Whether you have considered becoming a Foster Parent for years or are just curious to learn more, Citrus Family Care Network is here to help. These Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) answer common questions about fostering. To receive answers about your unique situation – or to take the next step toward becoming a Foster Parent – contact us at 1-855-786-KIDS or through our online form.
What is the process to become a Foster Parent?
The first step toward becoming a licensed Foster Parent in our community is to contact Citrus Family Care Network. We are the Lead Agency that manages foster care in Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties. Please contact us online or call 1-855-786-KIDS. Then you will attend an Orientation Session, have a detailed home study and background check completed, and take training classes before welcoming your first foster child into your home.
What are the requirements to become a Foster Parent?
To ensure the safety of children in foster care, the State of Florida requires that prospective Foster Parents be legal Florida residents who are at least 21 years of age, financially stable (can pay your bills), and physically and emotionally able to care for children. Foster Parents must also pass an extensive background check and have adequate room and beds in the home. However, the single most important requirement is love.
What is a home study?
The State of Florida requires that the Foster Parent licensing process include a detailed home study. The purpose of the home study is to ensure that children are placed in safe, loving homes. Home studies include not only a physical inspection of the home, but also interviews with all members of the household of the potential foster family, background screenings, and personal references.
Do I need to own my own home or live in a house to foster?
No. Many Foster Parents in Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties rent and live in condominiums or apartments. However, persons who receive government financial assistance such as HUD or Section 8 housing, are not eligible to foster.
Do you have to be married to foster?
No. Single, partnered, and married people alike can and do become excellent Foster Parents in our community.
Can LGBTQ people foster?
Absolutely. The LGBTQ community includes many great Foster Parents.
How many bedrooms must I have in my home?
The number of rooms required depends upon how many people live in your home, as well as their ages and genders. Each child must have his or her own bed in a separate room from the Foster Parent, and no child may share a bedroom with anyone over the age of 18. In general, foster children may share a bedroom with another child of the same gender.
How much money do I need to make to foster?
Foster Parents come from many different income levels and backgrounds. You certainly do not have to be wealthy to foster. Foster Parents must simply be financially stable, meaning that you have enough income to meet your family’s needs and pay your bills.
Foster Parents receive a monthly “board rate” payment, but this is not intended to be a source of income for the parents. Rather, this is to help offset the costs of fostering. If you become a Foster Parent, there will be some child-related expenses that you must cover on own.
How long does the licensing process take?
The length of time that the licensing process takes can vary widely depending on each family’s availability to complete the training and the needed paperwork.
How does training prepare people to foster?
Like any form of parenting, fostering includes both challenges and rewards. The training that Foster Parents receive equips them to address the children’s needs and to work with common behaviors of children who have been abused, abandoned, or neglected.
Do Foster Parents receive financial support?
Foster Parents receive a “board rate” depending upon the level of foster care they provide and the child’s age. This is intended to offset the costs of fostering, but is not indented to cover all expenses or provide income to the Foster Parents. In addition to board payments, Foster Parents receive childcare at little or no cost, as well as a set number of annual respite care days (when the child stays with another foster family).
Do Foster Parents have to pay for children’s medical bills?
Children in the foster care system receive health insurance coverage through Medicaid to cover their healthcare costs. Foster Parents generally do not pay for medical expenses apart from over-the-counter medicines and supplies, and many of those may be covered by the child’s health insurance, as well.
Can Foster Parents adopt the children they foster?
Whenever possible, reunification with the child’s biological family is the goal. However, in some cases the court may terminate parental rights, which makes the children available for adoption. In these cases, the Foster Parents are usually the first choice for adoption of a child who has been in their care.
Can Foster Parents leave the children in their care with a babysitter?
Yes, and more information about this is covered in the training classes.
Can Foster Parents take the children on vacation?
Yes, although the travel arrangements must be approved in advance. Many Foster Parents find vacations to be an excellent opportunity for bonding with the children in their care.