In the United States, there are around half a million foster children. In 2006, the amount of foster children in foster care CT waiting to be adopted was approximately a staggering 6,400, and the number of children waiting to be adopted was about 150 to 170. In 2014, the number of foster children waiting to be adopted in Connecticut was 1,227. It is sad that the amount of foster children is increasing every year. While it is promising that as the amount of abused and neglected children goes up, there are homes for them to go to, it is sad there are more and more children that are neglected and abused. Each of these children needs a foster home and eventually, a forever home. Many times, that forever home is the home with their biological family, where they were originally. Most foster children are taken out of their original homes due to abandonment, abuse, and/or neglect. The job of a foster care parent is to provide a stable home environment for that child, which is filled with love, trust, and regular rules for the child to follow. Foster care can be an amazing opportunity for all involved. It usually includes moments of happiness, moments of doubt, and moments of feeling overwhelmed. Although some of the feelings involved are not particularly positive, when you take the negative with the positive, the outcome can be one of incredible love and trust in the making.
Fostering can be frustrating to potential foster care parents because every state has its own rules and regulations to follow. The rules that may apply in New York may not apply to, let’s say, Connecticut. This article is for those interested in learning about foster care CT, and the rules and regulations to follow if one is interested in becoming a foster parent. So, let’s start with the basics, shall we?
- Consult a foster care professional if you are considering fostering children in Connecticut. The age of children that can be fostered is just born up until 21 years of age. Now, if they are over 18 years of age, rules and regulations apply. Click on this link to see how one can be over 18 and in foster care in the state of Connecticut.
- Attend an open house run by Connecticut Department of Children and Families. There are 14 offices around Connecticut. Find one convenient for you. You can call 1-888-KID-HERO to begin this exciting journey. Calling this number will give you the open house schedule. You can also go on their website to find the Open House Schedule.
- Home studies are mandatory. DCF will conduct home studies as part of the application process to becoming a foster parent to ensure your home is safe and a good fit for a foster child.
- Paperwork, paperwork, and oh YES! More paperwork! Applications will be required for you to fill out. Medical records will be requested for all foster-parents-to-be. Oh, let’s not forget letters of recommendation from friends and coworkers. People who can attest to your strengths and weaknesses as a person, a human being, and a parent. The state of Connecticut wants to make sure you are fit, both physically and mentally, to foster a child.
- Foster care CT requires potential foster families to become licensed by the Department of Children and Families. The licensing process takes around four months to complete from start to finish. You will not be able to foster any child until you are licensed.
- Potential foster families in Connecticut can have biological children and choose to foster. They can choose to foster without any children. They can also foster if they have children that are adopted.
- Age of a foster parent in Connecticut: The youngest a person can be is 21 years old. The oldest? Well, there is not a certain age. Seniors can apply to foster as well.
- Children being placed with foster families in Connecticut: When thinking about foster care CT, a child can be placed with a foster family before the birth parents’ rights have been terminated. This is known as a “legal risk placement” which means the child or children can return to their birth family. Please know that if a child is placed with a family for foster care, the agency is moving toward termination of a birth parent’s rights.
- There are times when foster care CT is not a legal risk placement. This occurs when the foster child has no chance of returning to their birth family. This can sometimes be easier to move forward with adopting these foster children if you choose to do so because the rights of the birth families have already been terminated.
- A prospective foster family or parent does not need to own a home. Renting a home or an apartment/townhouse is fine, as long as each child 3 years old and older who are the opposite sex has their own bedroom, and each child must have their own bed.
- For foster care CT, those who are considering becoming foster parents will have to undergo a state and national criminal history records check in addition to a child abuse history check.
- Foster care training in Connecticut is free through the Connecticut Department of Children and Families. The course is a 10-week PRIDE course. PRIDE is an acronym for Parenting Resources for Information, Development, and Education. This course will train potential Connecticut foster care parents in the ups and downs of foster children, how to navigate foster care waters, and reliable resources. You must take into account that many of the children that are in foster care have been through emotional turmoil. Not of their own accord. Some have been in other foster placements, some are just becoming a foster child for the first time. The emotions these children are feeling are many. The ones they will express, well sometimes they will express them all, sometimes they will bottle them up. It just depends on the child, and sometimes what they have been through. PRIDE classes in addition to other classes that are offered, both online and in person will assist foster parents to prepare themselves for the gamut of emotions that may flood into their home when a foster child comes to stay with them. Fostering infants can come with its own challenges, such as if the baby was born an addict to alcohol and/or drugs, the withdrawal symptoms that baby will go through can be gut-wrenching for all parties involved. The doctor appointments may be plentiful as well. This can go for any age you foster. PRIDE will prepare those considering fostering for how your life will change: the good, the bad, and yes, the ugly.
