Frequently Asked Questions
Foster parents do receive a monthly financial reimbursement for each child placed in their care. The average daily amount in our area is $18.50/day (around $600 per month). By contrast, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has said that it costs $233,610 to raise a child (excluding the cost of college), so about $14,000 per year. That means the average cost of a child is $1,167 per month, nearly double the reimbursement rate for foster parents. The bottom line is that foster parents are extremely grateful for the daily rate they receive and it is a huge help, but it does not cover the cost of raising a child. And the fact that children typically arrive with very little, sometimes only the clothes they are wearing means foster families need to acquire a lot – seasonal clothing, toiletries, bedding, underwear, shoes, toys, books, school supplies – all at once and right away! This adds up very quickly when foster families accept sibling groups.
Our hope is that the items a child is still using and that are needed at their new home would go with them. And, hopefully in one of the duffle bags we can provide.
If the child is moving out of the county, we’ll discuss with that foster family the best possible transition of items for that child. Any larger items such as gear or furniture should be returned to Fostering Hope. However, a child who has already experienced trauma (which can simply mean changing homes or caretakers) should not have personal items that they are attached to removed from them because of a location move.
The first step is to ask questions and say yes! Foster parents are licensed either directly through the county or through a private agency. Fostering Hope does not endorse any specific path, however both our Directors do foster through the county and are happy to provide feedback regarding that path. We welcome and support all foster parents regardless of who you are licensed through.
Foster parents take a series of training classes and have a home study completed.
More information and next steps if you choose to go through the county can be found here.
If you’d like more information regarding private agency option, a great resource to ask questions is through the PA Adoption and Foster Care Community on Facebook. You can fin them here. (Or contact William Carroll directly at firstname.lastname@example.org / Office 610.278.5853 / Cell 610.724.9755)
Yes! When you apply to become a licensed foster parent, you fill out a checklist regarding your preferences for placements. You can pick an age range, choose a gender, check for different medical issues or behaviors you feel prepared or unprepared to handle, choose if you are open to sibling groups, etc. While you may get calls for placements that fall outside the parameters you set, you always have the choice to say yes or no. We recommend having a list of questions read to ask any worker that calls you regarding taking a child into your care.
Getting attached is exactly what you should do as a foster parent. A child’s need for attachment is far greater than our need to protect ourselves from it. Children need and deserve to be attached to a caretaker. This is crucial especially in a child’s first year of life. That does not mean your heart won’t hurt if that child is reunified with their bio parents or moves to a different foster home. It will, we guarantee it. However, that pain is absolutely worth the difference you’ll be able to make in the life of a child and family. Reunification is always the primary goal of foster care. If you are fostering with the hope to adopt, you do need to know there are no guarantees. While this can happen when families don’t progress toward their goals or children are already “legally free”, foster parents do need to keep in mind that their role is to keep open communication with the children in their care, the agency, and the birth family members. They do need to be willing to work closely with birth family toward the goal of reunification.
As we’ve said, it takes a village to raise a child – both birth child and foster child. And, foster parents need a really big village. You will have the support of the county/your agency with workers to answer you questions, caseworkers to communicate with you regarding the children in your care, and through Fostering Hope, other foster families who can walk you through the twists and turns of foster care. Fostering Hope exists to remove some of the barriers and fears associated with taking this giant leap. We will be part of your village.