What is foster care?
Foster care is temporary care for children up to age 18 who have been removed from their family either voluntarily or involuntarily. Reasons for removal might include abuse, neglect, or the families inability to care for the child. Lutheran Services Carolinas offers three levels of foster care. In South Carolina, LSC offers therapeutic foster care and family foster care. In North Carolina, LSC offers family foster care, therapeutic care, and Intensive Alternative Family Treatment (IAFT).
What's the difference between regular family foster care and therapeutic foster care?
Therapeutic foster parents receive additional training prior to becoming licensed and throughout their tenure as therapeutic foster parents. That extra training is to ensure that they can meet the needs of youth with complex needs who require a higher level of supervision, structure and support than those who served through regular or "traditional" foster care.
Can foster care turn into adoption?
Yes, in certain situations. If the decision is made that a child in foster care cannot return home, the child will need to remain in foster care until he or she is adopted or placed in the care of a relative. Sometimes foster parents do adopt their foster children.
How does a child enter foster care?
Foster children are children (of all ages) who have been separated from their families of origin due to neglect and/or abuse and are in need of a safe nurturing home.
Can I have more than one child in my home?
It's possible, but the answer depends on whether your home will accommodate more than one child, and it will also depend on the needs of each foster child. Children in homes together need to match well not only with the foster parents but with one another. Approval from the referring agency must also be granted.
Will I be financially responsible for the child?
Yes, you will be expected to provide basic necessities to the foster child(ren) placed in your home; however, we will assist you in covering some of these expenses. LSC's foster families receive a tax-free reimbursement to cover the basic expenses of caring for each youth placed in their home. Additionally medical and dental care is covered for each child in foster care.
Will I receive training?
ABSOLUTELY! We will thoroughly prepare you for caring for your foster child before any placement is made, and ongoing training will be offered monthly as needed. We provide training sessions at times that are convenient to our families.
LSC foster parents also have access to support groups made up of other foster parents. In addition, we have 24-hour-a-day support available to all our families. You are never alone!
How long do children stay in foster care?
The length of a child's stay in foster care varies greatly case by case. Some children live with foster families for a few days; others, for years.
What happens to siblings in foster care?
If at all possible, siblings are kept together in one home. When there is no home available for all siblings, they are sometimes split up in different homes. There is a tremendous need for families who can take multiple children.
What is the role of a foster family?
A foster parent provides a safe, supportive, loving home to a child or children who have been removed from their families due to substantiated allegations of neglect or abuse. A foster family serves as a safe harbor for children while their family receives family strengthening services, such as counseling and therapy.
Who can become a foster parent?
Becoming a foster parent requires flexibility, a good sense of humor, a willingness to grow and learn, but most of all it requires a commitment to provide a safe, stable, nurturing and loving home for a child.
You can be single, married, divorced, or living with a partner. You can live in an apartment or house that you either rent or own.
Is it expensive to become a foster parent?
Whether you foster or adopt, the child you care for will receive medical and dental coverage. Further, you will receive monthly financial support until the child is 18 and sometimes longer. If a child has a special mental health and/or medical needs, increased foster care assistance payments are available.
Is there an age limit to foster?
There is no upper age limit for fostering. Many people turn to fostering once their own children have left home. On the other hand, some foster parents begin fostering before starting their own families.
It's your values and your commitment to children and young people that matters, not your age.
Can I work and still foster?
Much will depend on how flexible your work is. Many of our foster parents also work. Sometimes unexpected meetings arise that require the attendance of the foster parent, so we’ll just need to be sure you’ll be able to respond or have people in your network who can assist you with your fostering. Why not contact us and we can talk this through?
Can I be single and still be a foster parent?
Yes! Singles as well as couples can be foster parents.
I have heard that many children in foster care have “special needs.” What does that mean?
In the foster care community, the term “special needs” simply refers to older children; children who are part of a sibling group needing to be placed together; children with medical conditions; or children with physical, mental, or emotional disabilities. A child with special needs should not be confused with a child who requires special education.
How long does it take to become a foster parent?
It can take three to six months from the time you contact us to the time you become approved as a foster parent.