Do you have to be married? No, you may be married, single, divorced, widowed or a co-parent.
Do you have to own your own home? No, you may rent. You must have adequate space available and the approval of the landlord must be documented.
Can you be a foster parent if you work? Yes. Foster parents are reimbursed for care of a child but this reimbursement does not meet all needs and costs of a child placed in your home.
Do foster children need to have separate bedrooms? No, but each child must have his/her own bed. Foster children cannot have a bedroom in the attic or basement unless approved by a fire inspector and agreed to by the agency. An infant may sleep in the foster parent room in an approved bassinet or crib until the age of one.
Can a foster parent or adoptive parent request specific ages or gender of children placed in their home? All families will enter into a mutual agreement with the agency about the age and gender of a child you believe would best fit into your family.
Am I able to be a foster or adoptive parent if I have a criminal record? It is possible. Each situation will be carefully reviewed using the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services rules for foster care and adoption. If a person’s criminal record meets the rehabilitation requirements of ODJFS rules, then the person may be considered as a potential foster or adoptive parent. All adult household members must have a criminal background check. It should be noted some convictions will exclude an applicant for foster or foster-to-adopt parenting.
What is Pre-Service Training? Every applicant must complete 36 hours of pre-service training which is offered free of charge. It is intended for families to complete training prior to beginning the home assessment process. This thought-provoking training is offered locally by Fairfield County Protective Services, as well as other locations and provides vital, basic knowledge about general foster care and adoption issues, understanding the impact of abuse, neglect and trauma on children, and specialized parenting skills for those fostering or adopting. For our next pre-service training schedule, click here.
What is a home assessment? This is a process of sharing and gathering information to determine an applicant’s suitability to be licensed or approved to provide foster care or adoption. It is based upon state and agency rules and policy. A caseworker will be assigned to work with your family to complete the home assessment. The assessor and the family mutually work to help in determining the child most suited for you and your home. The home assessment will consist of multiple home visits by the caseworker and both individual and joint interviews with household members. The home assessment encompasses the following:
• Family dynamics, strengths and challenges
• Family values
• Parenting styles
• Interviews of all family members
• Fire inspection
• Well test, if applicable
• Safety audit
• Medical examinations for all household members
• Reference checks
• Financial statement
• Background checks (FBI, BCII, local law enforcement and welfare history)
How long does all this take? The process may take six months once the application packet is completed. This may vary based upon the availability of staff and agency resources. The agency and the applicant(s) may also mutually agree to take additional time to complete an assessment based upon extenuating circumstances.
What is meant by a child with “special needs?” In adoption, special needs is used to describe a wide variety of characteristics of children. It is used to refer to a child of a minority race, a sibling group, or an older child. Other special needs include medical conditions, behavioral health issues, learning delays, developmental disabilities, or children who have waited for adoption for more than a year. Special needs criteria are also used when determining eligibility for adoption subsidies. For all children waiting for adoption, their common “special need” is to become a part of a permanent and loving family.
Are there babies or young children available for adoption via Fairfield County Protective Services? The agency does place infants and young children for adoption. However, these children are most commonly adopted by relatives, non-relative kin, or their foster families due to a significant attachment of the children to their caregiver. Federal and state rules require the agency to find the least restrictive placement available that is also in the best interest of the child. There are many more children who are waiting for adoption who are school aged or adolescents. At Fairfield County Protective Services, you must become a foster parent if you wish to adopt unless you are kin. Training and counseling are available to assist you in deciding if foster-to-adopt parenting is right for you and your family.