Not everyone is immediately ready to become a foster family. Many people have to consider their personal and professional schedules. However, if you have a strong desire to give back to the community to make a lasting positive impact, you could start off with the following:
Respite Homes: Respite homes are short term homes for children and adolescents. Respite homes usually have a child placed for a weekend, or up to three weeks depending on the situation. Respite is a great place to start if you are new to foster parenting, your schedule is busy, or if you simply want to ease into fostering a child. Guardianship remains with the biological family or the social service agency.
Regular Foster Parenting: A regular foster home offers a placement for a child who is in need of a home placement due to an unsafe living situation in the child's home. Foster children have a wide variety of experiences and backgrounds before coming into foster care. Guardianship remains with the biological family or the social service agency.
Therapeutic Foster Parenting: While being very similar to regular foster parenting, therapeutic homes provide additional structure and support to children who have emotional problems, behavioral challenges, or medical/physical conditions. It is also common for a sibling set to be placed in a therapeutic foster home in the interest of keeping all the children together. Guardianship remains with the biological family or the social service agency, which contracts with therapeutic foster care agencies to place children with trained therapeutic foster parents. Therapeutic foster homes receive more intensive training, have more frequent contact with Family Consultants, and receive a special needs stipend in addition to a monthly maintenance foster care payment.
Adoption: When parental rights have been terminated, foster parents can be approved as adoptive parents. When a family adopts a child, they become the child's legal parent/guardian.