Become a foster parent in 5 easy steps!!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

You didn't actually fall for that did you?

If anyone uses the word "easy" when describing foster care, then they don't know what they talking about.

But I got you to click on the link didn't I? :-)

If you are considering foster care, or think you might consider it someday, here is what I would recommend!

1. Pray. Pray, pray, pray and pray. Then when you are done, pray. If you feel like God is leading you to become a foster parent, then TRUST that He WILL equip you.

2. Find a GPS class. GPS stands for Group Preparation and Selection. This name makes no sense. Typically the classes will meet once a week for 12 or so weeks and usually offer childcare. The classes do not teach you things you already know like how to change a diaper. They teach you how to see foster care through the eyes of the children in care and they are really beneficial!

Here in Alabama, you can find a GPS class through Alabama Baptist Children's Home, Lifeline, or your county DHR office (you have to call them to get class info). The GPS classes are all the same and you don't have to foster through the agency you take GPS with.


-The classes are free.

-They do NOT commit you to foster care. If you go to a few classes and feel like God is leading you in a different direction, then go there.

-Once you go through GPS, you won't have to do it again. So if you finish the classes and decide not to foster for a while, you already have this checked off your list.

3.  Decide who you will foster through. Here in Birmingham your choices are Alabama Baptist, Lifeline or your county DHR office. I would HIGHLY recommend that you ask around and get the advice of friends who have experience with these different agencies. I personally chose DHR because I wanted to be available for kids with special needs, and since ALL foster kids come through DHR, it just made sense for me to foster with them.

4. Fill out  a bunch of paperwork, get fingerprinted and get a home study. Each agency will have different paperwork/requirements, but here is what DHR requires (and of course your agency will walk you through all of this):
-CA/N Clearance
-Child Desired Form
-Confidentiality and Code of Ethics
-Criminal History Check Application
-Discipline Policy
-Financial Statement
-HIPPA agreement
-Physical Examination Sheet
-Immediate Relatives Sheet
-Compliance with Minimum Standards
-CPR/First Aid Certification
-Rabies Certification (if you have animals)
-Home Visit
-Copy of Automobile Insurance
-Copy of Home owner’s insurance

DON'T let the idea of a home study freak you out. It is really no big deal. Your agency will tell you what their requirements are, and you will have time to make sure you have things like smoke detectors and fire extinguishers in place. They will NOT show up at your house unannounced and storm in like a SWAT team with white gloves on trying to find things wrong with you. Furthermore, if they do find things that don't comply with their requirements, they will give you time to fix them. They need more foster they will work with you!

5. Get involved in a foster care community ASAP! You will NEED people around you who have walked this road before. Trust me. We have an AWESOME ministry at Brook Hills, and I know other churches in the area do as well.

Ok, so those 5 steps may not actually be all that easy, but I will tell you this: it is worth it. When you get that first call about a child who needs a safe place to stay, it all becomes so real. You begin to really identify with what it must be like to be a child who has no place to go. Who may be in danger. Who just wants to feel safe. And in that moment, you will know that God has you right where He wants you....and that is the best feeling of all.

Thanks for letting me share,

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