Becoming foster parents is an incredibly rewarding experience. Foster families provide a valuable service to the children that they take care of. According to government statistics, there were 442,995 children in foster care in the United States in 2017. Demand for foster families is high, especially in New York, and those who are willing to take on the responsibility of fostering have a chance to make a real difference to the lives of the young ones in their care.
The Foster Parent Approval Process
Children who are in need of foster care have often been through a difficult time and have complex needs. Some have recently been through trauma, suffered bereavement, or can be recovering from abuse, anxiety, or depression. The role of the foster family isn't just to meet the basic care needs of a child in that position, but to provide a loving home until they can be reunited with their biological family.
The foster care process in New York is administered through private agencies. These agencies must make sure that the families they place children with are well-equipped to care for the children that are placed with them and their biological families through this challenging time. Families are expected to go through a certification and approval process. This process involves:
· A home study
· SCR clearance
· Criminal background checks
The home study looks at the living arrangements of the would-be foster family, making sure that the family is in good health, has stable employment, is generally of good moral character, and has the knowledge required to look after a child of that age. Foster families should be caring, kind and open minded and also understand the potential challenges surrounding foster care.
The fingerprinting, criminal background checks and a check of the State Central Register (SCR) for child abuse and maltreatment are steps that are performed as a matter of due diligence.
Getting Ready for Foster Care
At Berkshire Farm Center, we understand that deciding to become a foster parent is a big decision. Many of the families that come to us want to help young people and think that fostering is a good way to do so, but they're unsure about what it entails. That's why we offer training and support for would-be foster families.
Our MAPP (Model Approach to Parenting and Partnership) training course includes ten sessions to help families understand the role of the foster parent and the most common challenges that children in foster care are facing. These sessions help families decide whether fostering is something they really want to do, and also prepare the families for their final assessment and home study.
If you choose to become a foster parent through Berkshire Farm Center, we'll arrange training and assist with the background checks and certification. Our support doesn't end there, either. We offer a Family Specialist who will work with you and the children in your care, to ensure that the fostering process is working well for everyone involved.