What is Foster Care?

Foster care is a system in which a minor has been placed into a ward, group home, or private home of a state-certified caregiver, referred to as a “foster parent” or with a family member approved by the state. The placement of the child is normally arranged through the government or a social service agency.

definition by Wikipedia.

What is a Foster Parent?

A Foster Parent is a person or persons who volunteer through an agency and go through proper training and backgrounds checks to become licensed to accept children who have entered Foster Care into their homes.

What is Kinship Care?

Grandparents, aunts and uncles, and other family members who agree to care for children are called “kinship” caregivers. Kinship care can be an informal or legal arrangement from their counties DSS. These are not volunteers and do not go through the same training and background checks as Foster Parents. They do not receive the same benefit/support as Foster Parents.

What is a Guardian Ad Litem?

The Guardian ad Litem Program provides trained, independent advocates who provide a powerful voice for abused, neglected, and dependent children in the state court system. A Guardian ad Litem volunteer represents and promotes the best interest of the child in court that ultimately ensures a safe, permanent home. (aka- the voice of the child)

see Guardian Ad Litem 5th District

Do Foster Parents get paid?

There is a stipend for being a Foster Parent, yes.

Is it enough to make a living or replace an income in a home? No.

For example, in New Hanover County a home that has a child between the ages of 0-5 receives $535 a month. Though that is a generous amount, it is not enough to “make money off of a child”. What it does do is enables the community to foster. It allows the single, the married, the full time working, the young, the old, normal Bob’s and Sally’s of the area to actually consider fostering rather than thinking it isn’t finically possible. Just in New Hanover County, there are 380+ kids in care and 115 foster families; we need the community to know there is this stipend to support them.

Things to consider:

  1. Your electric bill will go up.
  2. Your water bill will go up.
  3. The average baby goes through six to 10 diapers a day, which, according to the National Diaper Bank Network, can set you back $70 to $80 per month, or about $900 a year.
  4. And don’t forget an average of $20/month for wipes!
  5. Formula can cost up to $150 per month, or about $1,800 a year (though you can qualify for WIC for babies).
  6. Your grocery bill will go up- on average, it costs one person on a moderate budget $244 per month to eat.
  7. Going to the movies will cost more (actually every family outing will cost more)
  8. You are going to drive around a little more, which means more gas money- doctors appointments, visitations, family team meetings, etc.

NOTE: Kinship families do not receive a stipend. They can, however, opt to become licensed foster parents which then would allow them to qualify for the stipend.

How do you become a Foster Parent?

There are two types of Foster Parents. A Foster Parent and a Therapeutic Foster Parent. The training is a little different for the two types.

To become a licensed Foster Parent through New Hanover County DSS you will need to contact Alice Moore (tell her Foster Pantry sent you, ha). Within 7 days of you reaching out, a licensing worker will come out to your house and sit and talk to you about what it all entails. They will also check out your home. Once you decide to pursue you sign up to go through a 6 weeks course that meets 2 times a week for 3 hours. This course is called TIPS-MAPP class (Trauma Informed Partnering for Safety and Permanence-Model Approach to Partnerships in Parenting). See link- https://www.gomapp.com/tipsmapp.php

While that is happening, you’re filling out a lot of paperwork, very invasive paperwork, about every aspect of your life. Also, you are getting your fingerprints ran, DSS is running backgrounds check everywhere you have ever lived. The fire department comes out to your house to make sure it is safe and fully equipped with fire alarms, fire extinguisher, evacuation plans and proper placement of furniture (nothing in front of bedroom windows). Once you complete the paperwork, get your background checks back, have the fire department come out and get all the classes completed your licensing worker puts together a big packet. That packet is sent up to Black Mountain, NC where a team reads over all the paperwork (sometimes come back with questions) and decide if you are qualified to become a foster parent.

Treatment foster care (TFC), also called therapeutic foster care, is out-of-home care by foster parents with specialized training to care for a wide variety of children and adolescents, usually those with significant emotional, behavioral, or social issues or medical needs. definition by Child Welfare Information Gateway