Thursday, March 26, 2015

Be A Foster Parent In Florida

You must be licensed to be a foster parent in Florida.

If you are a Florida resident and wish to provide a warm and loving home to a foster child, you'll need to become licensed as a certified foster parent. A foster parent must have the emotional and physical stamina to meet the needs of children who come from a variety of difficult backgrounds. Florida state institutions and resources help guide people who want to open their homes to foster children.


1. Review the Florida Department of Children and Families' self-questionnaire to ascertain your capability to act as a foster parent. Questions that you must ask yourself include whether you have enough room to house a foster child, whether you are emotionally capable of caring for a foster child, whether your home can pass a safety inspection and whether you have an adequate income to meet your own family's needs.

2. Contact the community-based care agency in your region of Florida to obtain information about the foster-care program.

3. Attend an orientation meeting at your region's community-based care agency location. The orientation will provide you with an overview of the foster care program as well as the requirements for applying and obtaining a license.

4. Register for a MAPP (Model Approach to Partnerships in Parenting) class. The MAPP course, taught at the community-based care agency location, covers issues including the reasons that you want to foster a child, your own childhood, your marriage (if applicable), your lifestyle, your finances, your parenting philosophy and the support system that you will have if you become a foster parent.

5. Prepare for a Florida social worker to conduct a study of your home. The Florida Department of Children and Families will also conduct a background check of law enforcement records for you and your family. Part of the background check includes requesting character references for you from your relatives, friends and employers.

6. Work with your local community-based care agency to receive a foster child. The agency will assign a foster child to you based on the child's age, background and needs. Foster parents in Florida may work outside the home, but the agency will assign young, special needs or medically fragile foster children to families which can care for the child properly. Some cases demand a stay-at-home adult in the family who can care for the child.

7. Organize adequate space for the foster child. The Florida Department of Children and Families requires that the foster family provide adequate living space for the foster child. You must provide the foster child with her own bed as well as a place for her to store her belongings.

8. Prepare to meet all requirements and responsibilities of a Florida foster parent. These include providing the child with daily care and nurturing, advocating for the child in the community and school, maintaining contact with the agency social worker regarding problems or changes in the home and school, working with the child's caseworker to help the foster child reunite with his birth family when appropriate, serving as a positive role model to the child's birth parents and helping the child learn age-appropriate life skills.

9. Spend time integrating the foster child into your home and community. Engage in family activities with other children and your extended family to help her feel a part of the family. Enroll the child in the local school and maintain contact with the child's teacher to ensure that she integrates well into her new classroom. Involve the child in your community activities, including church and other recreational activities and events.

Tags: foster child, foster parent, care agency, community-based care, community-based care agency