Did You Know This About Foster Care?

When becoming a foster parent or even just considering it, there can be a lot of unknowns. The general population seems to have a good base level understanding of what foster care entails. At Benchmark Family Services it is our job to give all the foster parents we work with an in-depth understanding and training of everything they can expect as they become foster parents. Of course, the real training begins when the first child is placed in their home.

When foster parents begin their journey of caring for children in out-of-home placement, they are usually unaware of the less popular rules of foster parenting. Following are leading unknown points.  

Did You Know This About Foster Care?

You Can’t Show Foster Kids Faces on The Internet 

Have you ever seen pictures or videos on the internet of a group of children with some faces covered or blurred from view?  The blurred faces could be the faces of foster children.  For the safety and protection of the privacy of the child and biological family, state laws make the public publishing of pictures and videos of a child illegal.  

However, this does not mean foster parents cannot take pictures of their foster children. They may take pictures and videos to keep as memories but not to be published in a public forum or given to others who cannot be guarded against publicizing the pictures. 

You Must Consider Childcare

Childcare laws vary from state to state and can vary from county to county.  In some states a childcare provider or babysitter must be approved before a foster child can be left in their care. In all states foster parents cannot arbitrarily decide to use any childcare or babysitting service—they must follow the rules of the custodial agency when selecting a service. 

In the event a foster parent is permitted to freely choose childcare, special consideration must be given towards the child’s safety, existing needs, and the possibility of causing the child additional trauma.  When seeking childcare or babysitting for your foster child, questions to be answered are “how will the child respond to being in the care of someone else?”  “Can the caregiver handle the needs of the child?” 

All kinds of people can qualify to foster children

People commonly believe foster parenting opportunities are only available to a tightly limited demographic. This is not true.  While there are certain requirements that must be met to ensure the safety and stability of the foster child, no one is excluded from consideration. Benchmark Family Services partners with all who pass the screening process regardless of marital status, sex orientation, race/ethnicity, gender, creed, religion, or age over 21. 

Foster Parent Training is in Depth

Many families choose a foster care agency like Benchmark Family Services because of the extensive training, support and generous per diem paid for the dedicated work the foster children will require.  The training is in-depth and ongoing to ensure its foster parents are prepared for the tasks ahead.  Support is 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Refresher training is given annually or even upon request so that parents are confident in their caregiving skills. 

Many Foster Children have experienced Trauma

Nearly 100 percent of children placed in therapeutic care are experiencing trauma. Therapeutic foster parents are trained to be trauma-informed and trauma-cognizant as it is highly likely the child placed in their care has experienced some type of trauma that either caused their removal from home (abuse, neglect, etc.) and/or resulted IN the removal from their home. 

Being trauma-informed means the caregiver is aware that the child’s behaviors and abilities may be affected or even driven by trauma, that there are evidence-based approaches to be used for recovery, and that avoiding re-traumatization is ongoing and essential. The foundation of these recovery efforts is grounded in homes that are safe and stable and in therapeutic foster parents who are committed to reliably advocating for the child’s well-being.   

Relationship With Biological Family is Encouraged

Many people reasonably assume that when a child is removed from their home that contact and their relationship with family are automatically severed.  This can be true in cases where the court has ordered such conditions when circumstances warrant, but as a matter of law, priority is given to preserving the family over out-of-home care. 

Provisions are therefore made for substance use treatment, mental health services, parenting improvement programs, and other rehabilitative measures for affected families in effort of preventing the removal of children. 

When children are removed from the home, it is with the goal of ultimately reunifying them with the family as soon as safely possible. Family contact and relationship building are therefore necessary and encouraged. 

Therapeutic foster parents respect and give diligence to these pathways or other avenues of safe, permanent living for the child as defined by their custodial agencies. 

Siblings Are Often Split Up

An important step in preserving the family unit is keeping siblings together when they’ve been removed from the home. Siblings are only separated when they all cannot be accommodated in the same foster home. Many foster families will choose to keep siblings together when possible—splitting sibling groups is not always necessary. Benchmark Family Services makes keeping siblings together a priority.

If you have the ability to foster a sibling group, this is greatly needed.

If you have the desire to foster children in any capacity, there is a need for you to fill. Contact Benchmark Family Services to see how you can play a role in foster care in Kentucky, Indiana or Pennsylvania