1. agentkirb
    Offline

    agentkirb Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2009
    Messages:
    494
    Likes Received:
    8
    Location:
    Houston

    Questions about foster care systems in USA...

    Discussion in 'Research' started by agentkirb, Jan 21, 2012.

    I was wondering if anyone here knew things about the foster care systems in the US for a story I'm writing... things like:

    How does someone get involved in being a foster parent? (I assuming there's a background check)
    What type of people usually end up getting involved? (single adults, married adults, older adults?)
    I understand that it's the intention for foster care to be temporary, but how long to people stay on average?
    If someone is a foster parent and wanted to get out of it... is it as simple as saying "I don't want to do this anymore."?
     
  2. BFGuru
    Offline

    BFGuru Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2011
    Messages:
    510
    Likes Received:
    25
    Location:
    Somewhere in insomiaville
    I will answer what I *do* know, and it's been a while since my parents did foster care so I can't remember who exactly they contacted to get started.

    I do know once contact has been made, background checks are done. Interviews of all living in the household and their children are made. The house is inspected and things as simple as hot water heaters must be set at a specific temperature so as to prevent burns accidentally from the tap (aka much colder than I am comfortable showering LOL). There is generally classes to take on non violent discipline and basic first aid. Once the house is determined safe, according to the social workers, the parents (normally husband and wife, but sometimes a couple living together in a long term heterosexual relationship, and depending on the state even homosexual relationships though some states are stupid in that respect and want to ensure fewer children get loving homes) are then contacted with a child. In our state, children of opposite genders can only share a room until a certain age (5 I believe). After that they can only room with someone of the same gender. I believe at a certain age they may also have to have their own rooms but don't quote me there.

    The birth parents may or may not get visitation rights. If so they generally take place on neutral ground, not the foster family's home.

    O.k. that's all I know for now. I'll leave it to the other experts.
     
  3. agentkirb
    Offline

    agentkirb Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2009
    Messages:
    494
    Likes Received:
    8
    Location:
    Houston
    Thank you for answering, because literally the only thing I knew about the ins and outs of foster care was from watching the movie Angels In The Outfield and CSI. So I'm sure I had it completely wrong.
     
  4. Berber
    Offline

    Berber Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2011
    Messages:
    146
    Likes Received:
    28
    Location:
    United States
    My aunt is a foster parent, and BFGuru covered most of the basics.

    Another thing you may want to note is that foster parents do receive aid in the form of a monthly reimbursement for the child's cost of living. I believe my aunt gets around $500 a month. However, the aid stops once a foster kid becomes an adult, usually at the age of 18. At this time, most kids are forced out of foster care and it is the leading reason why many who aren't adopted by the age of 18 (I believe the statistic was close to 50%) will wind up homeless.

    Also, once cleared by CPS, the biological parents of any child placed in foster care have every right to reclaim guardianship over the child. This was a terrible issue for my aunt who took in a two-year-old girl as a foster child a few years ago and raised her for over a year. My aunt was anticipating adopting the little girl, but before she could, the child's mom took her back - even though my aunt was given a guarantee that the little girl could be adopted. This seems to be the unfortunate case for many foster parents who intend to adopt.

    Lastly, anyone over the age of 18 is allowed to become a foster parents, but they usually don't accept applicants who are younger than their upper twenties. You do not have to be in a relationship - single parents are able to become foster parents, as in the case of my aunt. But, if you are in a relationship, it has to be a stable, long-term one in order for you to be considered.
     
    1 person likes this.
  5. agentkirb
    Offline

    agentkirb Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2009
    Messages:
    494
    Likes Received:
    8
    Location:
    Houston
    So you would say a good chunk of people get into the foster care system in order to eventually adopt the kids they are taking care of? That's actually kind of close to how it is in the story I'm doing.
     
  6. Berber
    Offline

    Berber Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2011
    Messages:
    146
    Likes Received:
    28
    Location:
    United States
    I'm not sure exactly how many people go in with that intention, but I know that foster-to-adopt is a program option that is available for families seeking to do so.
     

Share This Page