Wednesday, January 20, 2010

How to Become a Foster Parent

Florida is in desperate need of Christian foster parents. There are so many in the system, the children become numbers. As Christians, we can stand up for the voiceless and participate in rescuing children from a life of abuse and/or neglect.

I recommend getting involved with FUMCH-Florida United Methodist Children's Home. They are a faith based organization and understand the power of prayer. Their number is 386-668-4774. When you call them ask for Foster Care and then tell them you want to become a foster parent. It really is that easy to get started.
In order to become a foster parent, it is required that you have a 30 hour parenting class called MAPP-Method Approach to partnership in Parenting. They are offered in various different places and are all generally the same class. If you take a MAPP class with one agency it does not mean you have to be licensed with that agency.
During this class,you will be fingerprinted and background checked. They will also do a homestudy, which is required for ALL adoptions, domestic and international.

It costs NOTHING!

Navigating the foster care system can be very difficult because of the acronyms and inside lingo, as well as the agencies that are involved. Here is a brief summary.
The state agency for foster care is Department of Children and Families (DCF). They are the state covering, responsible for all children in foster care in the State of Florida. There are then two divisions to the responsibilities of foster care. The first is what is locally know as Community Partnership for Children (CPC). This organization is the one that comes in and investigates or removes children from their homes. Community Partnership for Children manages protective services, foster care and adoption services for Volusia, Flagler and Putnam Counties. There are currently 1,200 local abused and neglected children, in these three counties alone. The second arm of foster care are the licensing agencies. These are private agencies that are responsible for providing foster families. They train and educate the foster families. We are licensed by Florida United Methodist Children's Home (FUMCH), because they are the only faith based organization and they see foster care as a mission, not just a job!!

When someone is licensed, what happens then? They are considered a professional parent by the state of Florida and are then able to foster or adopt

Where do kids come from? Kids are brought into the system by the investigating agency (CPC), after there have been specific reasons for removal. they then put a call into ALL of the licensing agencies in the area (I think there are 4 in our area). Whoever calls them with the first available home is placed with that family.

How do they get to you? The licensing agency, in our case FUMCH, calls you and tells you as much as they know and/or you want to know about the child(ren). They will then bring them to you or you can pick them up.

Can you just get licensed and then wait a while before accepting a placement, or must (should?) you accept the first? This is a question that pertains to whatever licensing agency you are with. We received a call and were asked to pray about it before we accepted it. We were given two days to pray about it. Some other foster families I know, who work with other licensing agents, have said that they were told they must take every child that they were called to get. That is not the case with us. Also during the homestudy process, you can be VERY specific about what fits best with your family. We requested only preschool aged girls.


The Preacher's Wife said...

Hey there! I was just looking on "the preacher's wife" blog and looked at the blogroll and came across your blog.
My husband started a church plant in 2005as well and we were foster parents for 7 years having adopted our oldest through foster care.
Thanks for encouraging people to become foster parents. I've always told people if we can do it, anyone can!
Sara Pylate

The Preacher's Wife said...

one more comment. Have you heard the Adoption Day Song? It's by John McCutcheon, Happy Adoption Day. You can get in from iTunes.