STEPS TO BECOMING A FOSTER PARENT IN OHIO
1. Educate yourself about foster children
Each and every child deserves a family to be there for them every day providing love and guidance. Earning a child's trust may take time and energy. In addition, many children waiting in Ohio require regular medical care and/or counseling. Parenting a child with these needs can be hard work, but the rewards are tremendous for the right family.
2. Make an Inquiry
Families or individuals interested in becoming a foster parents should contact their local children services agency and inform the agency of their interest. The agency will begin the licensing process with the family.
3. Attend the Required Pre-Service Training
All families or individuals that wish to become a foster family must attend pre-service training. These training sessions are typically offered on weekdays, evenings or weekends. The sessions will instruct prospective foster families on basic knowledge about foster care and adoption, agency policies, and the roles of foster and foster-to-adopt parents. In addition, the sessions aim to increase the prospective foster families' understanding of foster/adoptive children's situations, needs and feelings. During the pre-service training, all families will need to complete all required paperwork before filling out an application. NOTE: Criminal background checks are done on all adult household members. For a list of available trainings, please visit the Ohio Child Welfare Training Program website at: www.ocwtp.net.
4. Fill Out an Application
All prospective foster parents must fill out and submit an application to the agency. The application will ask about your family background and for a description of the child you seek to foster.
5. Complete a Home Study
The home study will be conducted by an assigned Licensing Specialist. The information requested for the homestudy will vary from agency to agency. However, the basic elements that make up a homestudy are personal interviews, home visits, submission of health records and financial statements, a personal statement, character references, educational training, a search of the statewide automated child welfare information system and criminal background checks. The assessor may have you provide or complete any number of documents. Those documents usually include: medical statements, a child characteristics checklist, a fire inspection, a safety audit, a financial statement, a local and federal criminal background check, and a water test.
6. Identify and Select a Child for Placement
Once your family has completed the homestudy and been approved as a foster family, the agency will begin to match your family with foster children. The agency will identify children for placement in your home based on the your ability to meet the child's needs. Information about foster care board rates will be explained during this step. Prior to a child being placed in your home, your family should be provided with detailed information about the child and information regarding any specific financial and medical resources.
7. Pre-Placement of a Child in the Home
Prior to a child being placed with your family, you will be: provided with the opportunity to discuss the characteristics of the child; given detailed information about the child, when available; given information regarding the child's specific care or special needs; and given the child's initial clothing needs.
8. Post-Placement of a Child in the Home
A child will be placed with your family after pre-placement visits when possible. The child's social worker will aid your family and the child through any adjustment period by making regular home visits, maintaining phone contact and helping with counseling, crisis intervention and providing resources.