Foster Care Guide for Richmond

Foster Care
Richmondmom.com has partnered with Finding Hope and Home for Our Children (FHHFOC) to provide a guide to foster care.  There are many children in need of a safe and secure environment in order to thrive.  Make a difference and consider becoming a foster parent.

Foster care includes the placing of a minor outside of their own home and into a trained foster family for safety and stability. Foster care is usually commenced at the removal of a minor by the local department of social services when their caregiver(s) is unable to care for them or due to neglectful or abusive treatment in their previous home. It is always the goal of professionals to ensure children are with their own family or extended kin for as long as possible prior to entering foster care, unless mandated by court reports.

Numbers on foster care

The Virginia Department of Social Services reports that there are currently over 5,000 children in the state’s foster care system, most of whom do not have stable living situations. According to a 2014 CNN report by Rita Soronen, the need for foster families is only increasing as children are not being provided quality living from state-provided resources alone, such as residential facilities or group homes.  Soronen believes that with the help of a consistent foster family, when the child turns 18 at the time of “aging out” of state-provided resources the child will more than decrease the risks of homelessness by ⅓ before the age of 25 and the child will have an increased emotional stability along with a higher rate of achieving a professional career (versus being reliant on state funds).

What is a foster parent?

A foster parent is a certified, temporary caregiver to a child who is placed in their home due to the biological family being either unwilling or unfit to care for the child. The goal of a foster parent is to provide stability and a safe living environment while the ultimate goal remains for the child to return to their permanent home.

Who can be a foster parent?

Persons at least 18 years of age, who have a stable employment and income, adequate space for a child, can successfully pass a Child Protective Services and federal background check, has stable transportation, and can meet other home study criteria may be qualified to be a foster parent. If you meet the basic requirements and have a passion for providing foster care in your home, you may qualify to become a foster parent.

How do I become a foster parent?

The process of becoming a foster parent includes submitting the application including references, successfully completing the home study and required background checks, accomplishing the necessary PRIDE training process over the course of 12 weeks, agreeing to the agency policies and procedures.

What is treatment foster care?

Also known as therapeutic foster care, is provided by foster parents who have specialized training to care for a wide variety of children who may have extensive emotional, behavioral, social issues or medical needs.

What are the expectations of foster parents?

After receiving approval of becoming a foster parent, the family is expected to continually provide safety, work toward treatment goals with the child, and be an effective team member with individuals associated with the child’s care.

Will I have to work with the child’s parent?

The goal of foster care is always reunification to the biological family, unless mandates report otherwise due to parent’s consistent inability to care for a child. While the child is in foster care, foster parents will work with a team of individuals that may include the case worker from social services, the child placing agency, school offices, physicians / therapists, and the biological family. It is important for emotional stability and positive sense of self for a child to maintain contact with their biological family when possible which may require foster parent contact / visitation with family.

What type of support do foster parents receive?

Our agency offers initial and ongoing training, monthly monetary benefits, 24/7 crisis support, respite services, appreciation events, support groups, and professional staff to guide prospective and approved foster families through the process.

Can I adopt a foster child in my home?

The goal of foster care is always to reunify the child with their biological family once issues that resulted in removal of care have been resolved. If change does not occur and reunification is no longer a goal, and next of kin denies or is incapable of providing care for the child, the foster family may have the option of adoption.

Is there a monetary benefit?  

The foster family receives monthly reimbursement to cover the basic needs of the child and additional reimbursement will be provided for those children who display a higher need level. This amount is specific to the child and based on level of need.

Can I choose my foster child?

While foster parents are strongly encouraged to share with the agency their individual preferences related to the child’s age range, necessity of care, gender, and number of children willing to accept in their home, placement decisions are often complex and based on a variety of factors to include the child’s level of functioning, level of needs, and the family’s ability to meet those needs. Every consideration is given to the family being able to adequately meet the need of the child and it is often decided between the agency, foster family, the child and the child’s guardian.

 

About FHHFOC

FHHFOC serves to strengthen families by providing quality therapeutic foster care services to at-risk youth in the Commonwealth of Virginia. FHHFOC is built on our mission to give children stability and hope, one home at a time. Our goal is to transform and make measurable differences in the lives of those we serve. We do this through collaboration, innovation, transparency and accountability. We believe in families and we vow to make a difference. We provide both treatment and non-treatment foster care services to youth ages 0-17. Our office is located in the 21st Professional Building in downtown Richmond, east of Main Street Station.

What kind of children does FHHFOC serve?

Our agency provides both treatment and non-treatment foster care. Treatment foster care includes children who are 0-17 who may be experiencing behavioral issues, symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, emotional disturbance, or cognitive delays often as a result of past experiences.

How does FHHFOC strive for success?

Finding Homes & Hope for Our Children provides treatment and non-treatment foster care to children in the Commonwealth of Virginia who need a safe environment that may be long-term or temporary. Many of the children we serve require specialized foster homes due to cognitive delays, post-traumatic stress symptoms, behavioral issues, or other attention-specific needs as a result of lived experiences. Our mission to is provide safe homes for children to achieve success while directed toward a time-sensitive achievable goal. Our foster parents are qualified to provide quality care as they’ve complete a 12-week training course, successfully passed a home study evaluation, have no founded barrier crimes when background checks are complete, and have reliable transportation.

 

Where can I get more information?

FHHFOC hosts free foster parent info sessions the second Tuesday of each month from 6pm-8pm. You can visit their website www.homesofhopeva.org or email directly with to get answers of specific questions at info.fhhfoc@gmail.com

 

Here are other useful links for more information:

Virginia Department of Social Services – Foster Care

Local Department of Social Services for Virginia