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Frequently Asked Questions
About Foster Parenting
What are the steps I need to take to become a licensed foster parent with Child Saving Institute?
1. Attend a Foster Parent Orientation Meeting
2. Complete an 11-week training class
3. Work with Child Saving Institute to complete Home Study and other licensing paperwork
4. Receive final approval and license from the State of Nebraska
What are some of the requirements to be a foster parent in the State of Nebraska?
- You must be at least 21 years of age
- You may be single or married
- You must pass the following background checks:
- Adult Protective Services & Child Protective Services
- Omaha Police Department
- Department of Motor Vehicles
- Sex Offender Registry
- NE State Patrol (fingerprints)
- You must have a stable income
- Complete an application and Home Study
- You and your home must be in compliance with the safety checklist completed by Child Saving Institute licensing staff
What is a Home Study?
The home study is conducted by Child Saving Institute licensing staff. This is a process in which prospective foster parent(s) participate in personal interviews and a walk-through of their home. During the home study a series of in-depth and detailed questions are asked about the applicant’s background, history, family, relationships, parenting style, home and neighborhood. This is also an opportunity for prospective foster parents to ask questions and discuss concerns.
Can I work full-time and also be a foster parent?
Of course! As any working parent knows, this is no easy task, but with a good routine and planning on your part, you may maintain full-time employment while also being a very successful foster parent!
Can I choose the gender, age or race of the children I would like to foster?
During the licensing process, we will discuss your preferences with you. When matching children with foster homes, we do our best to accommodate your preferences. It is important to always remember all foster homes have the right to decline a placement, without consequence, if they do not feel it is a good fit for their home. It should also be mentioned our highest needs are based around families willing to take teens and large (3 or more children) sibling groups.
How long does it take from the time I am licensed until I welcome my first child?
You never know! Some families receive their first placement the week they are licensed while others sometimes wait months. Your preferences will typically determine the timeline as those open to wider ages, either gender or any age will typically receive calls much sooner than those families only willing to take placement of children 0-5 years old, for example.
What are my responsibilities as a foster parent?
As a foster parent, you are expected to provide a loving, nurturing and safe environment for the children in your home. You will also need to provide daily care and supervision of children, schedule and maintain all necessary medical & dental appointments and participate in family therapy if deemed necessary. Foster parents must be able to provide for all transportation needs of the children in their care as well. We also ask our foster parents cooperate with all members of that child’s team and other service providers by attending Family Team Meetings, court hearings, etc. Foster parents are also expected to work with biological families when appropriate to support reunification of the family.
What kind of support do I receive once a child is placed in my home?
Once licensed, you will be assigned a Foster Care Specialist to work with you on an ongoing basis. This person will assist you in everything from problem-solving tough behaviors to helping navigate the Nebraska Foster Care System. Your Foster Care Specialist will visit your home at least twice a month and be in contact via email or phone weekly. Child Saving Institute also provides a 24-hour, on-call phone number so you have somewhere to turn at any hour of the day in an emergency. Monthly Foster Parent Network meetings are also a great way to meet other foster parents, share stories and gain support from those in similar situations.
What kind of reimbursement do I receive? What things am I expected to pay for?
Foster care reimbursement varies depending on the child’s age, behavioral or medical diagnosis, and overall level of care needed. The reimbursement rates currently range anywhere from $11 - $34 per day. When called about a placement, we will let you know the level of care the child is placed at if we know it at the time. Otherwise we will get that information to you as soon as possible. It is important to note that the cost of medical care is covered by Medicaid for children in foster care, and children in foster care are also eligible for child care under Title XX at child care facilities that accept Title XX clients.
What is respite care?
Respite care is an essential part of foster family support. Respite care provides short-term relief to those caring for foster children by placing the child with a family member, friend or other licensed foster family. Respite care may be utilized when you are traveling out-of-town, attending a funeral or just need a break. Foster families can use their own family members or friends for respite after those individuals have completed necessary background checks and received Child Saving Institute’s approval.
Can I adopt a child from foster care?
Sometimes children in foster care are available for adoption, but it depends on the permanency goal established for that child. Most children in the foster care system are NOT currently available for adoption. Most children’s permanency plan typically starts with a goal of “reunification” with the child’s biological family. However, if a parent’s legal rights are terminated or they choose to relinquish these rights, the children would then be available for adoption at that time. A child must be placed in a foster home for at least 6 months before the adoption can be finalized.
Child Saving Institute also maintains the Nebraska Heart Gallery which is made up of children who are currently available for adoption. You are welcome to visit the website to view the children and their biographies. Anyone interested in fostering and eventually adopting a child on the Heart Gallery would first need to become a licensed foster parent.