Answers to Your Questions About Foster Parenting
Becoming a foster parent can be exciting; it can also raise a lot of questions. At The Villages, our goal is to make sure you have the support and information you need to be successful. Over the years, we’ve noticed a few questions that seem to come up quite a bit. You can find our answers below, and you can always contact us if you’d like to learn more.
The Villages is a licensed and accredited child-placing agency. Established in 1978 through an initiative of the Lilly Endowment, The Villages currently has more than 20 offices located strategically throughout Indiana providing community-based services and support to children and families. Learn more about us.
They are trained and licensed adults in our communities who:
- Are 21 years of age or older
- Own or rent their own home with adequate space for a foster child
- Are single or married
- Have children, grown children, or are just beginning a family
- Have strong community connections and supports
They provide a safe and nurturing home for children who have been removed from their families typically due to concerns about their personal health, safety, or well-being. Additionally, our foster parents receive training and support to meet the extensive emotional and medical needs of children while helping them transition to reunification with their own family, adoption, or independent living.
Therapeutic foster parent candidates must complete state licensing requirements that include:
- 20 hours of pre-service training
- Physical exam
- Child abuse and sex abuse registry checks
- Criminal background checks
- Positive references
- Stable income (able to meet own family’s needs)
- Home visits and environmental checks
- First Aid, CPR, and Universal Precautions Certifications
- Ongoing training and development (20 hours per year requirement)
- 24-hour staff support
- Counseling services for foster children
- Financial reimbursement for care of foster children
- Support groups
- Respite care
Given the urgent need for foster homes, every attempt is made to expedite the licensing process. The typical time period is four to six months. This is dependent upon the agency’s staffing resources, the scheduling of training classes and home visits, and the length of time it takes the prospective foster parent to fulfill licensing requirements. Classes are presented in different formats, such as weekly, multiple weekends, or two nights per week. Contact an office near you for additional information.
The per diem rate varies greatly based on the needs of the child. Every child that is placed in a license foster home is previously evaluated by the Department of Child Services. The per diem rate is then determined based on any special needs that child may have.
When you welcome a child into your home, it’s important to do so quietly, and without overwhelming him or her. Help the child settle into a regular routine as quickly as possible. Speak with your Villages case manager regarding clothing and personal items they may need once placed in your home. It’s also important to provide a place for the child to keep his or her personal items as well.
Share the house rules with the child, and be consistent about enforcement. If the child doesn’t respond to you immediately, don’t be disappointed—instead, give the child opportunities to talk to you, without prying into his or her past life, or criticizing the child’s parents. Instead, be encouraging about the parents’ relationship whenever possible.
Never, ever threaten the child with his or her case manager, and don’t threaten the child with the prospect of giving them up. Instead, help the child develop confidence by assigning tasks within his or her ability, and expressing pleasure and recognition at what the child is capable of. Be gentle, loving, and patient. Children flourish when they feel loved and secure.