What is Foster Parenting?
Foster Parenting is:
- An opportunity… to make a difference in a child’s life
- Caring for a child… who has been abused/neglected until his/her parent(s) can resume the responsibility, or a permanent home can be found
- A commitment… to help children and their families through a difficult period; a foster parent must be able to provide love and guidance and then let go
- Learning and developing… the parenting skills needed to meet the unique needs of each child.
Who Can Be A Foster Parent?
- Be single, married, divorced or in a partnership
- Have children
- Rent or own your residence
- Have a modest income
- Be a working parent
- Have a disability
…foster parents are people from all walks of life, with various life experiences.
Foster Parent Requirements
- Be at least (21) years of age
- Pass a medical appraisal by a licensed physician
- Pass screening requirements related to child abuse and criminal history clearances
Who are the children that need Foster Care?
- Foster children are often siblings, who need to be placed together.
- Babies through teens, who are any race or religion.
- Like other children, some may have medical needs.
- Most have been physically or sexually abused or neglected.
As a result of difficult life experiences, some of the children’s behaviors may be challenging and may require ongoing counseling/therapy!
- A foster parent shall participate annually in a minimum of six hours of approved training. Requirements may vary by agency and type of children.
- A foster residence is inspected annually to assure compliance.
Assessment of Foster Parent Capability
The Agency will consider the following when assessing the ability of applicants:
- The ability to provide care, nurturing and supervision to children.
- A demonstrated stable mental and emotional adjustment.
- Supportive community ties with family, friends and neighbors.
Foster Family Residence Requirements
Your Residence Must Have:
- At least one flush toilet, one wash basin and one bath or shower with hot/cold running water
- An operable heating system
- An operable telephone
Sleeping areas shall meet the following criteria:
- No unsuitable area such as hall, stairway, unfinished basement or attic, garage, bathroom, eating area, closet, shed or detached building
- Foster children of the opposite sex who are 5 years of age or older may not share the same bedroom
- Each foster child shall be provided with a clean, comfortable mattress and clean linens, blankets and pillow
Other Things to Consider
- Be willing to work with social workers and other community professionals, advocate for the child’s needs in school, counseling and medical community
- Have energy and time enough to give foster children the attention they need.
- Have family, friends or other support systems that you can call on for support.
- Be able to ask for help and not be embarrassed.
- Medication and containers of poisonous, caustic, toxic, flammable or other dangerous material shall be distinctly marked or labeled as hazardous and stored in area inaccessible to children under 5.
- Emergency telephone numbers, including fire, police, poison control and ambulance, shall be conspicuously posted by all telephones.
- Fireplaces, inserts, wood and coal burning stoves and free standing heaters shall be installed, equipped and operated according to manufacturer’s specifications.
- An operable smoke detector shall be placed on each level of the residence.
- A portable fire extinguisher, suitable for Class B fires, shall be available in the kitchen and other cooking areas. The extinguisher shall be tested yearly.
- Protective safety caps shall be place on electrical outlets accessible to children under the age of 5.
- Exposed electrical wires are prohibited.
- Drinking water from an individual water source shall be potable as determined by an annual microbiological test conducted by a laboratory certified by DER.
What is the Process?
Call a licensed agency to express your interest. Agency listings can be found in the Yellow Pages section of your phonebook under Human Services. You may also contact us: Pennsylvania State Resource Family Association (1-800-951-5151 in PA) for a listing of member agencies.