FAQ

What are the qualifications for being a Foster Parent?
Do you only serve teenagers?
What if I am not ready, willing, or able to be a foster parent? Are there other ways that I can help and be involved? Can I be a mentor or provide some other type of service?
Can single persons be Foster Parents?
What is involved in the process of becoming a Foster Parent?
What is a Home Study?
What about the children in the program?
Is there financial help available?
What other support is available?
How can I get started?

What are the qualifications for being a Foster Parent?

  • Foster Parents must be willing to care for children and teenagers by providing them with emotional support and stability as well as meeting physical needs.  Children should be treated as part of your family.
  • Be a legal Indiana resident at least 21 years of age
  • Complete a comprehensive Pre-Service Training Program
  • Be willing to complete continuing education annually
  • Have dependable automobile with proof of liability insurance
  • Rent or own your own home that is large enough to accommodate foster children and is clean and hazard free
  • Be willing to provide transportation to visitations and extra-curricular activities for the child
  • Have a viable source of income
  • Comply with criminal background checks
  • Comply with a home study

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Do you only serve teenagers?

Most of the youth in the Foster Care Select Program range in age from 2-18 years old. Occasionally, we will take younger children into our program and have served children as young as just a few days old. When these children do come into the program, it is often in sibling groups, or they may have medical needs. Most children that come into foster care have been traumatized in some way – even just by being removed from their parents. This often results in behavioral issues in school or at home. Many of our children have educational needs as well which could be the result of multiple changes in schools or learning deficits. Caring foster parents who are willing to advocate for children and provide good structure are extremely important for these children to be successful.

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What if I am not ready, willing, or able to be a foster parent? Are there other ways that I can help and be involved? Can I be a mentor or provide some other type of service?

Great Questions! Apprehension about becoming a resource family is a very normal feeling. It’s good to take the responsibility seriously and realize that it is a big commitment. Families and children need support in many forms. We need individuals who are willing to be a loving, but structured parent to the children. This would involve doing fun activities with them, taking them to fill out job applications, helping to teach them independent living skills such as budgeting, cooking, job skills, etc. There is also a need for people who would be willing to transport children to appointments, visitations, jobs, tutoring, and extra-curricular activities at school or in the community. If you have some time and the desire to help a child but you’re just not in a position of becoming a foster parent full time, providing respite care to children in our homes would be a great way to become involved in the life of a child.

We also need families to provide respite services. Respite care is temporary, short-term care for children (typically 2 days but up to 10 days at a time.) Respite care is needed when a child’s foster family has a family emergency, becomes ill, or just needs a break. Respite parents have to be trained and screened just as foster parents do but the commitment is not as great because the children are only with you for short periods of time.

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Can single persons be Foster Parents?

Yes – Married couples and single persons are all welcomed as Foster Parents. The most important issue is that you are able to provide the supervision that the children placed in your home need. Children in Foster Care have very specefic requirements in regards to supervision so as long as those needs are met, being a single parent does not pose a problem at all.

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What is involved in the process of becoming a Foster Parent?

As stated above, Foster Parents go through an extensive screening and training process. This consists of several background checks, including fingerprinting. Also, potential families go through RAPT training (Resource and Adoptive Parent Training). This is a curriculum designed to educate families about children in the child welfare system and how to understand and help them deal with the issues that they face. You also receive training on dealing with the more specialized issues that many of our children face. Training can be done in a variety of formats.

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What is a Home Study?

A home study consists of interviews with family members and a literal “study” of your relationships, your history and the physical space that the children placed with you will be living in. The interviews are designed to help us get to know you, your history, your reasons for wanting to do foster care, and assessing if you will be a good match for the youth in our program. The other part of this process involves our Foster Care Coordinator coming in and looking at your home to see where the child will be living and assessing the safety of the home and neighborhood.

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What about the children in the program?

The children served through Foster Care Select range in age from 2-18 years old. Most children are in the custody of the state of Indiana.  Some of our children are placed through probation and their parents continue as their guardians. Occasionally, we will take younger children into our program and have served children as young as a few days old. When these children do come into the program, it is often in sibling groups or they might have medical needs.

Children come into “the system” for a variety of reasons. Many have been abused or neglected in some way. Some have behavioral issues that stem from this neglect and abuse. Our therapists and case managers will help you work with them to deal with those issues and become responsible young adults who are able to move past their circumstances. Many children have the goal of being reunified with their birth families and will be in your home while working on that relationship. Others will be working toward independent living skills and preparing to enter the world as a young adult.

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Is there financial help available?

Absolutely! Foster Families are reimbursed for services provided for the children in their home. Rates are based on the level of need that the child has and their age.  The per diem is used to pay for expenses for that child which include clothing, food, housing, childcare (if needed), extracurricular activities, and transportation. Additional reimbursements are also available for special services provided that exceed the regular rate such as transportation that exceeds 162 miles a month, birthday and Christmas allowances, and personal allowance for larger ticket items like camp fees, prom dresses or tuxedo rental, graduation expenses, etc. This money is non-taxable and is not reported as income on yearly tax returns because it is specifically to be used for the child’s expenses.

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What other support is available?

As mentioned above, before you ever have a child in your home, you will go through extensive educational preparation. After you are on board, you will continue to receive ongoing training offered on a monthly basis. This is a chance for you to connect with other foster families and to keep learning about how to better help the children in your care.

Therapeutic services are at the core of our program. All children have case management services available to them and to you 24-7. Case Managers meet with children on a regular basis to help put in place the services that the children need and to assist you in dealing with any issues that arise as you are parenting the child. Children also have therapists who visit them in the home (children can also attend counseling sessions at our outpatient service centers if more specialized counseling is called for.)  We also have psychiatry staff that can oversee the medications of children in our homes.

Centerstone is a not-for-profit provider of community-based behavioral health care. We are committed to helping Foster Families meet all the needs of the children in the program.

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How can I get started?

Visit the Join the Team! page to learn more.
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