Bob and I attended the county foster care info meeting last night. There were about a dozen other people there including one clueless guy who seemed to think foster care would be a good way to make an extra buck. He asked amazingly weird and oftentimes inappropriate questions. It was quite distracting yet the social worker leading the meeting was quite professional and composed and addressed his questions as if he had just asked the most intelligent and pressing thing ever. We were impressed with her patience.
We did end up learning a lot about the process, the issues, the legalities, the pros, the cons, and how to get started. We learned that the whole process takes anywhere from 4 to 8 months. This includes background checks, fingerprinting, reference checks, classes, licensing, and more paperwork than you can shake a stick at. There is an adoption option available and if you sign up for that, there is an extra class to take. We found out that 50% of the kids in need of foster care are between the ages of 0-5. We also learned that the biggest need is for placement is for sibling groups of 3 or more. Other stuff we learned: About 1 in 5 placements is available for adoption. There is minimal reimbursement for items of daily living so you should NOT do this for the money because there isn’t really much money to be had.
After the meeting we were given the application packet and sent on our way. When we got into the car Bob said he is really excited about this and thinks we are called to do this. I was kind of surprised by this since he had seemed interested but only minimally so. We talked about how Bob is going to be the primary care parent and will have to establish the daily routine, at least the noon meal, and run the kids to all their appointments and visitations. He said he was up for it and was actually looking forward to having a direction and reason for living.
So our next step is to fill out the application and accompanying paperwork and send it in. Once the county receives it they will review the forms and conduct background screenings. If we pass those, they will send us fact sheets and fingerprint cards. Then the county will conduct criminal and social services checks. If we pass those, our home will undergo a safety inspection. If we pass that, we will attend 7 3 hour training/licensing classes. Once all that is complete, the county will make a determination regarding licensing us as foster parents. If we are approved, we get our license and are good to go! Whew.