Connections – Foster Care FAQ

New Foundations Home for Children is proud to announce, Connections, a Therapeutic Foster Care program beginning in the Upstate this fall.  The agency will connect children to the services they need in order to thrive.  Our foster parents will connect children to a caring family.  Our experienced staff will connect families to the support they need to make a difference. Back to Connections Home.

Those interested in more information on the program should contact Tara Hall at 864-965-7774.  Ms. Hall is interested in making speaking engagements throughout Anderson County in order to promote the program and recruit those amazing individuals and families willing to make a difference in a child’s life.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much money will it cost me to be a therapeutic foster parent?  There is no cost to you to become licensed or to serve as a foster parent.

What kind of financial help is there to cover the costs associated with fostering?  All children in foster care receive free breakfast and lunch at school.  They also receive a $100 clothing voucher per quarter.  Children in foster care are covered by Medicaid, so their healthcare (mental health, physical health, vision, and dental) is covered.  Foster parents can receive SC Vouchers to cover daycare expenses.  If you have children placed with you between the ages of 0-5, you can receive WIC vouchers for formula, baby food, milk, cereal, juice, and cheese.

Who all will come to my home and how often? During the licensing process, a Licensing Specialist will come to your home to conduct the home study.  This will happen over multiple visits during the licensing process.  A fire marshall will also come to your home; the Licensing Specialist will be there during this inspection.  Once you’ve been licensed, the Licensing Specialist will make quarterly visits to your home.  When you have a child placed with you, a Treatment Coordinator will come to your home on a regular basis (determined by the child’s level) to offer support, guidance, and monitor services.

What is the difference between therapeutic and non-therapeutic foster care?  Children who are therapeutically placed have a higher level of need.  They may have more appointments (counseling, medication appointments, etc) to attend, more behavioral issues that could result in frequent trips to the school, and may need more patience and understanding from their caregivers. Children in therapeutic foster care may have seen or been around scary situations (trauma) and need extra help and guidance to deal with things.

What has the child been through before being placed in my home? Every child has a unique story. Some children lived in homes where there was a lot of fighting or yelling.  Other children may have come from homes where there wasn’t enough food to eat or where they didn’t get enough attention. You will be told what we know about the child who is placed with you so you’re prepared to help him or her deal with it.   To get a better understanding of trauma, go to http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/03/02/387007941/take-the-ace-quiz-and-learn-what-it-does-and-doesnt-mean

How long does it take to become a foster parent?  On average, the process takes about 4 months.

What kind of training do I need to become a foster parent? Therapeutic foster parents have to have a minimum of 32 hours of training.  These trainings cover basics such as CPR/First Aid as well as information on how the child welfare system works so you understand the process.  Specific trainings will also be done to address the types of services you will provide to the child who is placed in your home.

Once I’m licensed, how many hours of training do I need each year to keep up my license?  You’ll need a minimum of 16 hours of training per year to maintain your license.

What is my role as the foster parent?  As the foster parent, you are the “change agent.” Your role is to care for the child as if he or she were your own:  guide, love, shelter, and nurture him or her.  This means you’ll have the responsibility of taking the child to appointments with doctors, counselors, dentists, and any other needs the child may have.  The child who is placed in your home will look to you as a role model; it is important that you demonstrate healthy boundaries, conflict resolution, and open communication so the child can learn these life skills.

What kind of support would I receive from your agency? Our goal is to surround you with support.  From the very beginning, we will walk with you throughout the licensing process.  Our Licensing Specialist will explain each part of the process to you so you know what to expect and she will be there with you whenever a home inspection is done.  Once a child is placed in your home, a Treatment Coordinator will have regular contact with you to provide support and guidance.  We want you to have every opportunity to learn and grow as a foster parent.  Our program staff will provide free trainings and share information on other available trainings in the community.  In addition, a program staff member is available after hours for emergency situations.

What if I have an emergency and I’m not available to care for the child? If an emergency comes up and you need to go somewhere, you can take the child with you, just as you would your own children (even if it’s out of state).  If something comes up and you’re not able to care for the child for a few days, he or she can be placed in respite care with another foster parent.

How big does my house have to be to foster?  Each child in your home must have their own bed, plus storage space for their personal belongings.  There are strict policies about children sharing a bedroom; we can discuss them.  There may also be times when it simply wouldn’t be in the best interest of the children to share a room.

Can my child (biological, adoptive, or step) share a room with a child placed in my home? A boy and a girl cannot share a room if they are over age 4.  Same sex children (such as two girls or two boys) can share a room, provided they each have their own bed.  Depending on the specific background of the child placed, this may not be a suitable arrangement.

What kind of home inspections need to be done? A fire marshall has to do a fire, health and sanitation inspection for licensure to make sure your home meets safety standards.

How many children can I be licensed for? DSS policy allows for a maximum of 5 foster children, with no more than 8 children total (this would include your biological/adoptive children) in the home.

Can I have a specific age group to foster?   Yes!  As we go through the licensing process, you can let us know what age group you are interested in fostering.

Do I have to pay for daycare out of pocket?  You can get an SC Voucher to cover the cost of daycare. DSS will need to assess the daycare to make sure it’s voucher-eligible and get it approved.

 

Connections will offer a component to serve medically fragile children.  Here is some more information about that special care.

Medically Fragile

What is a medically fragile child?  A medically fragile child has special health care needs.  This can include: having a feeding tube in his or her body, needing oxygen support, being dependent on a ventilator, receiving dialysis, having a urinary catheter, or needing cardiorespiratory monitoring, among other things.       

What is different about caring for a child who is medically fragile? There are more medical appointments to attend and more hands-on caretaking involved.  As the foster parent, you will need the ability to remain calm in medical emergencies. 

What kind of supports are available if I’m caring for a child who is medically fragile? As with our therapeutic foster parents, our goal is to surround you with support.  From the very beginning, we will walk with you throughout the licensing process.  Our Licensing Specialist will explain each part of the process to you so you know what to expect and she will be there with you whenever a home inspection is done.  Once a child is placed in your home, a Treatment Coordinator will have regular contact with you to provide support and guidance; this will include accompanying you to some of the child’s appointments for additional support.   If the child qualifies, there may even be a home health nurse who can come into your home and change tubes, monitor the child’s heart, and help care for the child’s other needs. We want you to have every opportunity to learn and grow as a foster parent.  Our program staff will provide free trainings and share information on other available trainings in the community.  In addition, a program staff member is available after hours for emergency situations.

Do I need to have a medical background to foster a child who is medically fragile? No.  You may not understand these terms and procedures now, but a medical professional will help teach and guide you along the way.  It helps to bring a notebook along to all appointments so you can keep notes/instructions from the medical team.