CAN I ADOPT?
Sometimes, yes. There are hundreds of kids in foster care and our number one goal is to help them have a family they can call their own. If you foster a child that you feel is meant to be part of your family we can look into adoption. Sometimes kids in foster care aren’t available for adoption because they have a different permanency plan.
DO I HAVE TO ADOPT?
No, you do not have to adopt the kids you work with. There is a great need for families who just foster children and help them through the reunification or adoption process.
WHAT KINDS OF KIDS WILL I WORK WITH?
We contact through a variety of outlets to provide foster kids to our licensed foster homes. Generally, Utah Youth Village works with kids that are more difficult to place. They might be more difficult to place because of trauma, level of supervision required, inappropriate behaviors requiring correction, groups of siblings, lack of cultural and language understanding (refugees).
WHAT TYPES OF ISSUES DO FOSTER CHILDREN NEED HELP OVERCOMING?
In general foster kids need extra support in school, overcoming trauma, learning the difference between inappropriate and healthy relationships, developing trust. Utah Youth Village certifies our foster parents in a treatment program called the Teaching Family Model so they are equipped with the tools they need to help their foster children.
HOW WILL OUR BIOLOGICAL CHILDREN REACT TO HAVING FOSTER CHILDREN IN OUR HOME?
Biological children respond in a variety of ways. It can be difficult for them to share attention with more children. It is important to prepare your natural children before introducing a new foster child to the family; your consultant can help you with tips on how to do that. Once they’ve adjusted to the change in family dynamics natural children often become more optimistic, sympathetic, and understanding of others.
DO A CHILD’S BIRTH PARENTS VISIT HIM/HER?
It depends on the individual child but in some cases children do have visitation with family members that you will need to help facilitate.
DO CHILDREN IN FOSTER CARE NEED INDIVIDUAL ROOMS?
Foster kids cannot share rooms with natural children. Foster children can, however, share with other foster children. So if your home is certified to have two foster kids, they can share with each other given that they meet the room size, child age, and gender requirements.
HOW LONG WILL THEY BE IN MY HOME?
It varies for each situation. Sometimes we need foster homes for only 3-6 months; other times kids need placements much longer. It is not easy to determine beforehand how long they will be placed with you, and the estimated time frame may change. It is really important that foster kids move as little as possible as each move causes more trauma.
WILL IT BE EMOTIONALLY DIFFICULT FOR ME AND MY FAMILY WHEN THE CHILD REUNIFIES OR IS ADOPTED?
Foster kids become part of your family; you grow to love them for all of their strengths and even their weaknesses. It can be very bitter sweet when they leave your home. Much like you needed to prepare yourself, your home, and your family when they were moving in, you’ll need to do the same when they are moving out.
WHY SHOULD I LICENSE WITH UTAH YOUTH VILLAGE?
Being a foster parent is hard, so all foster parents receive a baseline of training to do what they do. At Utah Youth Village we train more than what is required; we teach you how to handle difficult behaviors or situations. We also have a consultant assigned to each family that is available 24/7 for emergencies and regularly meets with the foster parents in consultation to problem solve, treatment plan, review progress, and train. We have a strong community of foster parents that support each other. Utah Youth Village holds high expectations for their foster parents and is a highly involved organization, this isn’t for everyone. If you are a better match for a different organization we will recommend that because we want you to be a successful foster parents no matter which organization you license with.
CAN I MEET THE CHILD BEFORE HE/SHE IS PLACED IN MY HOME?
It is important to place kids as quickly as possible because changing placements causes trauma and drawing that out longer than necessary can make it even more traumatic. On the other hand it is important to fully commit to any youth that you accept as a foster placement, we do not want to cause more moves than necessary. Most of the time Foster Parents are able to review a youth file and make a definitive decision, however if you review the file and feel the need to meet before placement we can request that from the referring agency.
HOW WILL A CHILD BE MATCHED WITH MY FAMILY?
When a youth is referred to our agency our intake coordinator suggests available families to the consultants. Some of the factors that the intake coordinator considers are: ages and gender of natural children, number of children foster home is licensed to care for, location of home, etc. The Foster Parent Consultants then review the information and evaluate whether the child is a good fit. Consultants look at the ability and consistency of the foster parents, the temperament of other children (foster and natural) in the home, the supervision abilities of the foster parents, etc. Finally the Consultant will send the applicable referrals to the family. The foster parents make the ultimate decision of whether or not that child can be placed with them.
WILL I GET TO CHOOSE THE AGE/SEX OF THE CHILD PLACED IN MY HOME?
Yes, foster parents make the ultimate decision of who is placed in their home. The consultant has a lot of experience with foster kids and matching them to families so they will advise on what age and gender is appropriate and will be most successful. Often times a family will strongly want a child that is a certain age and gender and later realize that a different child is much more successful in their home.
ONCE I AM LICENSED HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO HAVE A FOSTER CHILD PLACED IN MY HOME?
Once you are licensed we will start sending referrals to your consultant and then to you. Depending on your family it may take a few days or a few weeks to find a good fit.
HOW LONG IS THE CERTIFICATION PROCESS?
To certify there are a few steps that can be completed in a few week or a few months depending on how quickly you complete them. On average it takes 3 months from inquiry to licensing to complete all of the requirements:
- • Foster Parent Interview. A consultant will interview you and gather information on your family history, current family dynamics, hobbies and interests, disciplinary style, susceptibility to feedback etc. They will also answer specific questions you might have. This interview takes 1-1.5 hours.
- • Licensing packet. This must be completed by you and will include things like letters of recommendation, doctors’ appointments, policies and procedures, etc. This packet normally takes about one month to complete.
