If you’ve decided that fostering is right for you and your family, that’s great! Fostering youth in need is one of the most fulfilling experiences you can have.
One of the first questions potential foster parents ask is, “Which agency should I work with to get licensed and receive ongoing support?” It’s understandable to be unsure about where to get started or who to reach out to. Since foster parenting is no small undertaking, it’s important to find an agency you trust and are comfortable with, as well as offers strong support. You have a choice in the agency you choose to sponsor you. Therefore, it’s crucial that you can count on the one you select. Here are 3 things to look for when assessing an agency’s reputation.
An accredited foster care agency is one that has a stamp of approval from a national accrediting body for meeting identified performance standards over time. The Joint Commission and the Council on Accreditation are two of the most highly regarded accrediting bodies for foster care. When learning about an agency, look online or inquire about their accreditation status. This will help give you an idea about an agency’s adherence to quality standards.
How Long Has the Agency Been Around?
The length of time an agency has been operating is another factor to consider when selecting a sponsoring organization. Agencies that have been serving communities longer tend to offer a broader range of services, providing more opportunities for support which may be reflective of their service quality. An agency’s consistency in successfully matching children and families is one of the most important aspects when it comes to making the right choice, and the longer an agency has been operating, the more experience they have in this area. Website feedback and online reviews may be helpful in assessing foster families’ satisfaction in areas such as this.
History of Dedication to Children and Families
The purpose of foster care is to provide a safe, nurturing place for a child while his or her birth family resolves issues and learns healthy skills so the child can safely return home to them. According to the Child Welfare Information Gateway, several factors are important in an agency’s ability to reunite children in foster care with their birth families. A major component of this is the interaction and support an agency gives to a foster parent. An agency’s commitment to its foster parents in working towards a safe family reunification for each child is vitally important. A West Virginia foster care agency should treat you as one of its partners in achieving permanency for the child, and work hand-in-hand with you from start to finish.
An agency’s reputation is one of many factors you need to know about when making the decision to become a foster parent in West Virginia. If you’d like to know more, check out this free guide, The Ultimate Guide to Choosing a Foster Care Agency!