I am new to all of this, have not even called to get started. My hubby and I would like to be foster parents. We live in IL. We have a 12 year old son that lives with us and my hubby has children from a pervious marriage who visit every few weeks.
I have two main questions and I am sure that these will be different from state to state. First, is it better to go through a private organization (someone told me that it was but this was in passing and I did not have a chance to ask any questions) instead of DCFS, and if so why? Also, how do the private organizations find out about the children that they place for foster care?
My other question is when will be need to buy the necessities and what are they? We would love to foster a baby but I think we could work with anyone up until 4 or so. I know that we will need a crib, car seat and such. Do you all have a handful of bottles that you keep at home just in case you get a call? I want to make sure we have what we need but don't want to buy things too early just in case something doesn't work out.
Thanks so much!
Hi and welcome to the boards!
I am in IL and even within the state it is going to vary by county. I will say that Catholic Charities no longer will do foster care or adoptions from the state so you need to check if there is any other private agencies in your area.
We are licensed through the state and we took our PRIDE class through a private agency. They work together in most areas (thankfully)
As for placements all agencies, state and private, in your area work on a rotating basis. One week DCFS has the first call for kids, next week they are second on that list, and so on. Each agency gets a set amount of time to find a family for their kids before it gets past to the next agency.
You will need to have the items you need in home for all ages that you want to foster. You will need a crib AND a twin (or bigger if that's what you have already) bed, you will need a car seat, you will need a few other items like some toys, bottles, clothes etc. You do not need to fill a toy box or have a cabinet full of bottles. You just need to be prepared for at least 24 hours of a child being in your home. So say 4 bottles, 2 outfits in each size (really easy with clearance sales right now). Just basic toys that span a few ages. Mainly they want to see you are ready and able to take a child at any hour of the day or night. If you ask around to friends and family they can usually pass down lots of things like toys and clothes so don't be afraid to ask.
Good luck with your journey and your decision.
There seems to be pros and cons to each.
The disorganization and sometimes unprofessionalism of State staff for public agency.
However, some of the private agencies make you responsible for all visits with birth family.
Ask tons of questions!!!
I'm in NC and go through a private agency. I wouldn't go through our local DSS which has a straight across the board policy of giving out ALL of a foster parent's information to birth families.
I like the support level I get with a private agency. And the adaptability.
I don't and have never had to supervise visits or transport.
Thank you all for the information! I see that I have to get a list of questions and make sure to ask many before making a decision which way I want to go with this.
They way it works here is that the county takes custody of the kids and tries to place the kids in their homes, if they cannot place them in their county home they will refer the kids to private agency's. Babies and children with fewer issues aren't as hard to place so they usually end up going to the county homes. Children with moderate special needs, school aged children and sibling groups are often harder to place so are more often referred on to private agency's. Bottom line, county foster homes have "first dibs". However, if you are licensed through the county you will probably only get kids from that county. If you live in a county that gets a lot of kids in care then it won't matter, but if you like me and live in the middle of nowhere and in a county that rarely removes children you will be waiting a long time to get kids placed in your home. Going through a neighboring county is an option here,though my "neighbors" were similar to my county-few kids in care and virtually none in desired age range. So, I decided to go through private agency. I really want hard to place kids anyways (the only deal breaker is if they aren't safe to be around other children or animals). Private agency's get kids from all over. They usually offer more support, ours is a Christian agency so I like spiritual support as well. Private agency's also usually have a higher stipend. Whether you should choose county or private will depend on where you live and what kind of kiddos you are wanting. Despite the additional supports a private agency gives you we would have gone with a county agency if we lived somewhere that had a high need for foster parents. Here, when a county places a kid in a private agency they usually email all the private agency's they use and the first to respond gets the kiddos. So I could say yes to a placement but by the time my agency emails or calls the county back someone else could have already said yes first. That means me scrambling to ready for kids that could never even come. I do love my agency but I've been reading here too long and am afraid I am going to be waiting forever to get a placement!
I am with a private agency and they told us at the last class that they give the bioparents names and addresses and telephone numbers to the foster parents unless they are in jail or deemed unstable.
Everyone in the class was shocked, myself included.
We are in IL and got licsenced by DCFS. Some of the private agencys have different requirements beyond the state requirements. We did our pride training through DCFS and all the local private agencies were in the same training classes. We were told that all agencies have Accra to the same population of kids. Your licensing worker will help you with what you need but I would urge you to go through the classes before you start buying bottles and clothes. Feel free to pm me if you have questions.
I live in MA and I did know where the bio parents and even realitives have lived.
Not because I asked but it had been on paper work and on med prescriptions for the kids.
Also in IL here. We started with a private agency and then switched to DCFS. The private agency didn't feel we would get enough babies and encouraged us to switch to another agency.
I have been putting together supplies but that is just my temperament and I like to be prepared. I have a box with a mixture of different types of bottles, a stash of both cloth diapers as well as disposables. I have a medium size tote for each size and each sex of gently used clothing. I also have several strollers (I have an addiction to strollers) just in case. I wanted to watch for good deals on craigslist, babies r us, garage sales, and thrift stores and have plenty of storage space. You do not have to do this.
Good luck with the process feel free to IM me if you have questions. I'm in Chicagoland.
We are through an agency and I wouldn't have it any other way. If I have a problem with DHS, I just call the agency and they deal with it (with me constantly calling them if I don't get an answer).
Our agency doesn't give out our info to bioparents. We tell them what info, if any at all, we want given out. They arrange all visits (sometimes I do it with the sw) and try to arrange transportation so I do not have to do it unless I volunteer for it.
We are TFC certified and I think that makes a little difference in that we sometimes get to "pick" which child we want in our home. There have been times our agency has given us several and we call and talk to sw and counselors before we make our decision.