Become a SCYAP Foster Parent

Foster Parents are Very Special People

Children enter foster care when they’ve been in situations in which they’ve been abused, neglected, have experienced a significant loss, or have otherwise not had their needs met. The experience of being taken out of their home can bring about feelings of confusion, anxiety, fear, grief, anger, and loss of control. Providing care for children and youth that have all of these experiences and feelings can be difficult, but for those who make the commitment, it can be a rewarding and life changing experience!

Foster parents are very special people. They bring children in need into their homes and into their hearts for days, months, and years, and sometimes permanently. They provide a combination of hard work and heart work. Through the giving of time, energy, love, guidance, and patience, foster parents make a difference in the lives of the children and families in need.

Most people don’t decide to become a foster parent overnight. It’s something that they take time to think about it, discuss it with their family, and even pray about it – and that’s a good thing! We want you and your family to be comfortable with your choice to open your heart and your home to a child, youth or a sibling group in need. And we want you to know that if you feel called to pursue becoming a foster parent, we’ll be with you, every step of the way!

The process to become a foster parent involves a series of steps designed to allow us to get to know you, your family, and your motivation to become a foster parent, and to help us determine the type of foster child that would best fit into your family. The process is also a time for you to get to know more about foster parenting, SCYAP, and how as a foster parent, you can make a difference in the life of a child or youth, a family, and even your community.

To begin the process of becoming a foster parent, you will meet with our specially trained staff that will walk you through the process of gathering the required documentation, scheduling your foster parenting training, conducting your family assessment or “home study” and working with you each step of the way to become a licensed foster parent.

Foster Parent Minimum Requirements

It’s not too hard to become a foster parent but there are some minimum requirements that you, your family, and your home must meet.

You must be at least 21 years of age.

You can be male or female and any race or religion.

You can be single, married, widowed, divorced, or have a room-mate or life partner.

You don’t have to have a lot of money to be a foster parent, but you do need to be able to make ends meet. Foster parents must show that they can take on the additional expenses of having foster children in their home and they cannot be dependent upon the daily foster parent payment as their source of income.

You can be a foster parent whether you own or rent your home. It doesn’t matter if it is an apartment, mobile home, or a house. It just has to be safe and have enough room for additional children to live, play and sleep. Foster parents are required to pass fire, safety, and health inspections and have home owners or renters insurance.

You and any other adult household member (age 18 or older) must undergo and pass background checks, including a review of past child abuse and neglect charges and a criminal background check through SLED and the FBI, and not be listed on either the State or National Sex Offender Registry.

You and all other household members (including any children residing in your home) must have a physical examination by a qualified medical professional that verifies that you (and all other household members) are in good physical and mental health.

To help you understand how to care for foster children, you will have to go to training before and during your time as a foster parent.

View full Foster Care Licensing Standards (pdf)

Foster Parents are Needed!

Every day, SCYAP receives calls for foster care placements that we simply cannot make because there are not enough foster parents/homes to care for all of the children in need.

As a foster parent, you can make an immeasurable difference and change the life of a child for the better!
Foster parents that are able and willing to bring a child into their home and provide nurturing and care and a safe place to live are needed.

Foster parents that are able and willing to take on the challenges of working with children with special needs (problematic behavior, severe medical conditions, etc.) are needed.

Foster parents that are able and willing to stick with a child placed in their home and to be his/her only, or at least last, placement until permanency is reached through return home, adoption, or guardianship are needed.

Foster parents that are able and willing to keep sibling groups together are needed.

Foster parents that are able and willing to work with the child’s family to promote reunification are needed.

Foster parents interested in possibly adopting the child(ren) they take into their home when the child(ren) is/are unable to be reunified with the birth families are needed.

 

Learn More or Get Started

Complete an inquiry form that will allow SCYAP to know that you are interested in learning more about becoming a foster parent. A SCYAP representative will contact you to follow up on your inquiry. There is no obligation – just an opportunity to explore the possibility of becoming a foster parent.

Frequently Asked Questions About Fostering

What is Foster Care?

When families are unable to provide acceptable care to their children, or if there is abuse, neglect or risk of harm present in the home, a child can be taken into state custody and placed in foster care.  In foster care the child will be placed in an alternative living situation, such as a foster home.  Foster care is meant to be temporary, lasting only as long as it takes for the family to make changes so that the child can return to a safe and stable home.  If the decision is made that a child cannot return home, he or she will remain in foster care until placed in the care of a relative, adopted or emancipated.

What is Therapeutic Foster Care?

Therapeutic foster care comes into play for children who have experienced extreme trauma, abuse or neglect, and require specialized services.  These children often have emotional and/or behavioral problems or may have developmental delays or some type of medical condition that requires special care.  Many, but not all, children referred to SCYAP are in need of therapeutic foster care.   This may sound scary and a bit overwhelming, but rest assured that SCYAP’s experienced staff will be there to ensure you are prepared and able to provide the care and support to a child with complex issues.

What About the Child's Family?

Foster care is meant to be temporary, and in most cases the goal is for the child to return to his or her family.  Foster parents can encourage the child’s connection with his or her family by assisting with visitation, setting up telephone calls, facilitating letter writing or card sending, passing along pictures of the child to the family, etc.  We will ensure that involvement with the child’s family is done in a manner that is safe and as comfortable as possible for everyone.

Can I Adopt a Foster Child?

Foster parents are critical in helping a child in foster care to heal from the trauma they have experienced.  They provide a caring, safe, loving and stable family environment for a child or group of siblings.  There are times when foster parents adopt the foster child placed in their home, but being a foster parent does not guarantee adoption.  The ability to adopt a foster child depends on that child’s permanency plan, which is ultimately decided on by the Family Court.

Will I Receive Training and Support?

We will thoroughly prepare you to care for a foster child before any placement in your home is made and we will provide you with ongoing training.  You will have a skilled SCYAP worker who will provide family support, advocacy and service coordination to you and the child(ren) placed in your home.  Your worker will provide regularly scheduled in-home services, telephonic support, and immediate response services as needed.  In addition, SCYAP provides 24-hour per day, 365 day per year on-call support and response services.

Am I Financially Responsible for the Child's Care?

SCYAP foster families receive a tax-free reimbursement to cover basic expenses of caring for each child placed in their home. Payments are made twice monthly via direct deposit with the daily amount being based on the severity of the child’s needs and the number of days the child was placed in the foster home.

It’s normal to have a list of questions about foster parenting, like “How does the whole process work? When will classes be offered and will I have to take off work?  What if I don’t own my home?”  We want you to ask questions so you are fully informed and comfortable in making the important and generous choice to become a foster parent. You can call us anytime to learn more about the challenges and rewards of being a foster parent and how you can change a lifetime for a child in need!

Which SCYAP Office/Region Will Serve My Home?

Learn More or Get Started

Complete an inquiry form that will allow SCYAP to know that you are interested in learning more about becoming a foster parent. A SCYAP representative will contact you to follow up on your inquiry. There is no obligation – just an opportunity to explore the possibility of becoming a foster parent.