What is Foster Care?
Care is the temporary placement of children outside of their
own homes. It occurs because of abuse, neglect, or other
family problems which may result in a parent or relative not
being able to care for the child. A foster care placement can
also result from behaviors that the child may be exhibiting.
Often these families face issues such as illness, alcohol or
drug addiction, or homelessness. When the county Department of
Social Services (DSS) believes a child is not safe, and a
judge agrees, DSS takes custody of that child and finds a
foster home for him or her. Length of stay in foster care
varies from a few days to several months to possibly even
families are recruited, trained, and licensed to care for
abused and neglected children temporarily, while their parents
work with social work professionals to resolve their family
issues and/or the child works to resolve the behaviors they
are currently exhibiting. It is always in the best interest of
the child to be reunited with their parents when possible and
it is goal of the Department of Social Services and other
agencies to work with families in the hopes of reuniting them.
However, when that's not possible, measures are taken to get
the children adopted or prepared for independent life.
allows children and teenagers, who are unable to live with
their parents, the chance to thrive in a secure and supportive
home. Fostering is challenging and takes time, commitment and
children placed into foster care are from a diverse range of
backgrounds and will display different behavior depending upon
their situations and experiences. You will be trained as
foster parents to work with the different behaviors that you
might encounter and you will also have professional support to
help guide you as foster parents.
of children need foster care?
children in North Carolina enter the foster care system each
year, and range in age from infants to 18 years of age. All
foster children have unique backgrounds, experiences,
personalities, strengths and needs. Some children in foster
care require extensive care for physical or emotional
handicaps and disabilities. Some also require help with
undisciplined and delinquent behaviors. Most foster children
do not have a strong sense of belonging or self-worth. Many
have been victims of physical or sexual abuse. All children
who are in foster care require special care, support and
the different types of foster care?
are two different types of foster care in the State of North
Carolina. The first kind is the one that you are probably the
most familiar with and that is what we call Level I Family
Foster Care. With Level I Foster Care your role is to provide
a loving, nurturing environment for children of all ages in
need of a temporary placement. The second kind of foster care
is Level II Therapeutic Foster Care or (TFC) which is a
family-based, service delivery approach providing
individualized treatment for children, youth, and their
families. Treatment is delivered through an integrated
constellation of services with key interventions and support
provided by treatment foster parents who are trained,
supervised, and supported by Qualified Professional staff.
Therapeutic foster parents are viewed as colleagues and part
of the professional team. Therapeutic foster parents serve
both as caregivers of children with treatment needs (the
foster role) and as active agents of planned change (the
treatment role). So in other words a Therapeutic Foster Parent
is a professional parent who is part of a specialized
treatment team that provides treatment and teaching to
children who have special needs.
Parents Get Compensated?
Foster parents are compensated for their services with tax-free
money from the State of North Carolina. The majority of
the money received has to go to the welfare of the child in
care and the rest is compensation to the parent for providing
responsible for the child's expenses?
the child's medical expenses, and the foster care agency
provides a monthly check to help cover the child's room and
board. The monthly sum is not by any means extravagant, so
foster families may end up supporting the child with their own
funds as well.
We Pick Out the Child We Want?
can express a preference on the age, race, and sex of the
child that you think would best fit in with your family. We
encourage and ask that you remain open minded in trying
different demographics of children. However, you are not
obligated to accept the child offered.
a single person be a foster parent?
Many of our parents are single parent homes but they all have
good supports in place to help with the care of the child.
many foster children can we take?
depends on factors such as your ability, your enthusiasm, how
many children you have of your own, and how much room you have
in your home. The maximum number, including your own children,
is set out by NC DHHS licensing standards. You can only have
up to two therapeutic children in your home with no more than
four total children including your own children. While for
family foster care, you can house up to five children with no
more than five total children including you own children in
long does it take to get a foster child?
licensing and training process takes from four to six months.
After that process and your training are completed, children
can then be placed with you.
foster children need individual bedrooms?
foster child can share a room with your children or other
foster children of the same sex and same age. The child
must have a bed of his or her own. A foster child may not
share a bedroom with an adult. We recommend that the child
have their own bedroom for safety and privacy.
we take our foster child on vacation with us?
cases, yes. We want the child to feel like they are apart
of your family. But if it involves out-of-state travel,
you must call your child's caseworker in advance for
foster children go to church with us?
Usually, you will get children whose religious background is
similar to your own. But if a foster child is of a different
faith, he or she must be allowed to attend worship in that
the birth parents visit the child?
most cases, yes. In fact, visits between parents and children
are an essential part of the efforts to reunite families. The
child's caseworker has the primary responsibility for planning
visits and arranging supervision, if required. The caseworker
will talk with you and the child's parents to work out the
time and location of the visits.
foster parents have to be licensed?
North Carolina state law requires that all foster parents be
licensed to care for children in their care. These licenses
are issued by the NC Department of Health and Human Services.
County Departments of Social Services and private child caring
agencies are authorized to work with potential foster parents
to assist them with the Licensing Process and to provide
supervision and support for the foster parents.
are the training requirements in becoming a foster parent?
foster parents receive 30 hours of training. The training
covers topics such as child abuse, neglect, working with birth
parents, and helping foster children deal with issues they
face. It also helps the potential foster parents think about
how parenting another child may affect their family. For more
information, check out our page on Becoming a Parent.
we adopt the child that comes into our home?
first goal is to return foster children to their families when
that is possible. However, if a foster child who has been in
your home for some time becomes available for adoption, you
can discuss your interest in adopting him or her with the
caseworker. At that time, you would have to meet all of the
regular requirements for becoming an adoptive parent.