In Kansas, the need for loving foster parents is greater than ever. Children and teens who are in foster care have experienced abuse and neglect, and they greatly need your love and compassion. In this three-part blog series, we are answer some of the most frequently asked questions about how to become a foster parent in Kansas. Part one covered questions about the process involved to become a foster parent. Part two covered questions regarding the training. In part three, we are answering questions about the first placement.
Q: Can I choose the age and gender of a child to foster and how many children can I foster in my home at one time?
A: 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.
Q: How long will a child in foster care be in my home?
A: 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.
Q: I have full-time employment. Can a child in foster care attend daycare?
A: Yes, children in Kansas foster care can attend day care. The Kansas Department for Children and Families will cover a daily rate to pre-approved daycares. Contact your FSC for a list of approved daycares in your area.
Q: I know a child or youth in foster care and would like to provide a home for them. What are my next steps?
A: First, you would need to contact the child or youth’s worker to let them know you are interested in becoming placement. If approved to be a placement, you will need to become a licensed NRKIN (non-relative kinship) home. It is a requirement that you complete the TIPS-MAPP training. You can take the classes while the child is already placed with you.
Q: I have a relative in foster care that I would like to care for, however they are in another state. What should I do?
A: Contact the agency where your relative is placed and let them know you would like to take placement. Each state has specific requirements, including foster parent training. In some states, TIPS-MAPP can be transferred as the needed training. You can take the TIPS-MAPP training through KVC or other approved agency in the area, even if you do not wish to take placement of a child in Kansas state custody. For a full list of TIPS-MAPP trainings being offered in your area please visit the Children’s Alliance website.
Q: What do family visits look like and how are they arranged?
A: 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.
Q: Can we take children in our care out of town or on vacation with us?
A: The Kansas Department for Children and Families and the parents of the child in care can approve or deny a request from the foster parents to take a child out of town on vacation with them. If the request is approved, a travel letter will be written and sent with the child stating they are in Kansas state custody and they are approved to leave the state. This letter will need to stay with the child and foster family in case of emergencies. If the request is not approved, the child will be placed in respite care.
Q: Do children in foster care have health insurance, or will I need to cover them? What about school tuition, dental, food and clothing?
A: 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.
Check out our first two articles in this three-part blog series: Becoming a Foster Parent: Questions About the Process and Becoming a Foster Parent: Questions About the Training
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