May is National Foster Care Month. Throughout the month, advocates raise awareness about the realities and needs of foster care, including answers to these six common questions. Here’s what you should know.
Who are the children?
Foster children can be any child in North Carolina, ranging in age from infancy to 21 years old, who enters the foster care system. Each child has their own unique background, experiences and specific needs. Many come from situations of abuse and neglect and do not possess a healthy self-esteem. Foster children need a family atmosphere — a place where they can belong. Most of all, they need to be loved and nurtured.
Can we adopt the children we foster?
Possibly. The goal of foster care is reunification with the biological parents; however, if it is determined that reunification is not possible, adoption can become an option for permanency. In a foster-to-adopt situation, when a family is a Baptist Children’s Homes (BCH) foster family, BCH handles the adoption process in collaboration with the appropriate county’s Department of Social Services (DSS).
What is a foster family home?
A foster home is a family’s residence. The family offers their residence for as many as one but no more than five children and provides them with daily, 24-hour care. Five children total may receive care in a family foster home (including the foster parent’s own children). Adult supervision must be provided during the time foster children are living in the home.
How long does it take to become licensed?
The licensing process to become a foster family typically takes four to six months. As part of the licensure process, you are required to complete at least 30 hours of pre-services training. BCH trainers are certified to use the CARE curriculum in the licensing process which is presented from a biblical perspective. In addition to the pre-services training, you are required to complete CPR, First Aid, Blood Borne Pathogen and Medication Administration training, so how quickly you complete the training and turn in the required licensing paperwork affects the total amount of time licensure takes.
Are there other benefits to fostering through BCH?
One of the many things that sets BCH apart from other ministries is the continued care for the licensed foster family. Once a family has completed their certification process and has received their license to foster, BCH assigns them a case manager. The case manager walks alongside the foster family and becomes their advocate to help them work through any situation that arises in their foster care journey. In other words, each foster family, foster child and church has someone to care for them.
If we can’t foster or adopt right now, are there other ways to help?
Yes, there are several other ways you can help children.
- Be a mentor for youth
- Establish a support team ministry at your church for foster and adoptive families
- Raise funds for a local foster or adoptive family support group
- Volunteer with a non-profit organization that provides foster care services
- Provide childcare to prospective foster parents attending training classes
Representatives from BCH are ready and willing to share more about foster and adoption ministries at your worship service, Sunday school or interest meeting.
Visit every-child.org/contact to connect with BCH staff and learn more about the Every Child ministry.
by NC Baptist & BCH Communications