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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS


FOSTER CARE

I wouldn't mind adding a child to my home but I'm at the stage in my life where I don't want an infant or a toddler. Are there children of other ages available to foster?

There is so much "red tape" involved. It just seems so confusing and I don't know where to begin. What help can I expect?

What sort of help is offered to the children and their foster family?

What steps must I take to become a foster parent?

What types of foster care are available?

Who are the children that need foster families?

Who can become a foster parent?


ADOPTION

Are there other children, other than infants or toddlers, available for adoption?

What costs will I incur?

What happens once the adoption is finalized?

What type of help is offered to the children and their adoptive family?

Who are the children that need adoptive families?


 

Foster Care

Question: I wouldn't mind adding a child to my home but I'm at the stage in my life where I don't want an infant or a toddler. Are there children of other ages available to foster?

Answer: The majority of children at The Children’s Home, Inc. available for foster care are between the ages of 8-14. There are some real benefits to fostering an older child:

  • Older children are generally very appreciative of the opportunity to live with a family vs. living in an institution.
  • Any issues a child is experiencing has generally been thoroughly explored and the appropriate supports have already been put in place.
  • It is often easier to talk with and explain circumstances, and develop solutions with an older child rather than a younger one.
  • A child is never too old to benefit from the love of a family.
  • Through the larger system of care, children can range from age 0-17.

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Question: There is so much "red tape" involved. It just seems so confusing and I don't know where to begin. What help can I expect?

Answer: One of the primary roles of The Children’s Home, Inc. is to act as a liaison with and provide information about all the agencies with which a family may interact during the process. We make every effort to make the process as "user friendly" and efficient as possible.

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Question: What sort of help is offered to the children and their foster family?

Answer: Each child has an individual treatment plan that is created by those involved in his/her care. Examples of services include individual therapy, tutoring, 24/7 on-call support, Medicaid reimbursement, monthly support group meetings for all family members, quarterly social events, educational seminars, and other services that benefit the child and his/her family.

Additionally, parents receive a monthly stipend to provide some financial assistance to the family. The stipend amount is based on the level of care the family is required to provide.

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Question: What steps must I take to become a foster parent?

Answer: All prospective foster families attend one of our monthly orientation sessions. These meetings provide background information on The Children’s Home, our children, the staff you will work with, and an opportunity for individuals to ask questions about the process.

Following the completion of an application, you are invited to attend a 30-hour MAPP (Model Approaches to Partnerships in Parenting) Class required by the state of Florida.

Additionally, a Home Study is required as well as licensing requirements. All of these services are provided by The Children’s Home, Inc. and are free of charge. Following this, a child/family match is proposed and visits begin.

In most cases, the process takes between 6-12 months before a child’s placement in your home is finalized.

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Question: What types of foster care are available?

Answer: The Children’s Home has four different types of foster care available ranging from regular through therapeutic. Generally the higher the level of care provided by the parent, the greater the number of services provided to the child and family. The stipend also increases based on the level of care required.

Regular foster care is provided to children who have temporarily been removed from their homes and generally remain in the foster care system between 24 hours to one year. The goal is often reunification with the biological family. Examples of services provided may be counseling or educational support. A family may care for up to five children.

Supported foster care is provided to children who have had previous multiple foster care placements, currently reside at The Children’s Home or some other residential facility, and have remained in the system for an extended period of time. Examples of services provided may be on-going therapy, use of medication to control behavioral issues, and/or therapeutic support for post traumatic stress disorder, etc. This level of care receives a higher subsidy.

Therapeutic foster care is provided to children who have experienced significant trauma in their lives and require on-going therapeutic support and 24 hour supervision. A maximum of two children may be placed in a therapeutic home. A minimum of one visit per week is required by the child’s care manager. Parents providing therapeutic foster care must have flexible schedules and be ready to facilitate care whenever required. This level of care receives a higher level of subsidy.

Long Term Foster Care may be designated for children who are 14 years or older who have not had their parental rights terminated, do not wish to be adopted or wish to be placed in a family setting. 

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Question: Who are the children that need foster families?

Answer: More than half of the children at The Children’s Home are ready to join a family. They are between the ages of 5-17, may be part of a sibling or minority group, and have all worked hard to resolve the issues related to their abuse, neglect or abandonment.

Additionally, as part of the community-based care movement, the Children’s Home also places children between the ages of 0-17 from the larger system of care.

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Question: Who can become a foster parent?

Answer: Any person willing to be a resource and support to a waiting child(ren), and willing to commit their time, attention and understanding to that child(ren).

Foster parents may be single or married (at least one year), with or without children, complete Florida’s standardized course of MAPP (Model Approaches to Partnerships in Parenting) training, and complete the licensure process.

Prior to fostering, parents must be willing to work in partnership with The Children’s Home, Inc. who will provide, free of charge, all needed support before, during and after placement for children and their families.

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Adoption

Question: Are there other children, other than infants or toddlers, available for adoption?

Answer: The majority of children at The Children’s Home available for adoption are between the ages of 8-14. Adoption for children of any age allows the child a sense of permanency, and the positive impact for the child can be significant and long lasting. A child is never too old to benefit from the love of a family.

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Question: What costs will I incur?

Answer: In the State of Florida, all children classified as “special needs” are adoptable by a qualifying family with little or no cost to the family. All major expenses related to the adoption process are paid by the State, and the family normally incurs costs only for incidentals related to the process (i.e., the cost of outings with the child, the purchase of any gifts or clothing deemed necessary by the family, etc.).

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Question: What happens once the adoption is finalized?

Answer: Once an adoption has been finalized in a Florida Court of Law, the child becomes a permanent member of the adopting family, affording parents all rights and responsibilities that would come with a biological birth child. In most cases, the State of Florida offers a monthly subsidy for the continued care of the child.

Most children are eligible for Medicaid Health Insurance and, with minimal qualification, four years of college tuition at a State-funded college or university.

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Question: What type of help is offered to the children and their adoptive family?

Answer: Each child has an individual treatment plan that is created by those involved in his/her care. Examples of services include individual therapy, tutoring, 24/7 on-call support, Medicaid reimbursement, monthly support group meetings for all family members, quarterly social events, educational seminars, and other services that benefit the child and his/her family.

Additionally, parents negotiate a monthly subsidy to provide some financial assistance to the family.

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Question: Who are the children that need adoptive families?

Answer: More than half of the children in residence at The Children’s Home are ready to join a family. They are between the ages of 5-17, may be part of a sibling or minority group, and have all worked hard to resolve the issues related to their abuse, neglect or abandonment.

Additionally, The Children’s Home places children that are part of the larger child welfare system. At any given time in Hillsborough county alone, there are more than 600 children awaiting adoption.