- • Background Check. Its required for all memebrs of the household over 18 to have a full background check. This can take one to three months so it is one of the first forms collected when licensing.
- • Homestudy. Your home must meet a variety of safety requirements. This includes small things like first aid kits and fire extinguishers, and larger projects like having screens on all your windows and railings on stairs. Depending on what home improvements need to be made this typically does not take long to prepare for. Once your home is ready a licensed social worker will tour your home and verify its completion.
- • Training. Before starting a two week training is required. This training is held every 1-2 months.
CAN I TAKE A BREAK BETWEEN FOSTER KIDS?
We ask that once you take a foster child in you try to keep them with you until they are able to move forward in their permanency plan (reunify with family, be adopted, or move on to independent living). Once a child transitions it is okay to take a break from foster kids, you will need to continue trainings to maintain your license.
ARE THERE TRAININGS OR CERTIFICATIONS?
Prior to licensing there is a two week training that is required. After licensing you are required to attend monthly trainings (one afternoon a month for 2-3 hours, at least one foster parent must attend). You are also required to have a consultant meet with you for treatment planning/consultation and an observation once a month. Every year you have an evaluation to see how you are implementing the program and successful completion of that evaluation results in a Teaching Family Association Certification.
WHAT ARE THE BASIC RESPONSIBILITIES WHEN FOSTERING?
- • Facilitating visitation with family
- • Taking them to therapy and checking in with their therapist
- • Teaching them independent living skills (budget, time management, work ethic, etc)
- • Teaching them social skills (greeting, following instructions, asking permission, etc)
- • Supporting them in school (IEP meetings, parent teacher conferences, volunteering and supporting them in school activities)
- • Setting up and taking them to doctors appointments
- • Completing monthly paperwork (medication logs, monthly report of progress, treatment documentation)
CAN I HAVE BIOLOGICAL CHILDREN STILL IN MY HOME AND IF SO HOW OLD DO THEY HAVE TO BE?
You can still have natural children in the home; there are no specific age requirements. Licensing requires that there are no more than 6 total children in the home while fostering (i.e. If you have 5 natural children you can have 1 foster child). Your consultant will help determine what ages/genders are appropriate for your family.
DO I NEED TO PAY FOR TRAINING OR LICENSING?
No, Utah Youth Village provides training and licensing for potential foster parents. You do need to pay for any home improvements or materials required to pass your homestudy. (Request a list of requirements from a consultant)
WHAT TIME FRAME DO I HAVE TO COMMIT TO?
At different points in time you may feel fostering is not a good fit for your family that is okay. You don’t need to commit to a set timeframe but you do need to commit to the child that you placed in your home. If you have a youth transition out and you want to take a break for a few months or years and then return to fostering that is okay.
WHAT AM I ALLOWED TO DO WITH THE FOSTER KIDS?
Lots of things! Your foster child should do everything that your family does from family get-togethers, to camping trips, etc. We encourage you to treat your foster child like any other child in your family. Each foster child is assigned to a caseworker that can approve specific activities (travel, dangerous activities like rock climbing, water activities like boating, etc).
CAN THEY GO ON VACATION WITH US?
Yes, it depends on the situation and caseworker, parent, and/or judge approval but with preparation is can be done. In the event that the youth is not approved your consultant will help arrange respite care for while you are gone.
CAN I GET A BABYSITTER THAT WATCHES MY OWN CHILDREN AND MY FOSTER CHILDREN?
No, all caretakers of foster children must be licensed. Many foster parents have a grandparent or an aunt/uncle or family friend that is willing to be respite licensed so they can babysit for you. This family support is encouraged and often helps the foster child feel like a normal kid.
IS THERE SOMEONE AVAILABLE TO HELP IF SOMETHING GOES WRONG?
All our foster parent is assigned a consultant that supports them at all times. The consultant will meet with you month to prepare for any anticipated needs. Your consultant is available to you 24/7 for any crisis and during business hours for any basic questions. When you are unable to contact your consultant you will have contact information for a coordinator or director that can help. You will always have someone to support you through a challenging situation. In addition each foster child is assigned a caseworker that is there to make decisions for their care and treatment.
DO YOU GET PAID?
Foster parents receive a monthly stipend to assist in the cost of adding another person to their household and to compensate for some of the extra supervision required. There is also the opportunity for a monthly bonus for completing all of your monthly paperwork and training on time. The stipend should not be used as household income, it is required that you have enough income to support your household without the stipend.
DO I HAVE TO PAY THEIR MEDICAL BILLS?
Foster kids have their own insurance and medical bills that are not covered are processed and approved through the caseworker and their agency prior to medical service.
DOES ONE OF THEM HAVE TO BE A STAY AT HOME PARENT?
Yes, one parent needs to be available at all times. Foster children requirement more supervision than natural children. Foster children have scheduled breaks in school (summer, spring, winter, holidays, etc) and they also have unscheduled breaks (approx. 2 weeks between placement in home and placement in school, snow days, suspension, etc).
CAN I BE A FOSTER PARENT IF I’M NOT MARRIED?
You can do it if you’re single and have a flexible schedule (request more information on the specific requirements) You cannot be cohabitating with a significant other.
DO WE HAVE TO OWN OUR HOME?
No, you can be renting your home. Utah Youth Village is not responsible for any property damage that may occur or normal wear from raising children.
CAN FOSTER KIDS SHARE A BEDROOM WITH NATURAL CHILDREN?
No, foster children can never share rooms with natural children. If age and gender are appropriate and the room meets physical requirements foster children can share with each other.
IF I HAVE CRIMINAL CONVICTIONS CAN I STILL DO FOSTER CARE?
This is situational; it depends on what the conviction was and how long ago it happened. It is possible. Full disclosure is required and extensive background checks should corroborate disclosed information.