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Lurker popping in with a question

Posted by on Aug. 2, 2012 at 2:37 PM
  • 10 Replies

 I've been watching and reading the board for a while. DH and I had a discussion today at lunch about the possibility of becoming foster parents.

So a little about us: DH is 42 and I am 32. Neither of us have any children. We have been married 19 months and TTC the whole time with no success. We still hope to have bio children but are open to fostering and/or adopting, also. We have the room and resources and a lot of love to give. DH's middle sister was adopted as a baby so it is something that is near to the hearts of his family. I love my SIL so although it's different she wouldn't be my SIL if DH's parents hadn't adopted her.

We live in Iowa. I have done some reading on some websites but need a little more direction - the internet can be overwhelming at times! We need to have a home study done, I assume, so is that where we start? How would we go about getting certified in other states so that we could be considered by states other than Iowa? We live almost in the middle so it's a very easy drive to Nebraska, Missouri, Illinois, and Minnesota as well as possibly South Dakota, Wisconsin and Kansas. Is that even possible?

Thanks ladies! I really admire and respect you all. I have read some of your stories and I know you have had to deal with a lot at times but you keep plugging away because it's what's best for the kids. That is our heart as well - to love little ones.

by on Aug. 2, 2012 at 2:37 PM
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Replies (1-10):
Isaacsmom913
by on Aug. 2, 2012 at 5:49 PM
If you want to foster the home study will be paid for you! So, your first step is to contact you children protection agency in your county to apply. They will have you attend an orientation generally (or will send you info in tha mail). Then you start the ball rolling! Good luck!!!
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koalasami
by on Aug. 3, 2012 at 8:44 AM

When I started the process I contacted one of the private agencies first - instead of DCFS.  I am not sure how Iowa works but you may want to consider what your options are for agencies - either going through the state or private.  I think there are probably advantages/disadvantages for both.  As far as going through more than 1 state I am not sure if that is possible.  But if it is and you do go that route I would take it slow.  I can not imagine dealing with more than 1 state or agency.  It is great that you are willing but it may be a lot to handle when you are first starting out. 

SarahSuzyQ
by Sarah on Aug. 3, 2012 at 9:26 AM

I would recommend starting with your state, and calling to find out when they have an info night. That will give you the opportunity to understand how foster care is structured in your state, and you should be able to get a sense of where private agencies come in as well. Each state seems to be structured really differently in terms of the type and function of private agencies who do foster care.

In foster care, the state and/or agency covers all costs of the homestudy, etc. I would not state during that process that you are looking in other states, though, or they will likely slow you down.

As far as fostering from other states, that is fairly uncommon no matter your geographic location. In order for a foster child to be placed out of state, the two states need to go through a lengthy legal process called the interstate child placement compact (ICPC). That is typically only done if it is a relative and reunification is no longer happening, or if the child is being moved to another state for adoption. Sometimes kids will come into care because they are found across state lines, so the bios may live in the other state, but most of the time foster care tends to stay within the state.

Still, as far as fostering from other states, I would ask at your info night. They'll let you know if perhaps your state has something set up with the closely neighboring states... I just wouldn't necessarily expect that, but you never know.

GL! It sounds like you have a great heart for loving kids, which is a very good place to start in foster care. :)

aprilz1225
by Silver Member on Aug. 3, 2012 at 9:46 AM

 If you want to do an agency or private adoption your home study will have to have an ICPC approval... this home study is recognized by all states.. If not your home study is approved for your state only. If you take this route make sure to ask when you set up this type of home study to ask if they can make the home study ICPC approved.... wecome to the group..

SarahSuzyQ
by Sarah on Aug. 3, 2012 at 1:57 PM

I haven't heard this before for foster care. What I have heard repeatedly is that if you tell the homestudy worker you are looking out of state, they will push you to the back of the pile and slow you down. The state is spending the $ to certify you in hopes that you will take kids off the state's rolls, so if you look out of state that just doesn't happen for them. And while it all evens out in the end, it is just true that states will often discourage families from looking for available children out of state.

