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Old 10-12-2012, 07:32 AM
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Default Fostering Children

As a spinoff of JacksonsMom's thread, do any of you have any experience with fostering kids, whether your own experiences or those of someone you know? What is the process of becoming a foster parent? What kind of time frame are you looking at? What good and bad experiences have you had?
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Old 10-12-2012, 07:52 AM
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And like the other thread, I work with children in care and foster carers! I'm actually a looked after children's social worker, and before that I worked the full spectrum (care and child protection).

There's lots I could tell you, but I'm actually just on my way to a carers for a meeting

All I'll say now is... The patience. You must have it. In buckets.
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Old 10-12-2012, 03:08 PM
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http://forums.adoption.com/foster-care-adoption/

I browse those forums quite a bit. Excellent source for information.
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Old 10-12-2012, 03:19 PM
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I desperately want to do this. Another thing I've looked into is respite care (giving foster families a break for the weekend). DH is terrified of it--thinks he won't be able to relate to them in any way, since he's never raised a child before (and wouldn't get to "mess up" with it as a baby/toddler/young child).

Doesn't matter though, they won't approve our home because we both work full time, and all the foster care placements around here require a stay at home parent...
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Old 10-12-2012, 03:19 PM
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I know at least in NY the criteria for fostering versus adopting are DRASTICALLY different.

In NY in order to foster, pretty much all you need is a background check, a home visit, and to show you're capable of caring for a child (not even financially...just work-wise and by taking some kind of prep course). You only have to be 21 years old. I was surprised to find how seemingly "easy" the process is. (yes, I know EASY isn't the right word...but they just aren't nearly as strict nor is the process as lengthy as I would have thought).

Adoption requirements in the state are quite a bit more strict.

ETA: Not positive, but I'm fairly certain you do not need a stay-at-home parent in order to foster in NYC...you just have to let them know what your plans are as far as schooling and after-care for the child.
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Old 10-12-2012, 03:47 PM
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My cousin has fostered quite a bit in this state. They do teenagers. Their first experience was pretty horrible and they swore they'd never do it again. They had a teenage boy who stole from them, was pretty angry and violent and doing drugs. That was really hard and eventually he got moved to a new home.

They went without any fosters for a couple of years until the state called and begged them to take another. His wife kept saying no, but the social workers wheedled her into it. lol. This was a very different experience. They got a 15 year old girl this time who was living with her alcoholic dad. He was physically abusive to her and eventually lost custody. She's a really sweet kid, got along great with their two teenagers. Really shy and introverted but after being with them for several months came out of her shell quite a bit and became a regular part of the extended family.

They basically informally adopted her. After a couple of years she was legally emancipated and could have gone off and rented her own apartment if she wanted. But she was welcome to stay with them and did. She's a great kid and we're really glad she was able to stay in the family.

Each kid is really different. Each one has different struggles and a different background, different ways of coping. I think the hardest part would be having to let them go when it's time to switch homes, and that's something I've heard from a lot of foster parents because you get really attached.

In WA you take classes, they do background checks, evaluate you and eventually you're a certified foster parent. You can specialize in certain age groups or types of cases. I know of one lady who is on call for drug addicted premature infants, she has a ton of experience and training with that specific group. You're also required to have a separate bedroom available for the foster child so they aren't expected to double up with a bunch of other people.

From what I can tell, here at least they just randomly call you with emergency placements so you don't get much warning. There's one lady in our church that is a psychiatrist who works with the police force. She's a certified foster parent. The officers brought in a 3 year old boy because his parents had been arrested for something heinous (I forget what) and she ended up taking him home straight from the police station because there wasn't anyone else available. He was badly neglected and they eventually signed over their parental rights so she ended up adopting him too. Then she fostered and adopted a group of four sisters that had been abused. She was really well equipped to help them through their emotional difficulties though.
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Old 10-12-2012, 04:31 PM
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I guess I can see why some agencies would require a stay at home parent, considering how many appointments of all kinds you often have to go to with foster kids.
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Old 10-12-2012, 05:04 PM
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My parents fostered for years, from the time I was six or so till about 8 years ago. I did not have a good experience with it, mainly because they were not good parents in the first place. I remember being told not to ask for anything because that was selfish, the poor foster kids didn't get to do this or that - the fosters came first and were always there. I remember wishing I'd get adopted a lot.

Not that I'm resentful to the foster kids, wasn't their fault, it was having a parent with a personality disorder. It actually helped me break the cycle and move on without my family, because I never had a close mother/daughter bond. The years of 'oh, we can't, the fosters are so much work you know' (their excuse for never coming to things growing up) kinda bit them in the butt...

I would caution doing it full time all the time and raising kids for that reason, I know other foster homes would take a break and do a family vacation here and there which is a good thing to consider....
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Old 10-12-2012, 06:17 PM
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I was in foster care for a short time and then my friend's parents became foster parents and adopted me. Be prepared for VERY bitter children, especially teenagers, who feel like they are being taken in and then thrown away. It's gonna be hard for both you AND the kid. Foster care, living in houses for homeless kids, etc. always made me feel sooo unwanted. It's so hard to understand someone taking you in for a short time and then not wanting to keep you. I'm getting tears in my eyes just from thinking about it. Eventually I refused to get attached to any new 'parents' or any workers at these homeless houses because when I was no longer wanted there I was absolutely heart broken - which only led to making life much, much harder for me and I started acting out and doing drugs. I think it's hard for any kid to be in foster care. And if you make it feel like home and then the kid is shipped off to somewhere else, kicked out, whatever, it's only worse.
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Old 10-12-2012, 06:40 PM
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My Aunt has done foster care for years and years in this state. It is not for the weak hearted and the bar for kids being returned is incredibly low. You never really know who is transitioning where and when they will be going.

She only fosters kids under 10. So it is a little different than those willing to foster teenagers. My Aunt I consider to be an amazing foster parent. She's fostered to date just under 50 kids - some as short as a couple days until family can take over and some as long as several years. She's endured the heartache of sending a kid back into a situation that no one felt great about - death threats from parents who wanted to lash out at anyone who they felt was responsible - and the loss of hearing through the grapevine about a former foster child who committed suicide, but most have had happier stories in the end. A few even drop by to visit from time to time to tell her about their kids and their college dreams.
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