Frequently Asked Questions
What is Foster Care?
Foster care is the temporary placement of children who have been removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect. Foster parents provide a temporary, safe and nurturing environment for a child who is unable to remain in his or her family.
NVFS provides two types of respite care, internal and external. Both represent opportunities to care for children without the daily commitment foster parenting requires. It's an excellent opportunity to build lasting relationships with children and their caregivers. Respite providers most often care for children one weekend a month.
Who can be a foster parent?
Internal Respite Program
This program serves children in the NVFS Foster Care Program. These foster children require care in order to give respite to their foster parents, or due to the foster family requiring alternative care for illness, travel, etc.
External Respite Program
The External Respite Program serves children who reside with their biological or adoptive families. These families need support for a variety of reasons, including illness of a parent, a family crisis or chronic condition of the child. It gives caregivers a break by providing them with the opportunity to place their children with skilled and trained "professional parents.” Although these placements can last from one to thirty days, they generally are one weekend a month.
Families or individuals must be over 21, financially and emotionally stable, responsible and willing to work as a part of a team. Foster and Respite Parents are culturally diverse, single or married and from all income levels. No experience with foster care or special needs is required.
Foster families must have a clean and safe home with adequate space for an additional child. Families complete training and undergo a home study, which includes a review of any criminal history, child protective service, financial and driving records. Foster families must have time, flexibility and the desire to make a difference in the life of a child.What do foster parents do?
The foster parent acts as a full-time caregiver until the child returns to his parents or relatives or another permanent plan is made. Foster parents work as part of a treatment team to assist children in reaching their behavioral, emotional, developmental or medical goals.
What do foster parents who provide only Short Term Foster Care do?
Foster parents who provide only Short Term Foster Care provide temporary assistance to foster parents and biological/adoptive families by caring for children for a weekend or a few days at a time.
NVFS places children, age 0-17 years, with emotional, behavioral, developmental or medical needs. Some children have experienced abuse and neglect, which resulted in removal from their families. Other children have medical or developmental conditions that their parents cannot manage. Children come from various races and a diverse range of family situations and cultures. Every effort is made to place sibling groups in the same home. Foster and respite families maintain the right to accept or refuse a placement opportunity.
Where is the biggest need?
Parents are needed for all types of children. However, there is always a great need for parents willing to accept teenagers and large sibling groups of young children.
NVFS has provided foster care services to children in the community for over thirty years. We value our families and strive to support them. Our experienced caseworkers carry small caseloads to allow them to give more time and attention to each child and family in our program. NVFS provides 24-hour professional assistance, support groups and ongoing training to our families. Special family events are planned throughout the year to bring everyone together.
How long does it take to become a foster parent?
Trainings are scheduled regularly throughout the year. Once families complete training, they are eligible to begin the home study process. The time your home study will take is determined by your schedule and the timely submission of your documents.
What is a home study?
A home study is a document that describes your personal history, parenting skills and expectations of being a foster or respite parent. We interview the members of your household in three meetings, including one in your home. This document is required by the state. The home study process introduces you to NVFS staff and assists us to determine the ages, issues and types of children you can best help. Although we encourage families to be flexible to consider any child in need of a home, you maintain the right to accept or refuse any placement.
Foster and respite parents receive training through the Parent's Resource for Information, Development and Education (PRIDE) program. PRIDE, which is a nationally recognized training program, provides parents with a realistic and supportive picture of life as a foster or respite parent. NVFS trainers walk prospective foster and respite parents through scenarios and in-depth discussions related to caring for children in foster care. Parents are also required to obtain Infant/Child/Adult CPR and First Aid. Following certification, additional training opportunities and support groups are available.
How long will a child stay in my home?
On average, children are in foster homes for six to eighteen months. Children placed for Short Term Foster Care stay from one to thirty days, but it is usually one weekend at a time.
Am I financially responsible for my foster child?
A modest reimbursement is provided to cover the child’s basic expenses. NVFS staff will assist you in budgeting to meet the needs of the child. Most children have coverage for medical expenses through Medicaid and there is a subsidy for daycare when foster parents work.
I’m interested in adoption. Should I consider foster care?
Absolutely. While most children in foster care are reunited with family members, reunification for some is not an option. In these cases, foster families may be considered for adoption. Adopting through foster care allows families the opportunity to get to know the child prior to finalizing the adoption.
Call or email us, or complete this form to learn more about training or to get more specific information about foster and respite care. Following training, a home study will be completed by one of our social workers.