Foster/Adoptive Parenting Common Questions
There are over 4,000 Louisiana children in foster care. Each one needs a safe, stable, and loving home.
WHAT IS FOSTER CARE?
Foster care is a protective service for children and their parents who must live apart because of child abuse, neglect, or special family circumstances requiring the need for out-of-home care. Foster care is intended to provide temporary/short-term care for a child. The goal of foster care is to maintain the child in a safe and nurturing environment, which is supportive of his development, while assisting his parents in resuming responsibility and custody or until an alternative permanent placement for the child is found. The first goal of foster care is to reunite the child with his or her biological family.
WHAT IS ADOPTION?
Adoption is a way of providing the security, permanency and the love of a new family when it is not possible for a child to be raised by his/her birth parents or within the birth family. When you adopt you legally acquire full parental responsibility for the child, just like any other parent. It’s a lifelong commitment which means sticking with it through the difficult times, as well as the good. Adoption is a way of making a real difference to a child, by giving them the love, stability and safe nurturing environment every child deserves. After adoption, all rights and responsibilities are transferred from the original parents to the adoptive parents. The child assumes the surname of the new parents, receives an adoption certificate to replace their birth certificate and becomes a permanent and full member of the new family.
WHAT IS DUAL CERTIFICATION?
Dual certification means that a family is certified to foster and adopt. A family may specify that they only wish to foster or only wish to adopt, but they will still be certified for both. Dual certification is the certification offered by the State of Louisiana.
WHO ARE THE CHILDREN NEEDING FOSTER AND ADOPTIVE HOMES?
Children in need of foster homes range in age from infants to teenagers. They may have been neglected, abused, or abandoned, or have experienced a breakdown in the family, or the death of a parent. The children are of different races and religions. They identify with their own cultures and need help with maintaining their identities, staying connected to their birth families, and learning how to feel loved, capable, valued, and responsible. The important thing to remember is that all children deserve a safe, stable, and loving family.
WHAT ARE THE QUALIFICATIONS FOR FOSTER PARENTING?
- At least 21 years of age
- Single, married, divorced, or widowed
- Financially stable (able to meet own family’s needs)
- Good physical, emotional and mental health
- Adequate space in home for additional child
- Pass state and federal criminal clearances
- Attend 21 hours of pre-service training
- Participate in home study process
- Foster/Adoptive parent applicants must be committed to provide the child with positive forms of discipline and cannot use physical punishment of any kind
IS THERE FINANCIAL HELP TO FOSTER AND ADOPT?
A daily board rate is paid to certified Foster/Adoptive parents to assist with the child’s monthly expenses. The board rate is intended to help with clothing, food, personal hygiene products, a personal allowance for the child, and gifts for the child for occasions like birthdays. Foster/Adoptive parents are not paid. The board rate is for the child’s needs. The agency provides for the medical needs of each child, therapy expenses, and evaluations. Reimbursement for mileage to required activities is provided.
Several support services are available to Foster/Adoptive parents because we know that parenting foster children can be demanding and different from other parenting experiences due to the special needs and histories of each child in the foster care system. Support services include in-service training, frequent contacts from the Home Development Worker, and membership in a local Foster/Adoptive Association. The child’s worker or supervisor is available to address problems 24-hours a day.
WHAT IS THE NEXT STEP TO FOSTER/ADOPT?
If you are interested in becoming a Foster/Adoptive parent you can attend an orientation session where more information is given about the program, becoming certified, the children available for placement, and the training and home study process. If you sense God’s call to foster/adopt and are ready to proceed with certification, you will be invited to the pre-service training.
I CAN’T FOSTER… WHAT CAN I DO?
The possibilities are endless!