Do I have to be married to foster or adopt?
No. Foster and adoptive parents can be single or married. If you are married, you must be married at least one year before applying to foster or adopt. Sometimes being a single parent is the best option for a child that has experienced specific types of abuse.
Am I too old to foster/adopt? Am I too young to foster/adopt?
You must be 21 years of age to apply, but there are no restrictions on the maximum age for foster or adoptive parents. However, these applicants must be physically able to care for the child’s needs at his/her developmental age. Oftentimes, empty nesters or retired individuals can play a significant role as a foster or adoptive parent.
Does one foster or adoptive parent need to stay at home? No. Foster and adoptive children can attend daycare or be supervised by other caretakers while the foster/adoptive parents are at work.
Who pays for daycare?
The Department of Children & Family Services and/or its agents provide the funding for approved daycare and caretaking services.
Does each foster child have to have his own bedroom?
Not usually. However, there are specific circumstances where a foster child may need his/her own room.
Can we choose the age/gender/race/sibling group that is placed in our home?
Yes. Families are encouraged to assess their own strengths and the strengths of their extended family so they can make wise decisions about the right child(ren) for their home.
What about medical care?
Medical insurance is provided through the state of Illinois’ Medicaid program. If the child is seeing physicians that are Medicaid providers, there will be no fees for services. Additionally, all approved medications will be provided at no cost.
I’m nervous about the birthparents and parent/child visits. Will the parent come to my home?
Parent/child visits are scheduled at a third party location and are supervised by a DCFS representative.
Will the birthparents know our name, address, and their child’s new school?
No. The foster and adoptive parents have the right to make decisions about their privacy. Personal information will not be given to the birth family unless the foster or adoptive parents give it to them directly. The child’s new school is also considered private information and is not given to the birth family.
How long will the child be with us?
Every situation is unique. Some children may need a very short stay in your home of days or weeks. However, many children may need the care of a foster parent for many months.
Are my kids too young to have a foster child in our home?
No. However, every foster family should assess the needs of their own children when considering providing for the needs of a foster child as well.
What is the difference between foster care and adoption?
Foster care is a ministry of reconciliation. Foster families take on the care of a child who needs healing from abuse, neglect or abandonment while their parents receive the help that they need to become safe, healthy families. It is the goal in foster care to reunite the child successfully with their birth family. It is a restoration process. Adoption is needed when a child cannot be safely reunited with their birth family. When this occurs, an adoptive family is needed to step in and be the mom and dad to that child forever.
When considering foster care, how do you give a child back?
This seems to be the most common concern for people considering foster care, and it is an important to think about this possibility before you begin. First, you must remember that while you love and care for foster children, they are not your children. They have a mom and a dad, and biological connections are incredibly strong. If a biological parent can care for his/her child, this is the best option for that child. Second, we encourage you to be willing to grieve for the sake of a child. The truth is that you may grieve if a child comes to you and then returns home. You must decide if the benefit for that child is worth grief on your part. Third, we encourage you to trust God. The simplest answer is to trust Him to guide the future of your family and any foster children you care for. He is faithful.
Click here to view Illinois’ LICENSING STANDARDS FOR FOSTER FAMILY HOMES.