Foster Parent FAQs

General Questions About Foster Care

All families face challenges at times, and in some instances a wide range of factors can cause parents to become unable to care for their children. Foster care provides a temporary arrangement for a child when they are not able to live with their biological parents or other natural caregivers. During this time, child welfare professionals work to find the best possible relative, foster family or other placement option for that child until they can safely return home or a permanency plan is identified.

Most of the children and teens in foster care have experienced child abuse or neglect in some capacity. Each state determines how physical, sexual and emotional abuse are defined, and youth enter foster care if it meets these criteria. Neglect can include physical neglect, medical neglect or lack of supervision. Physical neglect includes but is not limited to failure to provide the child with food, clothing or shelter necessary to sustain the life or health of the child.

Foster care is a temporary arrangement for children and teens when their parents or primary caregivers are going through crisis. When youth cannot remain safely in their homes and must enter foster care, the first goal is to safely reunite them with their families as soon as possible. While several factors can cause a child or teen to enter foster care, abuse and/or neglect are the most common reasons. When social workers and courts determine that a home is unsafe for a child, child welfare agencies work diligently with the family to resolve the conflicts or disruptions that led to the child needing foster care. Intensive, family-centered services are provided by social workers to make progress towards a safe, supportive family.

The children range in ages from birth to twenty-one years. Our teenage population has the greatest need for loving families at this time. We also have a need for families to care for sibling groups of three or more children.

The most common outcome for children in foster care is a safe reunification with their families. Nationwide, more than half of youth who enter foster care are safely reunified. The average length of time a child is in foster care is about a year, but much of this is dependent on how long it takes for the family to resolve their conflicts or disruptions and demonstrate that their home is safe for their child to return home.

Nationally, about 428,000 youth are in foster care. In West Virginia, more than 5,000 youth are in foster care. As this number is increasing, the need for loving foster parents is greater than ever.

When a child or teen enters foster care, social workers try to find a temporary home for them with a relative. If that’s not an option, workers seek out a non-related kin or familiar caregiver such as a neighbor, family friend, teacher, coach or other acquaintance with whom the youth is familiar. If there are available caregivers who are already familiar to the child, traditional foster care becomes an option.

Anyone can spread the word about child abuse and neglect prevention. Do you know someone who’d make a great foster or adoptive parent? Refer them to this page. We publish frequently on a wide variety of topics related to child welfare. Check out a host of articles you can share here, and visit our Facebook page for more shareable content.

Volunteering is also an excellent way to help children in need. Volunteers can provide temporary care for children, help with fundraisers, organize events and much more. Click here to check some of our upcoming events near you. If you’re pressed for time, donating is also helpful. Donations don’t have to be monetary: school supplies, clothing, food and more are always needed.

Yes, volunteering doesn’t have to be limited to sorting items or helping out with an event. If you have a creative pursuit, you can use it to raise awareness about the need for more foster families and even connect children with families. Click here to let us know how you’d like to help!

Questions About Becoming a Foster Parent

Foster parents provide safe and supportive homes for children and teens. Children come into foster care for many different reasons, all of which are not their fault. Foster parents need to provide care and love while keeping reunification in mind. Reunification is when a child can safely return to their birth family that has worked to stabilize their home.

Want to take the next step? Click here and a recruiter will contact you!

Step 1: Ask Yourself These Questions

While some parts of the foster family training and licensing process can take awhile, there are things you can check off the list right now! A few questions you can answer immediately are:

-Am I 21 or older?

-Do I have reliable transportation?

-Is my home a safe environment with enough space for another child (a separate bed for each child)?

-Do I agree to positive parenting techniques and non-physical discipline for children?

Step 2: Consider the Financial Aspect

Worried about the cost of fostering? Don’t fret! Typically, becoming a foster parent requires little to no cost. Many people foster children on modest incomes. In addition, you will be provided with a monthly stipend as a foster parent and the state of West Virginia will cover medical care for the child. You need to show that you have a stable income and that you aren’t receiving any type of financial assistance.

Step 3: Undergo Complete Background Checks

All foster parents in West Virginia must undergo background checks to help ensure a child’s safety. Everyone in your household must undergo a background check as well.

Step 4: Complete 30 Hours of Free Training

You must enroll and complete PRIDE training. This course is required by the state for all potential foster parents. The class will help you build skills for caring for children who have experienced neglect or abuse and, as a result, may have physical, emotional or educational difficulties. This is also a great opportunity to decide if fostering is right for you.