I have also never heard of someone adopting through foster care whose homestudy had to be completely redone because of ICPC. There may be additional/different requirements that you can complete once you've been matched with a child and ICPC is rolling, but...

I'm wondering if this is something more common in domestic adoption because you are paying for the homestudy and the agency isn't affected by which state the child is coming from? Or is this something you heard in investigating foster care in your area, April?

Quoting aprilz1225:

 If you want to do an agency or private adoption your home study will have to have an ICPC approval... this home study is recognized by all states.. If not your home study is approved for your state only. If you take this route make sure to ask when you set up this type of home study to ask if they can make the home study ICPC approved.... wecome to the group..


luvslilacs
by on Aug. 3, 2012 at 2:15 PM

 Thank you all so much! I have made contact with the local program who is in charge of foster and foster/adoption programs here in Iowa. I have a lot of information to read and our informational session is at the end of the month. I believe I'm going to be getting a phone call in a few days from one of their staff people. In the meantime, I have a few question for you all.

Preface: I know that this is a lengthy process. We will have to attend 30 hours of training before the home study and all of that before we get our certificate. I'm not trying to put the cart before the horse and I'm not going to start buying stuff now but I would like to make a list, at least, of things that we should consider having in the house so that we are ready most any time for any situation.

We have 4 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms. We would most likely only use 2 of the 4 bedrooms for kids because one is down on a lower level and is our "guest room" for when we have company. Also, I wouldn't want a child to be down there alone while we are upstairs. In those 2 bedrooms we already have a full size bed and dresser/chest of drawer and book case. They both have closets also.

Here are my questions:

1) Should we have a crib available in case there is a young child that needs the safety of a crib? I know those cases are rare - should I be prepared anyway? Our state says that we cannot use Pack 'n' Plays for sleeping.

2) Do we need to have car seats or booster seats available? Again, in case there is a younger child that needs one of those.

3) When we get through the process should I make contact with the school and let them know what we are doing to find out how we would enroll a school-age child?

4) If we would happen to get a young child how is day-care handled? Do we find one and pay for it with the stipend that foster care gives? Or, is it a no-no to put a foster child in daycare? Should I make arrangements to stay home? (MUCH easier said than done as we still depend on my income to help pay the bills. We get by just fine with both of our incomes but would struggle on just DH's alone.)

5) Are we allowed to take the kids on trips - short ones - like to a neighboring state for a few days. Nothing extravagant or overseas but maybe to KC or Minneapolis or Omaha or something like that - a long weekend maybe?

Any other advice? Other things I haven't thought of that I should put on my list? Again, I'm not going out and buying these things - I'm a list person - I'd like to know what I need to be prepared is all. Then, as we get farther into the process, if I find some of these things on sale or if someone is looking to get rid of something that I need I could snag it at a good price.

January1964
by on Aug. 3, 2012 at 2:19 PM

I don't think you should buy things like cribs and carseats until you are sure you need them. I have never heard it was illegal to sleep in a pack and play. My daughter preferred her pack and play to her crib. I don't see why you couldn't put a foster care child in daycare.

aprilz1225
by Silver Member on Aug. 3, 2012 at 2:32 PM

 domestic and private adoptions only as far as i know... most homestudies in our area all ready come with it, they will ask if you are just looking in your state or would like to adopt with in all 50 states... when you adopt out of some states you are required to stay in the birthmoms state for 10 days so they can make sure you have ICPC stataus before you can leave the state.

Quoting SarahSuzyQ:

I haven't heard this before for foster care. What I have heard repeatedly is that if you tell the homestudy worker you are looking out of state, they will push you to the back of the pile and slow you down. The state is spending the $ to certify you in hopes that you will take kids off the state's rolls, so if you look out of state that just doesn't happen for them. And while it all evens out in the end, it is just true that states will often discourage families from looking for available children out of state.

I have also never heard of someone adopting through foster care whose homestudy had to be completely redone because of ICPC. There may be additional/different requirements that you can complete once you've been matched with a child and ICPC is rolling, but...

I'm wondering if this is something more common in domestic adoption because you are paying for the homestudy and the agency isn't affected by which state the child is coming from? Or is this something you heard in investigating foster care in your area, April?

