Monday, November 21, 2011

Foster Friday: The Kids

Sorry, this post is a bit late. But our Friday evening was spent having a great dinner with another set of foster parents and their adorable boys! It was great to get to know them more and be able to talk without having to explain the process. While I love answering people's questions about foster care, it is so nice to be able to talk about more than the basics!

Speaking of questions we get often, many people want to know about the kids that are in foster care. They have ranged from everything from "Do we have one picked out?" to "Why are they in foster care?"

Here's the scoop. Kids come into foster care for many reasons- none of which are "good" reasons. They could have been abused (physically, sexually, verbally, etc.), neglected, or their parents may be unable to take care of them due to death, inprisoment, etc. Really the reason why a child enters care is heart-wrenching no matter the reason.

The kids in care are just like any other kid. They range in age from newborns to 18, with some children opting to stay in care through college. They are any race, ethnicity, religion, etc.

Foster parents are allowed to set parameters for the foster children that they will take. You can be as picky as a blonde hair, blue eyed, 2 year old, white male. But you will probably not get a placement very quickly since that is so specific. Our parameters are newborn to 2 year old without severe medical/mental issues. So this means any race, any gender, and some medical conditions. However, we are pretty flexible with this.

When a child comes into care due to the reasons listed above, the social worker's primary concern is to get them placed as quickly as possible. They begin with relatives, since this will cause the least amount of change for the child. If this is not possible, then they begin calling foster parents. They start with foster parents who have available beds and are in the same area (to allow for similar environment for the child). When they call the parents, they give them all of the information they have about the child. Normally this isn't very much information since they just met the child a few hours ago. The parents then decide if they would like to take the placement. You are allowed to say no to these calls. Then within a few hours (or less as the case with the parents mentioned above) the child is at your house! Yes, it is that quick.

The children stay in foster care until they are either able to be reunited with their parents (the ultimate and preferred goal) or until parental rights are terminated and they are adopted. Foster parents do get first "dibs" on adoption, but if they choose to not adopt then the child will be placed with adoptive parents. Look at all of these cute kids that need a good home!

If you have any other questions about the children in foster care, let me know!

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