You will quickly learn that when considering becoming a foster parent, you must do a lot of research. This will include understanding what is expected of you, foster parent qualifications in Indiana, or whichever state you reside in, different types of foster care, training expectations, financial responsibilities, and the list could go on and on.
One of the most crucial things you can research in the process, however, is finding a foster care agency to work with. When you find a trustworthy foster care agency the rest of the information you need should fall into place through their help and guidance.
In most states, future foster parents have the choice to work with countless reputable foster care agencies. Among these agencies, you will find both private agencies and county public foster care and children services agencies.
Find Foster Care Agencies in Your Area
First things first, you can narrow down your options by finding a foster care agency that serves in the area in which you live. At Benchmark Family Services we are a private therapeutic foster care agency serving in Indiana, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania.
You can always use a search tool like this one provided by the National Welfare Information Gateway, to find an agency in your area.
Once you have found what options are available in your area, you can look at some of the specific types of agencies and decide what may be the best fit for you.
Public Children’s Services Agencies
In most states, the children’s services agencies are run by each county. Each county has its own agency which is responsible for providing child welfare services, including foster care, to the county. The county agency can perform a home study for families who are considering becoming foster parents.
There are many private agencies across the country. Private foster care agencies are still licensed and regulated by the state. They differ in that they often have independent missions, values, focuses, or religious affiliations. For Example, Benchmark Family Services is a private foster care agency that focuses on therapeutic foster care. There are many private agencies that complete home studies for families wanting to foster children from the child welfare system.
10 Questions to Ask a Foster Care Agency
As we mentioned before, finding a trusted foster care agency will assist you in all your other research and preparations when becoming a foster parent. For this reason, we want to resource you with 10 questions you can ask any foster care agency to begin to gauge if they will be the right fit to help you along in this process.
- Where will children placed in my home come from? The county I live in? Different counties?
- What types of placements do you need most? Homes that take older children? Sibling groups? Children with physical or developmental challenges?
- Do you also approve families for adoption?
- What training is required, and when and where is it offered? Is there childcare available?
- How soon would someone start working on my home study?
- How long will the home study take?
- What types of services and supports do you offer, such as training, child care, mileage reimbursement, per diems, support groups, mentors, respite care, etc.?
- How many foster families does your agency have? How many families does each assessor have?
- What is the preferred method of contact for questions (email/phone call/text)? What is the normal response time for non-emergency questions?
- Who do I call in an emergency when I have a child placed with me?