Quoting aprilz1225:

 If you want to do an agency or private adoption your home study will have to have an ICPC approval... this home study is recognized by all states.. If not your home study is approved for your state only. If you take this route make sure to ask when you set up this type of home study to ask if they can make the home study ICPC approved.... wecome to the group..

 

 

luvslilacs
by on Aug. 3, 2012 at 2:55 PM

 I believe the pack 'n' play thing is a state requirement here in Iowa. I used to work for my church nursery and several of my co-workers ran in-home daycares also. They were saying that the state changed the rules for them and were requiring them to have actual cribs or beds for all children - they can no longer use pack 'n' plays for infants and toddlers. I read on the website for Iowa's foster care program that foster homes cannot use them either. Not sure what the reasoning is behind it but I've been hearing it for a couple of years now here in Iowa.

Quoting January1964:

I don't think you should buy things like cribs and carseats until you are sure you need them. I have never heard it was illegal to sleep in a pack and play. My daughter preferred her pack and play to her crib. I don't see why you couldn't put a foster care child in daycare.

 

SarahSuzyQ
by Sarah on Aug. 3, 2012 at 3:26 PM
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Quoting luvslilacs:

Here are my questions:

1) Should we have a crib available in case there is a young child that needs the safety of a crib? I know those cases are rare - should I be prepared anyway? Our state says that we cannot use Pack 'n' Plays for sleeping. A lot of families do keep some of these basics on hand... And a kiddo who needs a crib is not rare if you are planning to do foster cases where the parents will have the chance to work reunification. I was going to suggest looking at garage sales, but there is some new standard about drop-side cribs so you may be pretty restricted in your crib options. If you think you are most interested in kids under 18 months, then it would make sense to pick up a crib at some point.

2) Do we need to have car seats or booster seats available? Again, in case there is a younger child that needs one of those. For us the dept issued the necessary car seats, or provided a voucher to purchase them. The seats would then leave our home with any child who left. I would hold off on a car seat, as I think DHHS will provide a basic seat in most states. You can always run to Walmart for a better one later.

3) When we get through the process should I make contact with the school and let them know what we are doing to find out how we would enroll a school-age child? I would hold off until the child is actually in your home. The CW may be able to help you out with this, if you do need to transfer a child into your district.

4) If we would happen to get a young child how is day-care handled? Do we find one and pay for it with the stipend that foster care gives? Or, is it a no-no to put a foster child in daycare? Should I make arrangements to stay home? (MUCH easier said than done as we still depend on my income to help pay the bills. We get by just fine with both of our incomes but would struggle on just DH's alone.) There is no issue with having foster kids in daycare, and often times the state will use the childcare vouchers to pay for it if both parents are working. (That would be in addition to the FC board rate you receive.) I would suggest that you do some research now so that you have a couple of daycares in mind. When my son first came to us we were in a desperate scramble to find a daycare so I could get back to work! They will typically try to place very young children, esp babies, with SAHMs first, but there are no rules about not having foster kids in daycare. 

5) Are we allowed to take the kids on trips - short ones - like to a neighboring state for a few days. Nothing extravagant or overseas but maybe to KC or Minneapolis or Omaha or something like that - a long weekend maybe? Taking a foster child across state lines requires special permission. It really depends on your state and worker as to how flexible they are willing to be, and if the child is in reunification, the BPs may also have some say. When my son was in foster care we flew halfway across the country to visit family, but we had to go through several layers of administration to get that permission. Usually you just need to really plan ahead in order to make this happen. 

Any other advice? Other things I haven't thought of that I should put on my list? Again, I'm not going out and buying these things - I'm a list person - I'd like to know what I need to be prepared is all. Then, as we get farther into the process, if I find some of these things on sale or if someone is looking to get rid of something that I need I could snag it at a good price. Toiletries, sheets and blankets, toys and books... Things that store well. I have a friend who has hand-me-downs in every size, but that's not realistic to store at my house! Some families will also keep undergarments on hand in a variety of sizes. We actually don't keep much at my house, but I would rather just run out to Walmart and buy the basics as needed.


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