On any given day in America, over 550,000 children and youth are in foster care. The goal for over 230,000 of these children is to be reunified with a parent or principal caregiver. These children and youth represent every background, culture, age, and circumstance. What they truly have in common is the need for a safe and stable place to live during a time when they cannot live with their birth parents. If you have thought about sharing your home, time, energy and love with a child, the following questions and answers may be helpful in taking that first step.
Can we ever adopt a foster child?
The goal for a foster child is to return to his or her birth family whenever it is in his or her best interest. So, if you are interested primarily in adoption, you can talk with a Caritas Family Solutions adoption worker. But, if a foster child has been in your home for some time and becomes available for adoption, you may discuss your interest in adopting the child with your caseworker.
Can a child’s birth parents visit?
Since the goal is to reunite families when possible, birth parents are encouraged to be involved with their children in foster family care. It is important that both parent and child expect to see each other at prearranged times. Most visits take place in the Caritas Family Solutions office or the birth parents’ home and are coordinated by a caseworker.
What aid do we receive for the children’s food and clothing?
Foster parents receive a monthly check for room, board, clothing and allowance while the foster child is with you. These checks are received at the end of the month for the previous month’s expenses.
What about medical care?
The State of Illinois furnishes each child with a medical card for necessary medical treatment and preventative medicine. The medical card is also accepted for hospital visits and approved prescriptions through recommended physicians and dentists.
How long does it take to get a foster child?
It will take at least three to six months to be licensed and trained as foster parents. Once you are licensed, placements are based upon the matching of foster children with compatible foster parents.
Can we become foster parents if we are both employed?
Yes. But, restriction on the child’s age may be necessary and satisfactory child supervision must be worked out.
Do all foster children have problems?
Most foster children are frightened and confused by the sudden loss of their parents. Some are angry about poor treatment they have received. Others may see a foster home as punishment. Even babies can be very irritable at first. But, these issues slowly improve as the child begins to trust you.
How will my own children react to a foster child?
If your children are well prepared for the coming of a foster child and understand the temporary nature of the stay, issues will be minimized. If your child expects a permanent sister or brother, the foster child’s departure can be confusing to him or her. It is a normal for our own children to be jealous of the time and attention you devote to a foster child, just as brothers and sisters can be jealous of a new baby. But, soon, your children will begin to enjoy the company of a foster child. For more information, please call one of the numbers provided below.
- Tina Bilzing Ext. 155
- Beth Steinmetz Ext. 246
East Alton 618-258-8750
- Leslie Boyd Ext. 716
Mt. Vernon 618-244-0344
- Rachel Kissner Ext. 239
- Amber Ambuehl Ext. 211