Becoming a Foster Family
The decision to become a foster parent is not one to be taken lightly. It must come, first and foremost from the heart.
We are looking for parents who have a strong desire to serve the developmentally disabled and disadvantaged populations. “The biggest rewards come from the biggest challenges.”
You will be certified 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 foster.
– 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 look at our clients as an addition to your family. We want to make sure that you’re ready for all that entails. We also want to 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 foster 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 3-5 home visits over the course of a few months to ensure that you’re provided continued support in your new role. We work with both the supportive parents as well as the consumer to do an interview and assessment during this process to get a good understanding of how to best support your family so that everyone’s needs are met.
After these steps are completed, we offer you certification with ongoing support according to the goals set by you and your family.
“The biggest rewards come from the biggest challenges”
As part of our program, we provide ongoing training to our foster families to continue to enhance their experience as well as the experience of the individuals that we place. Our goal is that they will ultimately find their forever home, so we do everything possible to ensure the best possible outcomes with our placements. Continuing education is just part of that.
Our foster families also receive continuous ongoing support from our staff. Our social workers visit the families weekly to offer support, create plans for growth, and to set goals with our consumers and their families. We also provide behavioral supportive services from local agencies that we partner with to our foster families.
With each placement, the families receive a stipend to assist with living expenses and individual care.
Once you are certified, Free to Be staff will consider your home for potential placements. Our program has been successful because we are careful to match children 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.