Becoming a Foster Family
The decision to become a support parent is not one to be taken lightly. It must come, first and foremost from the heart.
We are looking for families who have a strong desire to serve individuals with developmental disabilities. “The biggest rewards come from the biggest challenges.”
You will be approved for our adult or child program, depending on your preference.
An Overview of Our Certification Process
The Initial Call
We conduct an initial call to determine your eligibility to become a support parent.
– Every adult in the household must be able to pass a criminal background check.
– Household members must test negative for TB and be healthy.
– Own a vehicle with current registration and insurance, a valid driver’s license, and a clean driving record.
– Home must have a separate bedroom specifically for our participants.
After we’ve talked on the phone, and you and your family decide this is something you’re interested in pursuing, we invite you to join us for an orientation hosted at our office.
In this four hour orientation, we discuss what it’s like to support our participants in your home. We go over what they need from you and also what you’ll need to do to be ready to have them become a member of your household. We talk about next steps in our process and training and how to make sure that you’re well-equipped for anything that might arise on this journey.
We host a 4-day training course for our families. We go over the program in its entirety, safety training, emotional intelligence, and parenting skills. We prepare you to help a person with a developmental disability become part of your family. We want to make sure that you’re ready for all that entails. We teach you what we know about developmental disabilities. We want you to know how to relate emotionally, how to overcome challenges in communication, and how to support someone in a loving family environment while everyone goes through the period of transition.
We are committed to giving you the support that you need to ensure your growing family’s success. Our Social Workers will be doing 3-4 home visits each month to help support you and your family in your new role. We want to get a good understanding of how to best support your family so that everyone’s needs are met. After the initial transition, we continue to offer support to help meet your goals, the goals of your family, and the goals of the individuals who are placed in your family.
“The biggest rewards come from the biggest challenges”
As part of our program, we provide ongoing training to our support families to continue to enhance their experience as well as the experience of the individuals who are placed with our agency. Our goal is that they will find a caring home that will be able to meet their behavioral and skill needs. We do everything possible to ensure the best possible outcomes with our placements. Continuing education is just part of that.
Our support families also receive ongoing support from our staff. Our social workers visits families weekly to offer support, create plans for growth, and to set goals with our consumers and their families. We also provide behavior training to our support families.
With each placement, the families receive a financial stipend to assist with living expenses and individual care.
Once you are approved, Free to Be staff will consider your home for potential placements. Our program has been successful because we are careful to match children and adults with the right family. Depending on your family’s needs, finding the appropriate match can take from several weeks to several months or even longer.