Become a Foster Parent
Thank you for considering becoming a foster parent. Why become a foster parent? Currently in both Rhode Island and Massachusetts there is a great need for safe, nurturing homes and families for children and adolescents. Becoming a foster parent can feel like a long process but we are here to guide you. Here is a quick glance at the requirements of becoming a foster parent in MA and RI:
Rhode Island Foster Care
- Background clearances of all household members 18 and older.
- Home must meet safety and licensing standards and complete DCYF Fire Inspection and Lead/Safety Inspection.
- Complete TIPPS-MAPP (Trauma Informed Partnering for Safety and Permanence Model Approach to Partnerships in Parenting) training
Massachusetts Foster Care
- Background clearances of all household members 14 and older. Results are considered on a case by case basis.
- Home must meet safely licensing standards, such as having smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, working heat and running water.
- Complete MAPP Training (Massachusetts Approach to Partnerships in Parenting)
You must be licensed in the state in which you live in. In both states it is required to complete a homestudy, which includes character and medical references. All required paperwork is obtained during this time as it is the final step prior to licensing (i.e. pay stubs, ID/license, insurance, etc.)
Becoming a foster/adoptive parent requires flexibility, a sense of humor, a willingness to grow and learn, but most of all a commitment to provide a safe, nurturing, and loving home for a child. The application and licensing process is the same for foster and adoptive families.
Why should I become a Foster Parent?
Because you can make a difference in the life of a child. As a Communities for People (CFP) foster parent you will receive on-going training, support and guidance in the areas of child development, parenting strategies and behavior management.
Committed, caring individuals, couples and families are desperately needed to provide temporary, loving homes to children who are not living with their families. You may possess the life experiences and special skills that could benefit a child in need.
CFP provides foster care for children, adolescents and young adults who are in the custody of the Massachusetts Department of Children & Families and Rhode Island’s Department of Children, Youth and Families. Our program serves clients whose ages range from birth/infancy to young adults up to their 22nd birthdays. The majority of our clients are typical children in many ways, but have all experienced trauma and loss and some may be considered higher need as a result. They may need more support with behavioral or emotional problems, medical conditions, physical handicaps or developmental delays. We will help you find the right services to support you and the child so they can be successful in your home. If you are over the age of 21 and are willing to complete the required background checks, pre-placement training and foster parent homestudy, you can provide a safe and stable home for a child in need.
What is the difference between adoption and foster care?
Foster care is intended to provide a temporary family environment and short-term commitment to a child in need. Adoption is a permanent commitment to a child, intended to last a lifetime. In both cases, safe, supportive and nurturing homes are needed.
How long will I have to wait for a placement?
Waiting time can vary according to family characteristics and incoming referrals. Often, it can take several months before a match is found.
Will I be reimbursed as a Foster Parent?
Yes. Foster care reimbursement rates are determined by DCF and DCYF. Please call us to get current rate. Children placed through CFP will also receive additional funds for clothing, birthdays, and holidays. Foster families are commonly called upon to provide services such as medication administration, behavioral management, and closely work with the clinical team. All foster children have medical and dental insurance.
What if I cannot manage the child in my home?
CFP will make every attempt to assist you and your family in maintaining a child in your home. You will receive support from a team of highly skilled and sensitive professionals that will work with you every step of the way. The number one priority of our agency is the well-being our clients and our foster families and we do everything possible to make sure that everyone feels safe and secure.
Will I meet the child before he/she moves in?
Whenever possible, pre-placement visits are arranged including day and overnight visits to your home. Occasionally, our families are asked to provide a home for a child referred in an emergency and pre-placement visits are not possible. All CFP foster families have the final say on whether or not a child is placed in their home.
Could I eventually adopt a foster child?
Most children in foster care are not free for adoption and will be reunited with their birth parents. When appropriate, foster parents do adopt their foster children, but foster parenting alone does not guarantee that you will be able to do so. DCF and DCYF make the ultimate decision when approving adoptive families and no CFP foster family is expected to make a permanent commitment to the children placed in their home.
Will I be required to provide transportation for my foster child?
Yes. Foster parents are required to provide routine and emergency transportation for the clients placed in their home. The CFP social worker will be able to assist you with arranging transportation for your foster child’s planned visits, appointments, and meetings. For events that require the foster parent’s attendance (Foster Care Reviews, school meetings, etc.) it is expected that the foster parent provide his/her own transportation.
What kind of contact will I have with my client’s family?
The majority of children placed in on foster homes are working towards reunifying with their families and our foster parents play an essential role in making that happen. What type of contact each client has with their family is determined on a case-by-case basis and CFP program staff work with DCF and DCYF to make sure that our clients and foster families feel comfortable with all visitation and contact plans.
What happens in case of an emergency?
CFP has a 24-hour on-call service that will connect you to a social worker at any time. CFP is prepared to provide crisis intervention if required. Foster families will be informed of which hospital, emergency room, and doctor to refer to for medical emergencies. It is strongly advised that you become familiar with the resources in your community when you consider becoming a foster parent.