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Frequently Asked Questions

Every child deserves a family. Many abused, neglected or abandoned youth in our community are in need of stable, nurturing, temporary homes. Do you have what it takes to foster hope in a child? Contact us at 757-393-7200 to learn more.

To be considered eligible to become a therapeutic foster parent, a person must be:

  • An adult, age 21 years or older
  • A resident of Virginia or Maryland
  • Financially stable
  • Able to provide adequate living space for child
  • Complete Child Protective Services and State Federal background checks
  • Available to attend all required training
  • Willing to learn to work with children who have emotional and behavioral challenges

The average length of stay for a child varies depending on the child’s home situation, the reason the child was placed in social services’ custody, and the level of service the child and or family requires. Therapeutic long-term placement may vary from one month to two years. Our program offers different levels of service, but respite and therapeutic long-term placements are the most common placements. Respite care provides short term service for treatment families. Respite can be planned or offered during emergencies and/ or times of crisis.

Behavior patterns and problems depend on the child’s history, age, and type of structure and support received in the treatment home. These children are often in mental and/or physical pain due to traumatic or abusive situations — they are less likely to trust, they will test limits, and will often try to be rejected. Many, however, do respond to empathy provided with firm but loving guidance, discipline and communication.

Ages of children who enter care range from birth through 17 years of age. Our young adults 18—21 participate in the Fostering Futures Program.

Yes. Families in conjunction with the parent trainer will discern the best “Goodness of Fit” for the family’s home.

There must be adequate space for sleeping, privacy, dining and studying. Every child must have his or her own bed and only same-sex children may share a room.

Treatment foster parenting requires the same time commitment that parenting any special needs child requires. These children need to have structured days including homework scheduling, recreation time, and set bedtimes, as well as time for communication to help the child talk through issues that are relevant to his/her age and behavior. Additionally, there are trips to the doctor, school conferences, meetings with a caseworker or therapist, visitation with the legal family, ongoing monthly training and group sessions. Initially, there are 24 hours of pre-service training for foster parents. Ongoing annual trainings are offered to foster parents who must attend 20 hours of ongoing education per year.

Our program operates with a “team support” philosophy. Just as we do not want these children to stand alone in their struggles, we believe in providing treatment parents that same support and service. There is a First Home Care case manager available to assist with emergencies 24-hours per day. In some cases, a complete wrap-around support system is available to assist foster parents working with individual children. Foster parents are given specific methods of managing aggressive behavior and information to assist with a particular child. Up to 20 hours of ongoing training beyond initial training sessions will include special procedures, safety, CPR, First Aid, Managing the Aggressive Child and child development issues. Depending on the specific needs of the treatment parents, there will be additional monthly training sessions.

Any information shared with our agency will be shared with the foster parents.

There are several reasons why children enter foster care. Many homes have more than one of the following issues and a child enters the foster care system for numerous reasons.

  • Physical Abuse – Physical abuse usually means bruising is left on a child and numerous attempts to help a family learn alternative means of discipline have failed.
  • Sexual Abuse – This can mean several different things as sexual abuse is often thought about on a continuum of acts with the viewing of pornographic material or viewing of sex acts on one end of the continuum to fondling and penetration on the other.
  • Neglect – Neglect encompasses several areas, including the child’s need for food, a clean living environment, or emotional needs.
  • Medical Neglect – Sometimes a birth parent’s choice to not seek medical attention stems from religious beliefs, but there are other times when a child’s medical needs are neglected due to pure thoughtlessness.
  • Incarceration – A child may be placed into foster care when there are no families or friends available to care for the child during a parent’s incarceration in prison or jail.
  • Abandonment – Children may also enter foster care when their parents have dropped them off at a sitter’s and never returned, or left the children home alone for extended periods of time.
  • Death – Though rare, as there is usually family available to care for a child after the death of a parent, there have been cases when children do enter foster care after the death of a parent.
  • Voluntarily Placed – Another rare occurrence, due to the child’s behavior or a parent’s health, some parents have privately placed their children into foster care.

The amount of payment provided to our foster parents is determined by the needs and age of the child. The payment is to be used for clothing, personal hygiene, and spending money for the child, as well as room and board. This payment is considered to be tax-free income. Funds will be allocated as a per-diem for each day the child is in your home.

Many things can happen during the placement of a child in your home. Foster Care is a team approach and while the child is placed in your home the team will offer resources to ensure the success of the placement. In the case that the placement cannot be maintained the agency request that the parent give a 14 day notice so that we may find another appropriate placement. If a criminal act is committed, an emergency removal may be warranted. As difficulties develop, the case manager must be notified immediately so that they can respond.

The primary goal of foster care is to provide a nurturing home environment until the child can be reunited with his or her natural or surrogate family. An integral part of treatment foster care is the involvement of the child’s biological family and natural support systems. When appropriate and sanctioned by the legal guardian visitation, phone calls and home visits are all and intricate part of keeping children and their families connected. The foster parent and case manager will coordinate with the biological family to ensure that these meetings occur.

In most cases the first goal for children in foster care is to return home. Sometimes this goal is not realized for several reasons, and the child’s parental rights are terminated. Once a parent’s rights have been terminated the child becomes eligible for adoption. Many children whose goal is changed to adoption are adopted by their foster family.

Contact us to learn more.

We’re Here to Help

To learn more about our services, or to become a foster parent, call 757-393-7200. We are here to answer your questions and guide you through the process. If you are experiencing an emergency, please dial 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.