Can I choose the age, race, sex of the child?
Yes, part of the home study process is for you to tell us what type of child you want to foster. The biggest need is for families who are willing to take older children and sibling groups. Many times siblings are split up when they are placed in foster care and whenever possible we want to keep them together.
What if a child is not working out and we can not keep them, can we say that they can not stay with us anymore?
Yes, we always try to not bounce a child from foster home to foster home. So whenever a child is having a problem in your home, we ask that you notify your caseworker immediately. The agency will assist you in trying to improve the child’s behavior, or what the “issue” is with the child. If as a team we can not fix what the issue is, we asked families to give us a 30 day notice. This will allow us to find a new family and do visits so that the transition to the new foster home is easier on the child.
What about Medical Insurance?
Each child who is placed in foster care is covered by one of three medical assistance plans for Berks County. The child will be assigned to one of the medical assistance plans. Under the plan all medical expenses, including prescriptions are covered. Due to trying to keep continuity of care, the child will continue to see the doctor which they saw when they were with their biological parents.
How do placements happen?
When a caseworker in the agency has a potential placement they will provide the foster care coordinators with information they have on a child. At that time, a foster family is contacted. You will be provided with whatever information the foster care coordinator has. At that time you will have the opportunity to decide if the placement is right for your family. If you say yes to the placement, a caseworker will bring the child to your home.
Do I have to say yes, to whatever you call us with?
No. In order for foster care to be successful the family needs to know what they can and can not handle. If you are called with a placement and that placement does not seem right for your family, you do not need to accept the placement.
Do the children have contact with their birth parents?
Yes, the children placed in your care with have visitation with the biological parents. We are required to offer parents visits every other week for one hour. However it is the practice of our agency to offer parents weekly and sometimes twice a week visitation. As a foster parent you are expected to provide transportation to the visit for the child. At the beginning and the end of the visit you will have contact with the biological parents. You will not be expected to supervise the visit or stay during the visit.
What does it cost you?
In order to become a foster family there is little cost to you. The home study and training program is free, but you will need to pay for the following:
- Medical exams by your doctor
- Childline and State Police Clearances ($20 for each individual 14 years or older who reside in your home)
- Water Test (if you have your own well)
- FBI Clearances (if you have not resided in Pennsylvania since you turned 18 years old) The cost of these are $37 per individual)
- Items to meet the safety regulations (i.e. fire extinguisher smoke detector on each floor, guns must be in a locked cabinet)