Children of all ages, races and backgrounds need foster care. Many have been abused or neglected. They have often experienced physical, emotional and/or social deprivation in their early years. Many foster children are removed from their family home because their parent(s) or caregivers are physically or emotionally unable to provide for the child’s needs. Those children removed from their home feel afraid and confused. They often blame themselves for the problems occurring in their family. Many foster children also feel a sense of injustice and as a result are often rebellious and defiant. Foster children generally remain loyal to their parent(s) or caregivers and family no matter how bad the situation.
Because many foster children have experienced a lack of consistency with the adults in their family, they are usually unable to trust adults and people in general and have difficulty forming attachments. This creates a real challenge for foster parents. Foster parents must often provide love, acceptance, and patience for a long period of time before a foster child feels a sense of belonging and is comfortable living with the foster family.
What is a Foster Parent?
A Foster Parent is:
- One who provides a nurturing family environment for a child in need of temporary care while in the custody of Wood County Department of Job and Family Services
- In good physical and mental health
- Emotionally mature and stable
- Willing to work cooperatively with the agency and others to plan for the best interests of a child
- Able to accept a child’s return home or placement change
- One who has general knowledge of children’s developmental stages and needs
- Able to recognize and respond to differences in children’s individual needs and personalities
- At least 21 years of age
- Legally married for at least one year or Single
- Able to cope constructively with stress, crisis, and special child rearing problems
- Willing to receive at least 20 hours of required continuing education related to foster care
How Long are Children in a Foster Home?
Placement of foster children can vary from a few days to a number of years. Our goal is to reunite families. It is usually difficult for the agency to predict how long that will take.
What Types of Families are Needed?
The agency needs families willing to take children of all ages, although it is usually difficult for us to find families willing to care for adolescents. The agency also needs families willing to provide respite care. Respite Care is a short term commitment of caring for a child while the primary Foster Parent(s) is on a vacation, for example. *Families willing to care for children on an emergency basis are also needed, as well as families willing to care for children with special medical needs.
How Can I Become a Foster Parent?
The state requires that all Foster Parents be licensed. The licensing process includes the following:
- Completing an application to board foster children
- Providing five unrelated references
- Social worker conducting an interview with the foster parent applicant(s) and any child over the age of four living in the home
- Local fire marshal conducting a fire inspection of the home
- Wood County Health Department conducting a well water inspection, if applicable
- Completing a background check through the Bureau of Criminal Investigations
- Family physician completing a medical report on each member of the household
- Completing a financial information form
- Participating in Foster Parent Pre-service Training
For more information, call the Wood County Department of Job and Family Services at 419-354-9669 and ask to talk to the Placement Specialist. The specialist will be happy to answer any questions you have and/or send you additional information about the foster parent program.
Speakers are also available upon request to discuss the foster parent program and related issues.