Child Foster Care - What to Expect?
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 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 provide a nurturing and stable environment in which a child can progress mentally, physical, emotionally, and socially. They provide children with guidance, discipline, and safety as well as addressing a child's unique needs.
Depending on the child's particular needs, care typically can include:
*Providing appropriate clothing
*Providing children' basic physical and emotional needs
*Providing a separate bed and place for his/her belongings
*Transporting children to medical and dental appointments
*Attending recreational and enrichment activities
*Monitoring school attendance and performance; noting special needs and recognizing accomplishments
*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.
*Providing consistent and realistic discipline and guidance that is age appropriate and does not involve corporal punishement
The rewards of being a foster parent for children include doing the little things every day that show you care; taking the children to school, to medical appointments, providing meals, reading a bedtime story, and teaching 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 having a profound impact on a child's life is immensely rewarding.
*Be a positive influence in the life of a child
*Make a difference in families and communities
*Share in the growth of a child
*Help a child build a foundation on which to be successful in the community
*Contribute to the lives of children and families
*Tell bedtime stories
*Attend local school, team, cultural and social events with a child
*Help provide a sense of belonging for the child
*Be a caring adult in the life of a youth; possibly beyond the time the youth is in your home
*Assisting the youth to learn independent living skills
*Helping a youth transition to adulthood
*Assisting the youth to pursue post-secondary education or employment
Support and Reimbursement
Children who are in transition from one home to another depend on many people; parents who are responsible for visiting their children and correcting conditions that led to the children's removal; police officers and court officials who may have removed children from their homes and placed them in foster care; and foster parents and other providers who are responsible for protecting, nurturing and caring for the children placed with them.
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 who will help you through the licensing process and is available for ongoing support and consultation
*The child protection or children's mental health worker who will work with the child and the biological family and create a plan for the
child to either be reunified with the parent(s) or another permanency option
*The guardian ad litem who will represent what is in the best interest of the child to the court
*Other agency and community professionals working with the child and family
Reimbursement for the expenses involved with caring for children is available. 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.