What are the requirements for a foster parent with Kamali’i Foster Family Agency?
» Completion of State and federal criminal background check
» Complete a medical exam (general physical)
» Meet home safety requirements
» Provide family references
» Attend a 30 hour foster parent training program
» Complete CPR and First Aid Training
» Possess a valid California driver’s license
» Verify current automobile insurance coverage
» 21 years of age or older
What are the steps to becoming a foster parent?
» Attend an Orientation with Kamali’i FFA Staff (call the office within your County or look at the Calendar of Events schedule for the next available Orientation in your area).
» Attend Prospective Foster Parent Training. This is a State and County required training which is provided over a 4 week period designed to prepare you for the demands of foster care
» Complete an application and begin paperwork.
» Complete the legal requirements such as background check and fingerprinting
» Complete a home inspection by one of our office staff
» Complete a home study with one of our Agency Social Workers
» After all of the above requirements are met, you will be notified of your final approval. Once you are approved, you will be added to our list of foster parents and will be notified when a child needs a home.
How do I know if I would be a good foster parent?
Foster parenting requires a lot of patience, compassion and skill. Foster parents understand that children who come to them are hurting and that it takes a long time to reduce the pain, and change the resulting behaviors. You must be at least 21 years of age, be of good moral character, be in good health, have an adequate income, be flexible, be a good listener, and be willing to work in partnership with Kamali’i Foster Family Agency and Child Protective Services.
Effective foster parents are consistent and understand that routines help children feel secure. Foster parents need to be flexible and able to adjust to unexpected events such as tantrums and nightmares. Good foster parents relish the challenge of finding new and creative ways to manage a child’s behavior and effect positive outcomes. The most successful foster parents have a passion for learning and welcome all opportunities to improve their knowledge and skills. Individuals who make the best foster parents are those that acknowledge the child’s bond with their birth parents, (no matter the birth parent’s past history), and those who are willing to work towards family reunification and actively support family connections.
What do you mean by the word “motivation” for wanting to become a foster parent?
Typically, people who want to become foster parents are individuals with big hearts who genuinely love children. Unfortunately, this is often not enough to be a successful foster parent. Children who enter foster care probably have been seriously abused and/or neglected. As a result, children in foster care need a person or family who is able and willing to deal with the behaviors they often develop in response to the abuse or neglect. If a person has unresolved losses in their own life, it will be difficult, if not impossible, to parent in an objective way. Sometimes the foster child will trigger painful memories in the adult with an unresolved issue. This does not mean that you will be unable to serve children in some way, but it may mean the providing 24-hour parenting will not be helpful for you or any foster child at this time. These concerns are discussed throughout the training and evaluation process. The decision to become a foster parent is a mutual decision that occurs over the time period of the training and home study process.
Are foster parents paid to care for the children placed in their homes?
No, however, foster parents do receive a monthly reimbursement to offset the cost of a child’s room and board, clothing and related expenses. Rearing a child is expensive, financial support is provided based upon the age of the child. Medical, dental and psychological needs are provided through Medi-Cal.
Do I have to take every child referred to my home, or do I have a say in which children I would like to accept?
We strongly encourage every foster family to voice their opinions and concerns regarding a prospective foster child. There must be a good “match” between the child and the foster family. Prior to placement, an Agency Social Worker will share information about the child to include social history, current needs, allergies, basic reason for placement, current medication if any, therapy needs if any, challenging behaviors and educational placement. If a family does not feel comfortable accepting a child into their home, they have the right to decline placement. Upon acceptance of a child for placement in your home, we do expect the family to be committed to the child throughout the entire foster placement. Refusing a placement will not result in withholding future referrals. Voicing your concerns about the placement will help to reduce the risk of placement disruption in the future; resulting in another loss for the child.
We do not have experience working with “special needs” children. Will that be a problem?
Any parenting experience is an asset, but is not required. The willingness of a foster family to acquire the skills necessary to meet the needs of children who have been through abuse and neglect is highly desirable.
What are the needs of most foster children?
Children, like adults, can become depressed, anxious, fearful and angry. Some have medical needs or developmental problems. Many have delayed social skills or special school needs. Foster parents work closely with the school, therapists and other professionals, and in many cases, with extended family.
