At the very beginning of your fostering journey, there are some questions you may be wondering, like who are the children in foster care or how long does the licensing process take? You can find the answers to those questions in the frequently asked questions section.
But once you know for sure that fostering is something you want to commit to, once your first, second or third placement walks through the door or when your adoption is almost finalized, your questions and needs are going to shift and get more specific.
Here are some real questions from licensed SaintA foster parents and responses from Foster Care Licensing Supervisor, Laura Halonen.
*Responses have been edited
What does the process look like if I am a regular licensed home and am considering changing to a treatment home?
If you want to move from general level 2 to level 3, you will need to apply separately and go through the licensing process as a level 3 applicant. If you want to switch to level 3 and stay with SaintA, the process is a little easier as our teams can work together to determine what is best for you, help with paperwork, etc.
You are in luck if you’re worrying about redoing trainings, because if you’ve completed foundational or pre-placement training as a level 2 home, you don’t have to do it again as a level 3 home. But remember, if you did them years ago, and curriculum has changed, you may be required to retake them.
I need more support; how do I get a mentor or kinship navigator assigned?
You have two options: your licensing specialist or case manager.
Ask either of the two and they will help you out. The kinship navigation program is a separate group of social workers, who will join your team to offer more support. They are an awesome resource, who are available to help you understand the court system, join in on home visits or provide you with any other assistance you may need. The mentorship program is when an experienced licensed foster parent gives peer-to-peer support. Do you need someone to bounce ideas off of, do you have a child specific case? You will be matched with someone who will best fit your personal situation.
Is there a rule about kids of a certain age being limited? For example, no more than 3 kids under the age of 3?
You’re half right. It is actually that foster parents can’t take care of more than 2 kids under the age of two. Some exceptions can be made, especially when it comes to sibling groups.
Can I get a refresher on the guidelines of bedrooms?
There are quite a few rules when it comes to this one. Here are some key things to remember:
- No adult can share a room with a child over 1. Once a baby turns 1, they need another space, unless a physician determines that it is medically necessary for the child to stay with an adult.
- No foster child 6 or older may regularly share a bedroom with a child of the opposite sex, even if they are siblings, but exemptions can be made in certain scenarios.
You must have more than one bedroom to become licensed, even if the child is under 1 at that time.
If a foster child turns 18, but remains in care, do they need their own room?
Once a child turns 18, they are technically an adult and need their own room. We could ask for an exception from the state, especially if it is a sibling situation.
With COVID and social distancing becoming the norm for the distant future, what will training look like?
We would take being together in person over Zoom meetings any day, but unfortunately all trainings will have to be virtual for the foreseeable future. Everyone is working tirelessly to move trainings online, and we often don’t know the schedule beforehand.
In short, everything will be virtual moving forward.
Media training hours are state mandated, so we can’t change those requirements at the moment either.
Did you know that our weekly support groups count for training hours? Get the schedule and previous recordings here (recordings of support groups do not count for training) Virtual events or webinars that are interactive may also count for training. Talk to your licensing worker for more details.
How will home visits work during COVID?
We’re taking as many precautions we can, so that means virtual visits as much as possible. We will always visit the house at least once before a family is licensed or if there is a safety issue.
What’s up with adoptions during COVID?
Right now, court cases are all virtual. If anything is face-to-face, that will be up to a judge. We know many would prefer in-person celebrations, but to keep everyone safe, adoptions will be virtual for the time being.
How about respite?
This is harder to answer because respite is always very case-by-case. However, respite will largely remain the same. We will take all the precautions we can, although we may not know all the information about a child and who they’ve come in contact with prior to coming into care, but we’re doing our best to keep them and our foster parents safe.
If you’re already licensed, join our Friday support groups by checking out the schedule.