FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Fostering a Child Through DePaul Community Resources
Who can become a foster parent?
DePaul Community Resources seeks caring, temporary families to help with children and teens who are the survivors of abuse and neglect. Foster parents can be single individuals or married couples, with or without children. They may own or rent their home. Foster parents provide children with guidance, supervision, discipline, safety, and structure. They also work with DePaul staff to address the needs of the young people in their care until they can return to their birth families, move to adoptive homes, or live independently.
How do I become a foster parent?
Before a foster child can be placed in your home, DePaul must conduct a home study to ensure your home is a safe and supportive environment. The home study process includes background checks for a history of serious criminal activity or child abuse, as well as a review of driving records, financial stability, and health status. This process typically takes three to six months, depending on how quickly meetings and trainings are completed. Once a home study is approved, a DePaul caseworker will work to find the best possible match for you and your home. This process is always individualized and depends on a variety of factors.
Will I be required to go through training?
All prospective foster parents are required to complete a pre-service training course. In certain instances, prospective foster parents must also complete adult/child/infant CPR and first aid training. Once foster parents are approved, they must complete additional training each year. This additional training schedule ensures that you will continue to be qualified to meet the special needs of foster children.
After a young person is placed in your home, DePaul provides ongoing training, financial support, and access to 24-hour crisis assistance. There is no cost for the home study, training, or fostering services.
What kinds of children does your organization serve?
DePaul’s Foster Care program serves young people from age 0 to 21. Many of these children may have special needs; the majority are survivors of abuse and neglect. Special needs may include emotional or behavioral issues, poor self-esteem, difficulty in school, medical or physical disabilities, or intellectual disabilities.
While DePaul serves children of all ages, we are especially in need of foster parents who wish to open their home to:
- children age 8 or older;
- sibling groups;
- children coming from a group home or residential setting;
- or children in need of a permanent, adoptive home.
What do you look for in foster parents?
In order to provide the love and support needed for the children we serve, DePaul looks for the following qualities in foster parents:
- A love of children and teens
- Good parenting skills
- Warmth and patience
- A willingness to learn
- A sense of humor
- Ability to work with others in a team effort
Do I need to be involved with the child’s birth family?
Because foster care is a temporary situation, your family may be called upon to help the child prepare to return to his or her birth family or to be adopted. Visitation with birth family is often a legal requirement determined by the court to be in the child’s best interest. If that is the case, our organization and foster parents must cooperate with the visitation between the child and birth family members.
Many times, new foster parents are reluctant to become too closely involved with the child’s birth parents. Your concerns in this area are taken into consideration when visitation is planned. Foster parents also help the child to maintain a realistic perception and attitude toward the birth family. They may also be asked to provide information about the child’s growth and development, likes, dislikes, etc., to the court, social workers, or other professionals working with the child. Foster parents often make the decision to adopt the child if it is legally possible.
How can I continue to serve the needs of my own family members?
Becoming foster parents can be very rewarding for both you and your family members. However, it is important that you discuss the decision to become foster parents with all members of your family. It is essential that family members understand the impact that fostering a special needs child will have on the family routine. If possible, we would encourage you to involve all immediate family members in the decision to accept a particular child into your home. Eventually, family members may also need to be prepared to cope with the departure of a child from the home.