What happens to foster children when they leave my home?
Most children who enter foster care are eventually reunited with their biological parents or extended family. If that is not possible, they remain in long term foster care or become available for adoption.
Is my house suitable?
Single-family homes, town homes, and apartments are all appropriate locations for foster care. Foster children need to have their own beds and some require their own room. Some foster children can share a bedroom with a same gender child close in age. Most children come with few possessions but will need dresser drawers and adequate closet space. We do not pay for any alterations needed to your house to accommodate placed children. Our staff will discuss home safety issues such as storage of firearms, access to swimming pools, home evacuation plans in the event of fire, emergency plans during a natural disaster, and the requirements for both smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.
Must foster parents accept all ages of children?
No. during the home study process, foster parents will discuss with the Agency Social Worker what age and sex they prefer. Placements are made within their age range.
How does a foster parent receive help if problems arise with the child?
An Agency Social Worker is assigned to each child placed with the Agency. Kamali’i social workers are available to their foster parent’s 24-hours a day 7-days a week in times of crisis or emergency. Foster care works best when the foster parent and the Agency Social Worker are a team focusing on the needs of the child. Foster parents may seek advice of another more experienced foster parent that they develop through the Foster Parent Association. It is advisable to develop a strong support network of family, friends, and professionals to help care for any foster child.
How long does a foster child usually stay with a foster family?
Some children may only stay overnight, and others may stay for extended periods of time. There is no definite length of time a child may be in your home. The goal of foster care is to reunite families. Generally, biological parents have from six to 24 months to achieve stability leading towards reunification.
What about a child’s clothing needs?
Few if any foster children come with adequate clothing unless they are moving from a previous foster home. When they enter foster care, the county will provide a small emergency clothing allowance however the foster parents will initially be responsible to purchase basic necessities. Foster parents are required to spend $50.00 a month on a child’s clothing needs and supply receipts for their purchases. Additional allowances are distributed periodically over the course of the year by the counties from which the child’s case is handled.
What support groups are available for foster parents?
Kamali’i Foster Family Agency has a foster parent ran Foster Parent Association that meets monthly. Participation in the Foster Parent Association is strongly encouraged for foster parents to network with one another.
What is a home study?
A home study is conducted at the foster home by an Agency Social Worker with a potential foster family. The home study includes a written report describing the family’s social history as it relates to their skills and abilities to parent foster children. There are individual and joint interviews to explore if becoming a foster parent is right for you. Issues discussed include how you were parented as a child, the nature of your relationship with your parents, your philosophy regarding discipline, the techniques you used with your own children, your attitude towards birth parents, your ability to work as part of a treatment team, and your willingness to parent someone else’s child.
How often do foster children visit their parents?
Children will have frequent and predictable visits with their birth families. Initial visits are generally supervised in safe locations such as the Kamali’i FFA office or the DPSS offices. Visits will continue by Court order unless they are found to be contrary to the physical or mental well being of the child. Visits typically take place 1 to 2 times a week for 1-2 hours each visit.
Can a foster child go on vacation trips with a foster family?
Yes. Foster families are encouraged to accept a child as one the family and trips are a great opportunity to do this; they are also wonderful learning opportunities for the foster child. However, trips need to be worked out well in advance with the County Social Worker so as not to interfere with Court dates or special events with the biological family. Permission to travel must be granted by written permission of the birth family or by Court authorization. Out of state travel does require a signed Court Order.
Can foster parents work outside of the home?
Yes. Placement of a child in your home however, may depend upon your availability to transport and participate in visitation and frequent therapy needed by the child. Some children with severe attachment issues may require a stay-at-home parent.
How many children can a foster parent care for?
Foster care regulations require that there be adequate space for each child. The number of children that you could be approved to foster would depend upon the size of your home, your own family size, and the specific needs of each foster child in your care at that time. California regulations state that the maximum number of children in your home including birth, adopted, foster and guardianship can be no more than six. California regulations also state that no more than two of those children should be under the age of two unless there is additional help in the home. Children who are sexually aggressive towards other younger children or who are experiencing intense emotional stress may require solitary placement. The level of need of every foster child is the primary consideration in determining the number of children placed in a foster home.