- Each child who is part of foster care CT has health insurance.
- Although many of us wish we could help all of the foster children who are in foster care in Connecticut, there is a maximum number of children who can be in one household. Six is the most a Connecticut household can have, and only three can be brought in at the same time.
- Every state does provide foster parents with a stipend to care for foster children. You will need to refer to the Connecticut Department of Children and Families to see what the current stipend rate is. The stipends do vary based on the age and the needs of the child.
- The stipend does not need to be listed as income on your income taxes, but one may be able to report the foster child or foster children as dependents on their taxes in Connecticut foster care. You will want to check with the state of Connecticut for details since every state differs slightly.
- Single parents, married couples (same sex and different sex), and members of the LGBTQ community are supported and welcomed to adopt.
- It is essential to have a good support system around you if you are considering fostering children in Connecticut or any state. Your support system can be other family members, close friends, and even online support groups.
- Fostering to adopt is often an option in Connecticut foster care. Many foster children struggle at differing degrees with trust because some have been to multiple foster homes. How can someone trust people if they aren’t with them long enough to gain trust? If fostering to adopt is something you think you may be interested in, look into it. When foster parents move to adoption, it gives those foster children a chance at the trust, and a chance at finally feeling part of a feeling. A feeling of permanency the child may never have felt before. However, fostering to adopt is not for everyone. You know yourself and your particular situation. Follow what is right for you.
- If you choose foster to adoption in Connecticut, adoptions are usually finalized between six months to a year.
This list is not nearly everything one needs to know if they are considering fostering in Connecticut or fostering to adopt. This list is just a few items that if I were considering fostering in ANY state I would inquire about. There is a multitude of websites, some of which I included in this article to refer to when trying to navigate Connecticut’s fostering system. I will leave you all with one person’s insight into deciding to foster: Karla King tells her story of choosing to adopt from foster care. She tells the story of how when she first decided to adopt, she immediately crossed off adopting from foster care. Well, in the end, this is exactly what she ended up doing. She adopted two of her children from fostering. She explains how fostering was hard, and all of the steps up to fostering a child was tedious and time-consuming. The paperwork at times seemed endless, but she tells you to just push through it. Have a support system for the time leading up to when a child is placed with you, until…well, never sever that support system. You will always want them in your back pocket. You will have to have patience. You can say to a child that you love them, show that you love them, and maybe they don’t return the sentiment…right away. It could take months, maybe a year! Just remember, that child has been through trauma. Maybe they have been abused, neglected, or abandoned. They are learning to trust and love. Just give them time. Give yourself time. Karla King says to join support groups with other foster parents who know what you are going through. They can be a great resource for you. You will also be a good resource for them! Peruse the internet, ask your pediatrician for articles and advice. The amount of information you will find, and be given on fostering may seem at times too overwhelming. It is overwhelming. The whole fostering and fostering to adopt is overwhelming! With a good support system, and knowing it is okay to have those days when you don’t know if you can move forward, it is okay to cry, you will make it through. There will also be moments of triumph with the child and the fostering process. There will be moments when you sit in your bed at night after the children are in bed and think, “Today was a good day. There will be more like this. I am thankful for today.” If all that happened is your foster child allowed you to run your fingers through his hair without cringing quite as much, it is progress. I will leave you with words from Karla King’s article that struck a chord with me: You will have to change the way you parent. It will not look or feel right in any way. Yet, in your heart of hearts, you will know it is right, and you are helping this child or children learn to trust and love.
So, are you reading this article because you are considering being a foster parent in Connecticut? Or do you know someone that is considering fostering in Connecticut? Pass this article on, talk to that person considering foster care! Have them review this article on Adoption.com. Another great resource is Portal.ct.gov/dcf.