Below you will find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions regarding foster care. If you still have questions or need further information, please contact Caring for Kids, Inc. using the information found on our Contact Us page. We are always happy to take your calls or e-mails.
Q: Why are children placed in foster homes?
A: Children are placed in foster homes because they have been removed from their own families due to abuse, neglect, or other family problems that may endanger them. Their ages range from infancy through 18 years old, although, developmentally disabled foster children may be as old as 21. There are foster children that belong to every ethnicity and race. Some children are placed alone, while others are part of a group of brothers and sisters who need to be placed together. Typically, children in foster care have special medical, physical or emotional needs.
Q: How are children matched with foster families?
A: There are many different factors taken into consideration when matching a child(ren) with a foster family. County and private agencies, like Caring for Kids, Inc., work together to find homes that best suit each child’s individual needs. A successful match between a child(ren) and a foster family can make all the difference in his/her life. Factors considered may include the capacity limitations of the foster family’s home, other children living in the home, if the child has siblings, the ability of the foster parent(s) to meet the child’s specific needs, whether or not the child has been previously placed in foster care and any special needs the child may have.
Q: What information should I expect regarding a child who is placed in my home?
A: The custodial county agency must provide you with all available information regarding each child being placed in your home. If a child is placed in your home on an emergency basis, such information may not be known at the time of placement. Available information should include:
Q: How can I help a child(ren) adjust to living in my home?
A: Experienced foster parents and social workers have several suggestions for new foster families welcoming children into their homes. Some suggestions are:
Q: Should foster children be held to the same set of rules as the other children in the house?
A: Yes, absolutely! Like all children, foster children need limits and boundaries. Often times “rules” are informal and unspoken, however, for a new person entering your family’s world, it is often helpful to be given some basic family rules. Before any child enters your home, your family should sit down together to discuss the way you live on a daily basis, and ask yourselves what a new person would need to know in order to become a part of your family. After explaining the house rules to the child(ren), it is helpful to post a list on the refrigerator or provide an age appropriate handout. Foster children need to know that the rules in your house are consistent and predictable, this stability will help ease their adjustment and help them feel more secure.
Q: What type of relationship will I have with the child(ren)’s parent(s)?
A: If possible, we encourage foster parents to meet and work as a team with the child(ren)’s birth parent(s). Often times, foster parents and birth parents have unrealistic pictures of each other in their minds. These misperceptions can have a lasting, negative effect on the child. Children often feel better about themselves if they know their birth parent(s) and foster parent(s) are talking to one another and working together to help them return home. Ways to maintain a working relationship and engage the child(ren)’s parent(s) include:
Q: Are foster parents responsible for the transportation of their foster child(ren)?
A: Foster parents are expected to provide all routine transportation for their foster child(ren). This might include trips to the department store, library, school, or extracurricular activities. We understand, however, that foster children may have transportation needs that go beyond the routine, such as increased visitation with the birth family prior to reunification, psychiatric appointments, or special treatments. Transportation that is beyond the routine is eligible for reimbursement from Caring for Kids. Please contact our office for information regarding transportation and mileage reimbursement.
Q: Can I adopt the child(ren) placed in my home?
A: If the child(ren)’s permanency goal is adoption and no relatives are interested, as the foster parent, you are entitled to have the opportunity to adopt the child(ren). The child(ren)’s permanency goal may already be adoption or it may change to adoption if/when the birth parents surrender their parental rights. A child may also become available for adoption if the custodial agency took the case to court to terminate parental rights or if both biological parents have died. In any case, the child must be legally freed for adoption before an adoption can be finalized
We highly recommend that foster parents be dually certified for foster care and adoption. County agencies are beginning to become very selective with first time placements of younger children. For families who are ultimately interested in adopting a younger child from the public system, being open to a foster or foster-to-adopt placement may be your quickest route to receiving a placement.
Q: If I have a problem or concern related to the care of the child(ren) placed in my home, who should I contact?
A: You should call a Caring for Kids’ social worker with any problems or concerns you may have. Our social workers are responsible for assessing the service needs of the child(ren) and for keeping the custodial agency informed of the child(ren)’s situation. If you need help with handling a problem, are concerned about a child’s behavior, or need information about services do not hesitate to call our office. We also encourage foster parents to inform our social workers when something positive happens. We are here to put you at ease as well as celebrate each child(ren)’s victories, no matter how big or small!
Q: There is a pet living in my household, is that okay?
A: Yes, having pets in the home is okay, however, all pets need to be up to date on their immunizations. In addition, foster parents should take special care to orient foster children to the animals on their farm or in their home. The children should be introduced to any restrictions involving their interaction with the animals right away. Caring for Kids will not allow placement of a foster child in a home where the foster parent owns a dog that is defined as vicious under the Ohio Revised Code section 955.11(A)(4)(a). This includes any dog that would be considered a Pit Bull or mixed Pit Bull breed. Foster parents are responsible for obtaining liability insurance or assuming financial responsibility for any harm caused by animals or pets.
Q: Are foster care payments tax exempt?
A: Yes, according to Internal Revenue Code section 131. If you are providing foster care and receive qualified foster care payments, you do not need to list them as part of your gross income. Therefore, yes, they are exempt from income tax.