Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Lets talk Types of Foster Care

I know, understand, and appreciate that Foster Parenting is not for everyone. Ten years age I would not have thought it was for me, as a matter of fact I had absolutely NO interest in it. As we age we evolve and for me that evolution made me a Foster Parent. I am quite often asked about my family, and how it came to be.

As soon as I say we became Foster Parents with the hopes of Adoption I am quite often told that they too have thought about Fostering but decided against it because they cant handle the thought of losing a child. Meaning they don't think they are strong enough to parent a child that is not there own, and then have the child either return to the birth parent or be placed in another suitable home. The reality, is that does happen, it happened to us. I did not think I was strong enough to handle it, but somehow I did. So I understand that fear. That is when I usually go into my schpeel about the different types of Foster Parenting.

So lets talk about the various ways you could be a Foster Parent...

Respite Care - The short term care of a Foster Child, which allows the Foster Parent to take a break. Respite Care is usually very short, a matter of hours, or days. You are kind of like a state approved babysitter for Foster Parents.

Emergency Care - Sometimes a child needs to be removed from their home immediately. Doing Emergency care means you will take a child with almost no notice. If a suitable home is not found this placement can become more permanent.

Short Term Care - This type of care occurs when it is fully expected that the children will return home within a short period of time. That could be a few weeks or it could be a few months. The birth parents will be very active in meeting the requirements that will bring their children home.

Traditional Care - This is usually for children who are taken from there home, but with the thought of reunification. The thought is that the child will spend less than 18 months in Foster Care.

Therapeutic Care - This is for the children that are medically fragile or might have severe emotional issues. This is generally a longer placement and quite often become a permanent placement.

Long Term Care - generally this is for the child that stays in Foster Care until they age out. There are many ways that this can happen. Sometimes families decide to long term foster a child if they think the child will require a lot of support and the families will want to be able to access the support. A good example would be medically fragile kiddos. Another reason for long term foster care could be the result of the child. You could have an older child come into Foster Care that does not want to be adopted.

Foster to Adopt- now this really seems to differ from state to state.  The basis of Foster to Adopt is that you will accept a Foster Child with the hopes of adoption. 

Foster Care really varies from state to state. Not all states have every category I listed, but most do they may just have a different name. It does get a bit confusing at times when you are talking to other Foster Parents in different states. I personally think every state should have the same common language. Depending on where you live their might be additional types of Foster Care that you can provide.

If you are considering Fostering I urge you to talk to others who are active Foster Parents. I also urge you to pray about it. It was the best thing we have ever done. 

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