Want to take the next step? Click here and a recruiter will contact you!

Full licensure can take up to six months. If you complete all required trainings and application paperwork in a timely manner, you could potentially receive a temporary license to take placement within 30 to 60 days of your application.

Want to take the next step? Click here and a recruiter will contact you!

Here’s a list of questions to ask yourself when considering becoming a foster parent to a child in need. This questionnaire is intended to be a starting point and a tool for personal reflection or discussion with your family. The questionnaire also highlights the core attitudes and behaviors that foster parents must demonstrate.

Fostering gives you the opportunity to make a lasting difference in a child’s life as well as give added purpose to your life. The temporary care you give will provide a safe and stable environment for a child experiencing crisis such as abuse, neglect or other family challenges.

Additional personal benefits:

You’ll Get to Be an Influential Teacher

Teaching is a great way to enrich the mind of a child. The trauma that caused a child to enter foster care, such as abuse or neglect, and the further trauma a child may experience when being removed from his or her birth family can have long-lasting psychological effects. Teaching ideas and skills you are familiar with can help redirect a child’s mindset to a more positive place.

You’ll Learn Something New Everyday

Who doesn’t like a little variety in their day? Foster parents seldom experience the same day twice. While this may be off-putting for some, it’s really a great thing! Foster parents get to interact with children and families from several different backgrounds. This opens the door to discovering new cultures, traditions and values.

You’ll Grow Stronger as an Individual

Giving unconditional love to a child in need can shape you into a stronger person emotionally and spiritually. Since most placements of children in a foster home are temporary, it can be very difficult to see a child return home. Though it can be heartbreaking, the main goal of foster care is to reunite a child with his or her family. The entire process of fostering, from taking a child in to seeing them go back home, can cause a natural range of emotions to swell. Experiencing and managing these emotions makes you an all-around stronger person who feels more meaning and satisfaction in life.

Want to take the next step? Click here and a recruiter will contact you!

Yes. Monthly payments are made to foster parents to cover the cost of adding another person to the household and in meeting other material needs of a child. All children in foster care have a medical card that covers their medical expenses.

The amount of time a foster family cares for a child in foster care varies from a few days to a couple years. On average, we safely reunite most children with their families within 12 months, and thus the child’s time in foster care is less than one year. More than half of children who enter foster care are safely reunited with their families. If reunification is not possible due to safety concerns, we will look for an adoptive family to provide continued care, love and stability for the child. It is common for children to be adopted by their foster parents because they have bonded, but every child’s situation is different.

Yes, many foster parents successfully work full-time jobs while caring for children and teens in need.

Yes! Foster parents can specify the age, gender and number of children they are willing to care for and if they are able to care for a child with developmental and/or intellectual disabilities or other special needs. We call you and tell you more about the child’s needs, and you have the opportunity to decide whether you can provide care for that child.

The foster parent training and licensing process is provided at no cost to foster parents. While foster parents volunteer their time to care for a child in foster care, KVC provides a small daily subsidy to support the needs of each child, paid monthly through direct deposit. Each child receives a medical card when they enter foster care, and some children are also covered under their family’s private insurance. Clothing allowances for all children and childcare for those qualifying are also important benefits. Your KVC care manager will assist as able with items such as back-to-school supplies, holiday & birthday gifts as well as other individual needs.

Maintaining relationships with the child and his/her family is also a role of a foster parent. With the goal of a safe reunification, a foster parent must respect the connections and keep the child’s life disrupted as little as possible.

Yes, you can specify the age and gender of children you would like to foster. The children range in ages from birth to twenty-one years. Our teenage population has the greatest need for loving families at this time. There is also a need for families to care for sibling groups of three or more children. To ensure every child in your home has enough space, each child must have 45 square feet if they are sharing a room (9′ x 10′ room). A child in a single room must have a minimum of 70 square feet of space (7’x10′ room). Your Family Service Coordinator (FSC) will help determine how many children you can foster in your home at one time.

The first goal for each child is to reintegrate them back into a safe and stable environment with their birth family. When reunification is possible, we strive to accomplish this within one year of a child’s removal from the home. The length of stay in a foster home and in foster care varies depending on the progress of the case plan.

Yes, children in foster care can attend day care. The DHHR will cover a daily rate to pre-approved daycares.

