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|08-02-2008, 10:11 PM||#11|
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: The Land of Corn Fields
Re: Wondering abt pros/challenges of fostering....
If you are interested, I would recommend calling your county Human Services office and see what info they have to provide for you. Each state is a little different in how they operate. There may be support groups in your area where you could meet other foster parents and be able to get even more questions answered.
As a PP said, there is usually a high need for respite care. Our respite care placements were very easy to handle and did not really disrupt our usual routines. You can ask very specific questions about ages/behaviors and certainly turn down anything that makes you feel uncomfortable.
Another possibility could be emergency placement - where you are available to take children at odd hours or weekends when they are initially removed. These are usually very short term - 1 to 2 days until they find a suitable foster home. While these can be more disruptive, (ex. I was de-lousing two little girls in the Wal-mart parking lot at 11:00 pm) it is a very limited time.
In our state, you can be licensed for certain age ranges and a certain number. We usually only cared for infants - mostly newborns, but did take some older ones for respite and emergency based on the situations.
Respite and emergency are a good way to get your foot in the door and decide if the experiences are working for your family.
There are some very good and valid points from the PP's. I feel that it is very important to have your husband on board. Even if he does little in caring for any potental foster child, you will still need his extra help with your own children.
Most of our newborns did not have visits with their parents due to varying circumstances. We did have lots of Pedi visits along with physical and occupational therapy appointments.
I think you should expect for your placements to have visits with their parents up to 3 times a week (although this could always be less). Even tiny newborns can get stressed out and have difficulty after being shuttled around to visits. There is also the possiblity of frequent doctor visits, therapy appointments, etc. that may also disrupt your usual routines. Parents are expected to be at these appointments (although they may not show) - so the times are not strictly up to you and your schedule. You may also need to consider child care for your own children during these appointments. Certainly not every child needs so much intervention - but you should be prepared for the possibility and how you would handle it.
Most importantly, as a PP said - you can turn down any placement for any reason and you need to be able to say NO!!!! My dh and I always discussed each call before accepting/declining. Taking a child that is not a good fit is a losing situation for everyone!!!
Also, some people think that there can be extra income associated with taking in foster children. We usually lost money because we chose to have their pictures taken often (usually JCPenney portraits, etc.), to make them nice scrapbooks, have film developed/digital prints made, buy special toys/outfits, etc. While the state does cover some of their expenses, some things - such as clothing - come with a yearly cap that is very low. If you get placements when it isn't "garage sale season" and don't have good resources, you will find yourself paying out of pocket for the difference.
Good luck as you continue thinking/discussing. Follow your heart and remember that while the intention may be good, timing is as or more important.