depending on the needs of the child and the efforts of the foster parent to meet those needs. For more information, visit Northstar Care for Children.