As a foster parent, handling difficult children or adults or children with developmental issues means you have a lot of paper work to do. There is a form for almost everything.
I have made a list of the ones that I use most often. In your area, the required forms will be different, and each person has different needs and various other forms. Some forms may be custom made just for your child, and you may be the one to make it (e.g. a behavior reward chart).
Remember that these forms are the ones that we use based upon the requirements of our agency and the difficulty of our children. You may use 50% of these forms or you may use even more. I thought that it would be helpful to see the type of forms that are generally required.
In each case, it will be your responsibility to have the forms completed. That may include having others (i.e. doctor or biological parent) fill out parts. Then you must follow up to ensure that it is sent to the agency. A handy copy machine is very useful. I make copies of papers every day. I keep a copy of every form filled out and put it the client’s book (a three-ring note book with all papers and information you receive.)
Listed below is a sampling of the many forms:
TIME TABLE: This is for my use only! This form has boxes to write in dates when you have done a required task. For example, for a fire drill, you would write in the date when it was done. This form includes the following: fire drill, test smoke alarms, fire inspection, smoke alarm battery check, dog license renewal, hot water check, well water test, chimney cleaning, dental exam, physical for child, EPSDT, eye exam, medical charts, visitation schedules, doctor appointment, no-corporal-punishment form, respite care and parent physicals.
REIMBURSEMENT CLAIM: This is a form for purchasing clothes and other limited items with funds from SSI, C&Y, or other. The amount varies from $0-$100 or more per month. The form requires a stapled receipt. The funds must be used solely for the client.
MEDICATION ADMINISTRATION RECORD: This form looks like a table with 31 columns, one for each day of the month and rows that are marked when medication is given. This form gives all of the important information to safely give medicine. It includes the following: the client’s name, name of medicine, type of medicine, dosage to be given, time given, name of doctor (if needed), and the name of the person or persons dispensing the medicine. The nice thing about this chart is that it takes out the guess work. You can safely allow other adults to follow it when needed. You could customize the form with other necessary information, e.g. doctors phone number.
NO CORPORAL PUNISHMENT: This form is like a letter stating that the school is given notice that this foster child is not allowed to be given corporal punishment in the school. Believe it or not, in Pennsylvania they can give corporal punishment.
INVENTORY OF CLOTHING: This form is filled out when your child arrives. You write down everything they own. I write down all possessions even though it only asks for clothes. When the child leaves, you fill out this form with everything that he or she is taking. I list everything here, too, even pencils.
STAFF PHYSICAL: You are the staff and are required to have a physical every 2 years. It includes a TB test. Your regular doctor is authorized to give the physical exam.
PHYSICIAN’S WRITTEN INSTRUCTION: This form is to be filled out and signed by the doctor and the biological parent. This form gives permission to administer any medicines or medical treatments to the child. A prescription is not enough.
DISCONTINUED MEDICATION: This form is filled out when you discontinue medicine or other treatment. It is signed by the doctor and the biological parent.
CLIENT (Foster Child ) ANNUAL PHYSICAL EXAMINATION: This form is filled out by the doctor when he or she does a physical on your child. This is required ASAP after your child arrives in your home (some areas require it in 24 hours.) This physical is done every year. Babies may have different requirements (e.g. physical every 6 months). Also if you have a child with medical needs, the physical may be more often.
CLIENT DENTAL EXAMINATION: This form is filled out by the dentist. An examination is required at least every nine months.
MEDICAL/DENTAL/COUNSELING LOG: This is a list of all appointments for doctor, therapists, etc. You fill this out and send it in every month. This one is easy.
VISITATION RECORD: This is a record to list every time your child has a visit with his biological parents. For some children who have supervised visits you will not have to do this.
INCIDENT OR UNUSUAL INCIDENT REPORT: This is a very serious form. You use it to report any unusual incident. For example, you have a 3 year old who needs stitches from falling off a bike. Another example might be a child is cut when he put his hand through a window. On this form you state what happened, when it happened, where it happened, who was there, and what you did to remedy the situation. Hopefully you won’t need this form much.
TELEPHONE LIST: This is a list you create that has every needed phone number. My list includes state police, poison control, Children & Youth Runaway number, all doctors, school contacts (teachers, principles, and guidance counselors), fire, ambulance and biological parents.
FIRE ESCAPE MAP: This is a drawing of your house and all rooms. It is posted in each bedroom with directions giving a first choice exit in case of fire.
FIRE DRILL RECORD: Record every fire drill, who was there, the time, what happened, evacuation time, etc. We do this every month, although it is only required every 60 days. This gives us a buffer to pick a time when everyone is home without the stress of meeting a deadline. Twice a year the drill has to take place when the children are asleep.
SMOKE DETECTOR TESTING: Just like it says. Test each detector and record the results every 60 days.
MEDICATION RECORD: This form lists all medications, when they started, medicine name, dosage, frequency, and date discontinued when it is discontinued. You can see what medicines have been given and what medicines are currently being given.
Remember, the purpose of these forms is to record all pertinent information on your child, home, and you. Once you are filling out these forms, you will find it is easy. I keep a book of blank forms and make additional copies as needed. This way I never run out. A computer can make some of these forms very easy to maintain. If you can’t use the forms on a computer, then just print them and fill them out.