Children in foster care have medical and dental provided for them by the state, and other fees such has extracurricular activities can be covered by KVC. Contact your FSC for more information.

It may, but the first goal for children in foster care is reunification with their biological family. When a child’s parental rights have been terminated and a child is legally free for adoption, 89 percent of the time children are adopted by their foster parents.

Want to take the next step? Click here and a recruiter will contact you!

Yes, as long as all the pets in the home are up to date on their vet records.

That is case specific and depends on the crime. No crimes involving a person or certain felony convictions can be on your record if you wish to foster.

Absolutely! Anyone can be a foster parent who meets the required guidelines.

Want to take the next step? Click here and a recruiter will contact you!

Currently, we are not accepting adopt only families who wish to adopt a baby. This is because the children already legally free for adoption are older children. In order to be considered as an “adopt only” family with KVC, a family must be willing to commit to the children who are currently awaiting adoption. These children include:

-Children over the age of 8

-Children who are part of a sibling group

-Children who have moderate/sever physical, medical, emotional, behavioral and or educational needs.

Check their accreditation – 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.

New Call-to-action

The length of time they’ve been providing services – 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.

Their history of dedication to children and families – The purpose of West Virginia 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. The 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.

Perhaps the hardest part of foster parenting is also the most rewarding and uplifting. Helping children reintegrate back into their homes brings immense joy, despite the difficulty involved with saying goodbye to children you’ve become attached to. Kyle Boeses, a KVC foster parent, says, “It’s all hard and it’s all beautiful… it’s also the most rewarding thing we have ever done. To watch your children win battles they have struggled with—when they overcome fears they’ve had previously—are huge wins in our life. Little things like getting cleared from a particular therapy or support service are things we celebrate.”

Questions About Your First Placement

Yes. KVC’s Admissions Department will contact you to request the placement of a child in your home, and this is an opportunity for you to ask questions and find out more about the child or children. You may say, “No” to any placement for any reason. KVC has a database meant to alert Admissions staff to what types of children you are interested in fostering.  You can only accept children who fall within your licensing capacity.

KVC considers our foster family program to be a volunteer service; however, we reimburse at a rate of $20 per day for each child. The reimbursement is paid monthly via direct deposit and meant to subsidize for care of the child. Each of the children in the custody of the State of West Virginia receives a medical card when they are removed from their family home.  Some children are also covered under their family’s private insurance.

We require our foster families to become actively involved in the work that is done to help reintegrate a child with their birth family. This may involve contact with the family during parent-child visitations, case planning conferences, school meetings and events, court hearings, and many other instances as long as it is in the best interest of the child and foster family. This topic is covered in the training classes.

Each child in state custody has a visit with their family once a week. These visits are often at the KVC office, but can also be in the community. Visits are typically one hour long, but are often longer as the child moves closer to being safely reintegrated. The visits are scheduled and supervised by the child’s case worker. The foster parent may be asked to transport to and from visits.

Each foster family has an assigned Family Service Coordinator to assist with day-to-day questions and emergencies. Also, we are available 24/7 by phone to assist with emergencies.

The immediate goal for each child is to reintegrate them into a safe and stable environment with their birth family. The child’s placement in foster care depends on the progress of the case plan.

Yes, children in  foster care can attend day care. The DHHR will cover a daily rate to pre-approved daycares. Contact your FSC for a list of approved daycares in your area.

Children in foster care have medical and dental provided for them. Clothing vouchers are available every six months for children to assist with the purchase of new clothes. KVC also has a clothing closet for foster parents to use. Some fees will need to be covered by the foster parent, but other fees such has extracurricular activities can be covered by KVC. Contact your FSC for more information.

Confidentiality laws prohibit us from releasing further information about the child after they leave your care.  If the child is subsequently placed in another foster home or residential facility, it is left to the case manager’s discretion as to whether continued contact is in the child’s best interest. If the child is reintegrated or adopted, this decision is given to his/her birth or adoptive parents.

KVC offers monthly trainings, provides information to our foster parents about community resources and assists foster parents with basic school supplies and holiday gifts for children in foster care.  KVC would not be able to provide all of these supports without donations from the community.

Respite care is when a child in foster care stays with another licensed foster parent for a short term stay. Several examples of when respite care may be used are when a foster family is unable to take a child on vacation out of state or if the foster family has an emergency.