Berks County Children and Youth Services is mandated to provide care for children who must be moved to out-of-home placement. The agency maintains a group of foster parents to assist in caring for these children. These valued families must be able to work not only with the child, but also with the court, the family of origin, county caseworkers and variety of agency personnel.
There are several requirements that a foster parent must satisfy, and you should be familiar with them before taking on the responsibility of caring for a foster child.
The applicants must meet certain minimum requirements:
- Be at least 21 years of age
- Pass a medical examination that states that he and/or she is physically able to care for children and be free from communicable disease
- Pass screening requirements related to child abuse and criminal history clearances
- Completion of an intensive home study
- Attendance at a variety of training related to foster care issues
The county children and youth agency must make an assessment of each person's foster parent capacity. The agency will consider the following when assessing each applicant:
- The ability to provide care, nurturance and supervision for the child
- A demonstrated stable and emotional adjustment
- Ties with family, friends and the community
- Ability to work with natural families
The agency also will consider other matters such as each person's attitude toward his or her own children, towards parent/child relationships in general, how the applicant can meet the special needs of children, and how many children are suitable for the home environment. (Foster homes are limited to a total of six children, both foster and natural, under the age of 18 yrs.) Foster parents cannot use physical discipline; children must be directed by praise and encouragement.
For more information on foster parenting with our agency, please contact the agency's foster care coordinators at 610-478-6700.