Thinking of becoming a foster parent but are unsure whether this is something you and your family could take on? Our goal at Holy Cross is to aid in our foster parents initial and ongoing training to help them succeed. Ensuring foster parents meet the state licensing requirements, while providing the resources they need to be healthy influences to Michigan’s vulnerable children.
The Goal of Foster Care
The primary goal of foster care is to provide a stable, nurturing home to children when they are unable to remain in the home with their biological family. We work with families to understand what they are able to take on and what children are suitable for each home. By operating this way, we’re able to properly place children with families that fits everyone’s needs the best. The safety and well-being of the child is a priority, as is letting them know people are there to help and provide hope when their lives have been turned upside down.
Do I want to be a Foster Parent?
Before becoming a foster parent there are some key questions to ask yourself.
- Do you have a strong support system that can help during stressful times?
- Are you patient?
- Are you prepared for the child to sometimes put unplaced anger, rage, and emotional distress on you and not take it personally?
- Are you willing to say goodbye when the child moves on?
- Does your current family situation/setting present a good opportunity to foster?
- Finally, the most important question, do you have extra unconditional love to give to a child that needs a role model, someone to take care of them and someone to be there no matter what?
Okay, if you’ve said yes to majority of the questions above, now what? Here are next steps to take if you’re considering fostering a child.
How to Become a Foster Parent
Step 1: Orientation
Once you decide you would like to learn details associated with becoming a foster parent, you will attend an orientation in which the following information is covered: rules for foster family homes; requirements to become licensed; and an in-depth discussion about the type of child that would best fit into your home.
Step 2. Application and Background Check
At the end of the orientation, you may be ready to sign an application and officially start the licensing process!
At the same time your application is signed, you will submit information to complete a comprehensive background check and your worker will schedule you to have fingerprinting completed. Your application and completed background check/fingerprint forms will be sent to the Division of Child Welfare Licensing in Lansing to enroll you as a foster parent.
Step 3. Home Study
In the next step, you will need to gather personal documents and provide information to your licensing worker about yourself, your home, and the people living in your home, such as:
- Driver’s licenses
- Vehicle registration and insurance
- Marriage/divorce documents
- Medical forms
- Copies of income and finances
Your licensing worker will also gather information about any other individuals living in your home. All information provided speaks to your overall life, childhood, adolescence and your current family situation. This information will provide your worker with significant information of how you were raised, how to handle conflict, situations and how to raise/plan to raise children in your care. In addition, you will need to provide the contact information of three unrelated personal references.
The Home Study is the bulk of the licensing process and takes four to six months.
Step 4. Training
You will be registered for training with a curriculum designed especially for those caring for foster children. This must be completed prior to a foster license being recommended.
Once You Are Licensed
After moving the process from Orientation, Application, Background Checks, Fingerprints and Training you will receive an initial, original license which is granted for the first six months. Prior to its expiration, your licensing worker will take you through the renewal process which will lead you to the regular license – this is granted for two years. Your licensing worker will visit you each year to update and complete the license due for renewal, this also keeps your license in good standing.
During the licensing process you will have discussed with your worker about the specifics of the child(ren) that will be the best fit for your home. Once the agency receives a match, you will be contacted and typically you will need to respond quickly.
You will be registered for State of Michigan training. The curriculum is designed especially for those caring for children in the foster care system. This must be completed prior to a foster license being recommended.
You will be required to keep your training up to date with six hours per person annually.
To learn more about becoming a foster parent and what it entails, please visit us online at https://holycrossservices.org/becoming-a-foster-family/