Once the children are placed in foster homes, the State (DFPS) continues to assess what is in the best interest of the child. At times, children are returned to their biological family once they demonstrate they can provide appropriate and nurturing care for the child. Other times, children may be placed with relatives if a responsible and caring adult is found within the extended biological family. When those circumstances are not options, a child may remain in the foster care system for a period of time. If the courts terminate the biological parental rights, a child may become available for adoption.
Fostering a child is not the same as parenting your own children. Children who have experienced the tragedy of physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, exposure to drugs, and separation from their biological family require unconditional love, patience and acceptance. They may have a very difficult time controlling their emotions. Many are behind in school and have a hard time trusting adults. Pathways staff are highly skilled in providing support and training to assist foster families with these issues. Fostering requires a high level of dedication, an openness to communicate with staff, and a commitment to work with a child on a daily basis when issues arise.
Once a child is placed in your home, staff will be assigned to your family and will work directly with you in meeting the needs of the children. Pathways has an experienced treatment team available to support your family which can include licensed therapists, social workers, psychologists, and psychiatrists. In case of emergencies, Pathways Case Managers are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Foster parents are also offered on-going training opportunities throughout the year. These trainings and other activities provide ways for foster families to meet each other and develop additional support networks. Many times foster families become friends and rely on each other for respite care and other supportive needs.
Children placed in foster homes are assigned a Level of Care by DFPS. These levels, from lowest to highest, are: Basic, Moderate, and Specialized. The lower the Level of Care (LOC), the more stable the child is. The higher the level of care, the more needs the child has, and so more dollars are provided to cover those additional needs. The Level of Care is calculated daily, thus foster families are reimbursed according to the number of days a child lives in the home and payments are received twice a month.
Virtually all of the children placed in foster care are covered by Medicaid, which covers all primary medical and dental services.
Foster children adopted by their foster parents tend to be more successful than if they are adopted by a family who they have not developed a relationship with. If you decide that you want to adopt a foster child placed in your home, Pathways can help with the process.
It is also highly recommended to RSVP for the next Foster Parent Orientation. This no-obligations meeting is the most effective way to learn more about foster care, ask questions and decide if this is right for your family.
By becoming a foster parent with Pathways you will make a lasting and profound difference in the life of a child and perhaps, experience a personal feeling of fulfillment like no other.