Sunday, September 2, 2012

Is it hard to get a foster care license? (Melissa)

No, it is not that hard to get licensed to foster children.  Keep in mind each state is different.  There are also different agencies you can work with.  So this is just a brief list on what you have to do to get licensed.  My experience is with Utah.

1-  You must take classes.  We have to take 32 hours (8 classes) of pre-service training.  After licencing you must have 12 hours every year for the main caregiver and 4 for the secondary.
2-  Fill out an application.  It has everything from a background check (if you have lived in another state within 5 years it takes longer) to reference letters to a doctors note.
3-You need to get a home study done.  For the first few years, I cleaned my house spotless.  Complete with cleaning out closets, but I have relaxed since then.  I do clean my house, but they really don't care how organized your shoes are.

The complicated part is all the rules.  Here are a few.
      a. You must lock up medications and cleaners.  Sounds easy, right?  Well, don't forget the dishwasher and laundry detergent.
     b.  If you want a placement under 2, you must have a gate.
     c. don't forget your fire extinguisher

Now that I am sitting here typing and listening to my kids beg for food, I am going to go the easy route.  The ctrl c route.

 So here is some info from the Utah Foster Care Foundation's website.

•  Foster parents must be emotionally stable.
• A foster parent may be with or without their own children.
•  Foster parents and persons 18 years and over living in the
home pass a criminal background screening.
•  Foster parents must provide veri cation of stable income,
su fficient to meet the needs of the family.
• Foster parents must be legal permanent US residents.
•  Foster parents must provide a medical reference letter for each
•  Foster parents must provide the State Offi ce of Licensing the
name, address, and phone number of four references.
•  Foster parents may be licensed to care for up to three children
at a time.
•  Foster parents may not have more than two children under the
age of two living in their home.
•  Foster parents must keep con dential information shared by the
agency and shall sign a statement of con dentiality at the time
of licensure.
•  Foster parents must provide routine transportation.  Drivers must
have a valid Utah driver's license.
•  Foster parents may not use corporal (physical) punishment.
• Foster parents need patience and the ability to make a          
commitment to children in need.
Please note that completing training and receiving a
license does not guarantee that DCFS will place a  
child in your home.
•  The home shall be clean, in good repair and shall provide for
normal comforts in accordance with accepted community
•  Foster parents may rent or own the home.
• The home must be free from health and fire hazards and must
have a working smoke detector on each fl oor and at least one
approved fire extinguisher.
•  Each child in foster care must have a separate bed. Children of
the same sex may share a room.  No more than four children
are permitted in a single bedroom. A minimum of 80 square
feet must be provided in a single occupant bedroom or a
minimum of 60 square feet per child in a multiple occupant
•  The home must have a telephone.
• The home must have an adequately supplied fi rst aid kit.
Medications must be kept in locked storage.
• Firearms and ammunition must be securely locked.
• Foster parents must have a written plan of action for
emergencies and disasters.
• Foster parents will not be licensed to provide both day care
and foster care at the same time.

Okay, I will lay off the crtl c for now.  There you have it.  Not too complicated, right?

If you are not a foster family, what are your thoughts?  Does this sound hard?  Kim and I became friends 11 years ago, because I had already taken the classes and it was tough to get through them without a babysitter.  So when I found out that she was going to take them, I called her up and told her I can help with her kids and we haven't hung up the phone yet.  

If you are already licensed, was it hard?  Is your state similar in rules?  What helped you through?

(disclaimer:  I didn't take the photo on this post.  It is from this website:   How sweet is that little face?) 

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