More Information About Foster Care

For those interested in becoming foster parents

What is foster care?
Foster care is the temporary placement of children who have been abused or neglected in their former home. Foster parents provide these children a temporary, safe and nurturing environment.

Who can be a foster parent?
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 is required.

Foster families must have a clean, safe home with adequate space for an additional child. Families complete training and 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 parents or relatives or until another permanent plan is made. Foster parents work as part of a team to assist children in reaching their behavioral, emotional, developmental or medical goals.

What is Short Term Foster Care?
NVFS provides internal and external short-term foster care, also called respite care:

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.

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.

What types of children will be placed in my home?
NVFS places children, ages 0-17 years, with emotional, behavioral, developmental or medical needs. Some have experienced abuse and neglect. Others have medical or developmental conditions that their parents cannot manage. All come from diverse races, cultures and family situations. Every effort is made to place sibling groups in the same home. 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.

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.

Why be a foster parent with NVFS?
NVFS has provided foster care services to children in the community for over 30 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. NVFS provides 24-hour professional assistance, support groups and ongoing training. Special family events are planned throughout the year to bring everyone together.

How long does it take to become a foster parent?
Training takes place over three consecutive Saturdays. 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 household members over three meetings, including one in your home. This document is required by the state. The home study introduces you to NVFS staff and helps us determine the ages, issues and types of children you can best help.


What training is required?
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.

When are the next NVFS foster parent trainings?
NVFS foster parent training takes place over three consecutive Saturdays. Please choose from one of the following sessions and contact Ginny Snaider at 571.748.2557 or

  • October 7, 14 and 28

How long will a child stay in my home?

On average, children are in foster homes for six to 18 months.  Children placed for Short Term Foster Care stay from one to 30 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 child’s needs. Most children have Medicaid coverage for medical expenses and there is a subsidy for daycare when foster parents work.

I’m interested in adoption. Should I consider foster care?
Absolutely. Adopting through foster care provides the opportunity to get to know the child prior to adoption. Most children in foster care are reunited with family members, but reunification for some is not an option. In these cases, foster families may be considered for adoption.

How do I become a foster/respite parent?
Contact Ginny Snaider at 571.748.2557 or, or complete this form for more information or to register for training. Following training, a home study will be completed by one of our social workers.