When a home environment is unhealthy, state social services will remove minor children from their biological home and place them with foster parents. During this time, the children's biological parents are expected to work at improving the situation so their children can return home to them.
The goal of foster care is family reunification. Your goal is to give children a caring home until they can safely return to their families. Foster parents are paid a daily rate for this service.
Offering to Foster a Child
If you notify social services that you are interested in fostering a child, you will be invited to a meeting along with other potential foster parents. State workers will explain the foster process and give you an application to fill out. If you're married, your spouse must attend the meeting and apply with you.
Social Services Will Contact you
After you turn in your application, social services will contact you to schedule a home study. A social worker will come to your residence to make sure it is safe for a foster child and that your family members can provide a suitable home. This might happen more than once over several months.
Documentation Is Needed
As part of your home study, you must show the social worker proof of what you've stated in your application. This can include tax returns or pay records to prove your earnings. You don't have to be wealthy to foster a child, but you do need to show that you have income and you pay your bills on time. You'll need birth certificates to prove your age and a copy of your marriage license if you're married. You might need a doctor's report stating that you're healthy enough to care for a child.
All States Require Fingerprinting
States require that all members of your family submit to a criminal record check. For this, you'll need to provide fingerprints. The social worker usually arranges for fingerprinting - all you have to do is show up.
Training For Potential Foster Parents
Potential foster parents are usually asked to attend a training class over the course of several weeks. Usually, you can attend these classes during the same time frame that social services is conducting your home study. After your paperwork, home study and training class are complete, social services will place a child with you.
A Family Law Lawyer Can Help
The law surrounding foster care is complicated. Plus, the facts of each case are unique. This article provides a brief, general introduction to the topic. For more detailed, specific information, please contact a family law lawyer.