Foster Care Frequently Asked Questions



What is foster care?

The primary goal of foster care is to provide a safe, temporary place for children until they can be reunited with their birth family, a relative, be adopted, or are old enough to transition into an independent living arrangement. 

Who are the children in foster care?

Children in care, like all children, need love, affection, support and guidance.  Children in care range in age from infant to 21 years of age, and represent a variety of diverse cultural, racial, and ethnic groups. These children may have special needs, including physical, emotional, or developmental disabilities.  Every effort is made to place sibling groups together.  While each child in care has their own individual story, all are in care because their caregiver was unable to care for them and/or maintain their safety. 

Who is a foster parent?

A foster parent is someone who can provide love and temporary care for children who are unable to live with their birth families.  A foster parent wants to make a difference in the life of a child, and has room in their home and their heart for a child. Foster parents must be flexible and capable of handling stressful situations.  A foster parent must demonstrate the ability to work as part of a team, which will include birth families, social workers, and other professionals. 

Who can become a foster parent?

You can apply to become a foster parent if you are at least 21 years of age, have sufficient income to meet your own family's financial needs, are in good health, and are able to provide each child with his or her own bed. Foster parents can be single, married, or living with a partner.

Can foster parents work outside of the home?

Yes. A daycare subsidy is provided to assist families with child care payments for children under age 13, available for certified and approved daycare providers.  Foster families are responsible for arranging approved childcare during school breaks, summer months, before/after school, or in any instances the foster parent is working. 

Can I be a foster parent if I have a criminal record?

Possibly. All household members aged 18 and older in a certified foster home must have a criminal record check completed.  All situations in which a criminal record exists for any household member are assessed on an individual basis by Baker Victory Services. 

We want to adopt. Can I adopt the child placed in my home?

Maybe. The goal of foster care is reunification with the birth family. All OLV Human Services' foster parents must be able to work in partnership with birth families to work toward achieving this goal.  If, however, reunification or placement with a relative are not possible, and the child becomes freed for adoption, foster parents are given first consideration for adoption if the child has been in their care for 12 months or more. 

What is respite foster care?

At times, foster parents may need a break. Or they may need to travel out of town and are unable to take their foster children with them.  In these and other similar instances, foster parents may utilize a support called respite care.  Respite care is when another trained and certified foster family provides temporary care for the child(ren).   

How long does it take to become a certified foster/adoptive parent?

While the timeframe for certification is dependent on many factors, such as the family's commitment to class attendance and submitting documentation, the certification process on average takes 3-6 months. 

Can I pick the age and gender of the child(ren) placed in my home?

As part of the precertification process, our agency Homefinder will work with you to identify the age, gender, and specific needs of the child(ren) that may best fit your family's unique strengths and composition.  

How long will it take for a child to be placed in my home after I am certified?

OLV Human Services takes great care to make the best possible matches between children in care and our foster/adoptive families.  Matching is dependent on many factors, including age, gender, sibling group size, as well as your family's strengths and the needs of the child.   For these reasons, there is no set timeframe for placements to occur. 

How much does it cost to become a foster/adoptive parent?

There is no charge to you for attending the MAPP/GPSII precertification program, completion of your homestudy and certification, or to have children placed in your home. All homes through OLV Human Services are certified to provide both foster and adoptive care. 

Are foster parents paid to care for children?

Foster parents are provided a stipend to help offset the cost of providing quality care for children.  Stipend rates are dependent upon the child's age and level of need, and therefore can vary from child to child. Stipend payments are considered reimbursement for the expenses of caring for the child, and are therefore not considered income.

Can you explain the certification process to me?

1. An in-home consultation with our agency Homefinder.  During this meeting, our Homefinder will talk with you more about the OLV Human Services program, answer any questions you may have, get basic information about your family, and take a quick walkthrough of your home, to ensure you have adequate space to provide foster care services. 
2. You will enroll in our precertification program, MAPP/GPSII.  This 10-week course offers ample information about the role and responsibilities of foster parenting, as well as enables both you and OLV Human Services to assess your strengths and needs as you explore the foster/adoptive parent role. 
3. During the MAPP/GPSII course, you will be asked to complete a number of necessary clearances and background checks. 
4. Following MAPP/GPSII, our agency Homefinder will complete the Homestudy document.  This in-depth assessment of your home provides a tool that assists our agency in best matching your family with children in care for placement in your home. 
5. Once the homestudy is approved by both your family and our agency, the final step is certification and placement! Once certified, OLV Human Services will begin to consider your home for placement with each referral we receive, and will contact you once an appropriate match has been found!

How do I start the certification process?

We are so glad you are considering partnering with us! Please contact our agency Homefinder at (716)828-9411 or via email  to receive more information, ask any additional questions you may have, or to set-up an initial consultation. We look forward to working with you!


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