Become a foster parent
When the phone rings at 2 a.m. and a child needs a safe place to stay, who will answer that call? Across Central Florida, a dedicated team of foster parents is always there for our most vulnerable kids. You, too, can be part of that loving network of support.
Providing shelter from abuse and neglect
In a perfect world each child grows up in a safe, stable and loving family of their own. Unfortunately, this is not reality. Today in Central Florida, more than 1700 children are not able to sleep in their own beds due to neglect or abuse.
Children come into foster care through no fault of their own. They are removed from their homes because their parents are unable to provide the care they need. Sometimes it’s because they never learned good parenting skills. Sometimes it’s because of substance abuse, mental illness, poverty, or domestic violence. Ultimately, the goal of foster care is to help these families overcome challenges so their children may remain at home safely.
Foster parents provide the stability, structure and acceptance needed during this scary, traumatic time. In a period of chaos, our foster parents are the anchors our children hold onto until it is safe to return home.
If you are reading this, we take it you may be interested in becoming a foster parent. Whether you have already made the decision to foster, or simply would like to know more; you are in the right place. We invite you to embark on this beautiful journey.
Listen to Danae and German Fuentes as they share their exciting, challenging and rewarding journey as foster parents.
Start your life-changing journey
What’s the process to become a foster parent?
- Call us at 1-866-90CHILD to speak to a foster parent recruiter OR visit https://fostertrack.embracefamilies.org/parentquestionnaire.asp.
- Attend an orientation session.
- Complete the 30 hour National Training and Development Curriculum (NTDC) training. This a state-of-the-art training curriculum that will help prospective parents: 1) understand the unique needs of children who have experienced trauma, separation and loss, 2) expand your parenting skills and strategies, and 3) Increase access to information and resources that will help throughout the foster/adoption journey.
- Complete a thorough home inspection and study (we’ll ask lots of questions!).
- Complete background, employment and reference checks.
- Welcome a child into your heart and home.
What are the requirements to become a foster parent?
Basic requirements for becoming a foster parent are as follows: You must be 21 years of age, currently not a recipient of governmental financial assistance (SNAP, TANF, etc.), and able to pass a home inspection and criminal background check.
Contrary to popular belief, any qualified adult can be licensed to foster, no matter their marital status, sexual orientation, age, gender, home ownership or income level.
What support is available to foster parents?
- Foster Family Advocates are actively involved in helping to meet your family’s immediate needs in the first days of transitioning a child into your home.
- A monthly stipend helps offset the cost of caring for the child.
- A specialty Medicaid plan covers the child’s health and dental expenses.
- Yearly clothing allowance is provided for each child
- Monthly visits from the child’s case manager are required.
- Local foster parent associations meet monthly to provide guidance and emotional support, ongoing training, respite, or sometimes just an empathetic ear.
*Teens and young adults in foster care are eligible for a tuition waiver to any college in the state of Florida that accepts Bright Futures, as well as assistance in obtaining their driver’s permit/license and insurance coverage.
How long will a child remain in my care?
Every situation is different. Some children are in licensed foster care for just a day, until a relative arrives to care for them; others may be in foster care for years, as their parents work through their case management plans as dictated by the courts. Our ultimate goal is to provide permanency for a child within twelve months, either through reunification with their parents, permanent guardianship, or adoption by a forever family.
How do I know if I’m ready to be a foster parent?
You may want to start by asking yourself these questions:
- Do I have enough room in my home to temporarily house a child?
- Can my home pass a safety inspection?
- Am I physically and emotionally capable of caring for children?
- Do I have an adequate income to meet my own family’s current needs?
- Have I been in my current relationship for more than 12 months?
- Have I been at my current address for more than 12 months?
- Do I have any major life changes coming in the near future?
- Has an adult in my home ever been convicted of a crime?
- Am I ready to begin the home study process?
Care Grants - What is eligible?
Care Grants – Child Welfare Specialty Plan (CWSP) Expanded Benefit
What is eligible?
Request MUST come from the CBC, the CMO, or an adoptive parent, IL youth over 18
New requirements/coverage as of 12/1/18
Examples of what will meet criteria
– Youth volleyball registration fees
– Winter break camp
– Summer camp
– Youth football registration fees
– Gymnastics class
– Gymnastics camp
– Youth football cleats
– Dance class attire
– Painting supplies
– Swim lessons
– Soccer registration and cleats
– Baseball registration and cleats
– Reading camp fees
– Senior Grad Night
– Senior Prom dress
– Senior cap & gown fee
– 8th grade graduation activities
– Soccer ball
– Soccer net
– Bike helmet
– Safety pads for sports or physical activity
– Infant exercise products (i.e., Jumperoo, Baby Einstein Exersaucer)
– Roller Skates
– Gym membership
– Kids gym classes
– School/Faith/Social Organization related trips and field trips (i.e., amusement parks/trips will only be approved if directly connected with a group school/ faith/social organization trip; i.e., travel soccer team, faith based organization related group trip; i.e., church group trip)
Examples of what will not meet criteria and will be denied
– Clothing (general)
– Shoes (general)
– Hair cut
– Hair straightener
– Apple i-pad for entertainment
– Leap pads
– Bunk beds
– Car seat
– School uniforms
– School clothing
– Senior yearbook
– Class Ring
– Bedroom dresser & desk
– Diapers, wipes, baby lotion
– Professional modeling photos
– Cell phones
– Paw patrol thermos
– Electric bill
– Hotel rooms
– Room air purifier
– Hover Board
– Toy truck
– Amusement parks (i.e., Disney, Busch Gardens) NOT affiliated with a supervised school/faith based/social organization trip
– Trips/travel costs not part of a school/faith based/social organization activity the child is participating in (i.e., family cruise would not be appropriate. However, travel soccer trip/associated travel costs would be approved)
Having a reliable adult to turn to for support and guidance is vital to any young person’s success… but especially so for youth in foster care. As a mentor, you have the opportunity to become a positive role model and champion for our kids.
Right now, dozens of children in foster care are awaiting a “forever family.” As an adoptive parent, you have the power to provide the unconditional love and support that will change a child’s life forever.
In an ideal world, no child would have to enter foster care. Support our efforts to prevent abuse and neglect by helping us to address child abuse prevention, family stability and youth success.