Frequently Asked Questions About Becoming a Foster Parent

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. Kansas 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 Kansas, more than 7,600 youth are in foster care as of September 2018 according to the Kansas Department for Children and Families. As this number is increasing, the need for loving foster parents is greater than ever.

Barton County: 128

Brown County: 103

Butler County: 156

Cowley County: 129

Crawford County: 194

Douglas County: 195

Ford County: 128

Franklin County: 126

Johnson County: 573

Leavenworth County: 192

Lyon County: 149

Montgomery: 151

Reno County: 275

Saline County: 196

Sedgwick County: 1,072

Shawnee County: 735

Wyandotte County: 663

For a list of children in foster care in every Kansas county, click here.

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. To learn more about the different types of foster care, click here.

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. KVC Kansas offers a referral bonus once they get licensed. Also, sharing articles on social media is also a great way to get the word out about the need for more caring families. 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 Kansas 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, including but not limited to food stamps, Medicaid, TANF or Section 8 Housing.

Step 3: Undergo Complete Background Checks

All foster parents in Kansas must undergo background checks to help ensure a child’s safety. The Kansas Bureau of Investigation will check your information using the Kansas Child Abuse and Neglect Information System. Everyone in your household must undergo a background check as well.

Step 4: Complete 30 Hours of Free Training

You must enroll and complete the Trauma-Informed Partnering for Safety and Permanency – Model Approach for Partnerships in Parenting (TIPS-MAPP) training. This is a ten-week course 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!

You must be able to pass a child abuse check and fingerprint criminal background check through the Kansas Bureau of Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Any convictions listed on the Declaration of No Prohibitive Offenses for KDHE Licensure would prohibit you from becoming a foster or adoptive parent. In some cases, even a diversion for the listed offenses will also prohibit you from becoming a foster or adoptive parent. You and your home must be able to meet KDHE guidelines and have sufficient income to care for a child. In addition, licensure of your home is at the discretion of your sponsoring agency (KVC) and KDHE.

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 submission to KDHE.

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!

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. If you are caring for a younger child, the Kansas Department for Children and Families may cover a daily rate to pre-approved daycares. Contact your Family Service Coordinator for a list of approved daycares in your area.

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 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.

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.

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.

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. Pittbulls, exotic and poisonous animals are not allowed.

An emergency placement home is a home that can take a child who is in Police Protective Custody for up to 72 business hours. To become an emergency placement home, fill out the Protective Home Application on The Global Orphan Project’s website.

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.

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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 Kansas 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 the Training Class

Trauma-Informed Partnering for Safety and Permanency – Model Approach for Partnerships in Parenting (TIPS-MAPP) is required for all potential foster and adoptive families by Kansas Statute.  The class is meant to build skills for parenting abused and neglected children who have behavioral, emotional, physical, or educational difficulties. TIPS-MAPP also helps the participant decide if fostering and/or adopting is right for their family, and it helps KVC determine if your family is able to meet a child’s needs by fostering or adopting.

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

TIPS-MAPP allows each family to have two absences total but meetings during weeks two and five are mandatory. That means one spouse/partner can miss two meetings if the other attends all or they both can miss one. Your co-leaders will determine the best way for you to make up the information that you missed. If a family misses one of these meetings, they will be required to make up the class during another TIPS-MAPP session. Please note that even with the make-up session, this would still count toward the two absences.

Yes. Before you are eligible to receive a foster care license from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE), you will be required to complete First Aid and CPR, Medication Administration, and Universal Precautions trainings. Once you become a foster family, you will be required to complete continuing education hours based on the level of care you provide. These hours are to be completed prior to renewing your foster care license each year. KVC offers numerous trainings throughout the year to make it simple and convenient for foster families to complete these training hours.

No. You may contact KVC at a later time if you do not wish to license immediately. However, you may be required to re-take TIPS-MAPP if you do not begin the licensing process in a timely fashion.

No. KVC cannot guarantee placement of foster children. There are many children of all ages waiting for foster homes. KVC works to match the needs of the children with the skills and ability of the foster family.

The TIPS-Deciding Together (TIPS-DT) training is deigned to accommodate families with rotating shifts (over the road truck drivers, medical personnel, first responders, etc.) or families living in very rural areas. It can be used with one to three families in homes or at another location.  The leader will schedule seven consultations (meetings) with your family, at least seven days apart at a mutually agreeable location and time. Your family will have workbooks to complete in between each of the consultations.

All adults residing in the home (age 18 years and older) who will participate in the parenting and care of children are required to take TIPS-MAPP together. This does include your adult children in the home who will spend a significant amount of time with the children. If you have biological children in your home who are in college and/or working full-time who will not be spending much time with the children, they do not need to attend the meetings. They may be invited to attend a class or the MAPP panel.

In Kansas, the 10-week TIPS-MAPP program is required and helpful for preparation and selection of the role, fostering or adoption, that is best for your family. This pre-service program is designed to assist a family in making an informed decision on whether or not they have the necessary parenting strengths to meet the needs of children who have experienced the trauma of abuse and/or neglect.

Recently, KVC has been offering a 5-week training class, as well as a 2-weekend training class. Visit our Events page to learn of upcoming training classes or fill out this form and a recruiter will assign you to a class.

If you completed the TIPS-MAPP training more than 5 years ago and never had a child placed with you would need to complete the training again. If you did have a child placed with you, or if you took the training less than 5 years ago but never took a placement, you would be encouraged to take a refresher course of the TIPS-MAPP classes. Contact your local Community Resource Specialist for more details.

Sarah Nielsen, a current KVC foster parent, said: “After the first few classes, I realized how necessary and beneficial they are. The information-packed classes got my husband and me thinking and discussing how our family could best serve children in foster care.”

Cristin Hartranft, another foster parent said: “We couldn’t believe we had to take weeks of classes to help these sweet children that needed a home. We have kids so couldn’t imagine what more we needed to learn. We were proved wrong after the first class. The classes helped prepare us for the trauma these kids have been through. Afterwards, we wanted more! The teachers and material were incredibly helpful!”

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 Kansas 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 TIPS-MAPP 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 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.

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.

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.

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. To learn how you can get involved by supporting foster parents in your community, click here!

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.

Questions About Kinship Placement

If you have questions on kinship placement, give us a call at (913) 499-8100 and we’ll connect you to the correct department.

In Kansas, when a court decides that a child should not remain in the parents’ home, a KVC Case Worker makes a referral for kinship placement. Following this, a Kinship Care Coordinator contacts all relatives or acquaintances and sets up interviews. The interviews take place in the potential caregiver’s home and consists of a series of questions and some paperwork to be completed. Helpful resources are then given for reference, as well as basic first-aid information. The caregiver must then pass a background check, a home inspection and complete all the requirements given by the Kinship Coordinator.

Kinship caregivers sometimes receive monthly financial assistance towards the cost of providing care for the child. KVC provides information on support group meetings, which have shown to be very effective. Read an example here. KVC supplies resources to help with the child’s medical, educational and emotional needs. Also, kinship caregivers are eligible for daycare assistance and receive support from KVC staff who are on-call 24/7.

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.

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.