WHAT IS FOSTER CARE?
Foster care is a temporary, court-ordered placement outside of a child’s own home. It can last anywhere from one night to a few years, depending on individual circumstances. Safety and permanency for our children are our primary focus. The biological parent is still the child’s legal guardian, but the Monroe County Department of Human Services becomes the legal custodian of the child until he or she can be returned home to a safe environment.
Many foster children are freed for adoption when our best efforts to safely reunite them with their families are not successful. Some choose not to be adopted but to stay in foster care until they are ready to plan a transition into the community, which can be anywhere from age 18-21.
REASONS FOR FOSTER CARE
CHILDREN YOU CAN FOSTER
There are many different children who you can foster: infants and toddlers; school-age children; sibling groups; and teenagers. Infants and toddlers comprise approximately 25% of children in foster care. Nationally, more than 85% of children in care have siblings in care, but only 25% are together. Teenagers make up roughly 33% of the foster care population. We have a particular need for foster families who like caring for teens.
In addition, we need homes for pregnant and parenting teens, the medically frail, and for those with developmental disabilities. These children are from all ages, races and economic backgrounds.
HOW TO BECOME A FOSTER PARENT
WHY BECOME A FOSTER PARENT?
Becoming a foster parent has many rewards. You become a key player in making a positive difference in the life of a child. You also contribute to the healing and reunification of struggling families. Often, foster parents have life-long relationships with their foster children after they return to biological families. Foster parents are recognized each year at an annual Foster Parent Appreciation Event.
In addition, Monroe County has support services for their foster families. A caseworker is assigned to each foster parent, who will guide you through the necessary steps to become and remain certified. Training classes are offered every year on a variety of topics, such as crisis intervention, child development, and sexuality education, which can be very helpful in working with the children in your home.
Also, you will have direct access to doctors and nurses at Starlight Pediatrics who specialize in the physical and emotional needs of this unique population.
Lastly, you will receive a daily board rate, semi-annual clothing allowance, and Medicaid coverage for children in your home. In addition, foster parents are reimbursed for school supplies, diapers for children up to age four, and mileage to appointments, trainings, and the like associated with the children in your home.
WHO CAN BECOME A FOSTER PARENT?
You can be a foster parent whether you’re male or female, married or single, and rent or own a home or apartment. You must be a Monroe County, NY resident, and at least 21 years of age, but there is no maximum age limit as long as you’re healthy and able to actively parent a child. And you can be a foster parent even if you work outside of the home. Also, there is no minimum income requirement, but you are required to submit verification that your income meets your needs so you are not relying on the foster care stipend for financial support.
If you have a love for children and a desire to make a difference, consider investing your time and energy in our community’s children.