You’ve taken the first step to becoming a foster parent by opening your heart. Now you’re wondering what paperwork you need to do to get the process of becoming a foster parent moving. While government bureaucracy can slow the process of becoming a foster parent, by carefully and conscientiously filling out the necessary paperwork, you will be helping the process along. While the actual packet may differ from state to state, most government entities will require similar pieces of information. Here is what you need to know about what paperwork is required to become a foster parent-
The foster care application package will require that a potential foster parent complete a number of forms, including financial information, police clearances and a medical report. The following documents are generally in all foster parent application packages:
• Applicant Information
These documents give the potential foster parent the basics about becoming a resource family, whether for foster care or adoption through the agency. It typically covers the different types of family-based care arrangements and the qualifications to be a resource parent; it also may answer other questions about the financial and legal aspects of foster parenting as well.
• Financial Information
Most agencies will require basic financial information as part of the home study process. This helps ensure that an applicant is not relying on the income generated by being a foster parent for his or her livelihood. It is important to keep in mind that you do not have to be rich or even well-off to be a foster parent. However, as many expenses are reimbursed by the state and so must be paid for up front, it does help to have liquid cash available. Experts stress though that the financial aspect is only one of many factors that are considered when resource families are chosen.
• Records Check
A records check may done with the applicant’s consent by the Children’s Aid Society or Department of Children and Families. In addition, any previous involvement with these agencies will be considered before an application can proceed.
• Criminal Record Check
A criminal record check is mandatory for every person age 18 and over in the household. Potential foster parents should be prepared to provide addresses for their previous residences for the past several years. If there is a fee for this, the agency may cover it.
• Application Form
This form asks for personal information on you and your family. You may also indicate the type of care you wish to provide and the age and gender of the children you would consider caring for. You will also be asked if you would be willing to care for sibling groups or children with special needs. You may also list any specific training, experience or skills you may have that would help you be a successful foster parent.
• Medical Report
You may be required to submit to a complete physical examination; you would then be required to release the records to the agency. This report will address your health status and any communicable diseases you may have. Again, if there is a fee for this service, it may be covered by the agency.
• Request for References
The agency through which you foster a child will require you to provide references. These references can include family members, long-time friends, current friends or employers/colleagues. These individuals typically will be asked to provide a written statement to the agency regarding your suitability to become a foster parent.
• Foster Care Rates
Some application packages may include a document that addresses your questions regarding pay rates and reimbursable expenses relating to foster care.