The choice to foster a child may be one of the biggest and most meaningful decisions of your life. Once you choose to open your heart and your home, you are taking the first step on a journey to improving a child’s life. We are here to help you along the way as you learn about our program and the children who need your help.
Children ages 0-21, with the average age of 13, are in need of a caring parent who can provide a safe home for them. These children have behavioral and emotional problems because of the difficulty they have experienced in their lives. They may come from a background of abuse and neglect. Children are amazingly resilient, and you can make a difference in their lives by providing a structured, nurturing environment.
No, you are not responsible for payment of medical expenses. Children in foster care have their own state or private insurance.
The training you receive before a child comes to live with you will provide you with skills to help youth improve their behaviors. You will learn proven techniques for helping children who have experienced trauma, and parenting skills that are unique to addressing children’s needs in foster care.
Yes, during the certification process, we will be asking you questions regarding what behaviors you would be willing to work with, and who would fit well with your family. Our foster parents and children have a say in where and who they want to live with. When possible, children do pre-placement visits with you (daytime and/or overnight) to see how they get along with you, your family, and community before a decision is made. We want to make sure you are committed and dedicated to helping the child so your input is extremely valuable. We encourage new foster parents to have an open mind because those who are open to helping all types of children often change their initial preference.
After you become a certified foster parent, the timeline depends on how specific you are regarding which behaviors you are willing to work with, your family’s situation, and what children are in need of homes.
Some children still have contact with their family through phone calls and/or going to their home on home visits. Many of our foster parents have found success in working with the child’s family. The ideal situation is that all people involved in the child’s life work in partnership to help the child. We will support you around involving the child’s family.
Some foster parents are able to adopt children they have helped through foster care. There are some requirements for adoption which include: termination of legal rights of both birth parents and that the possibility of placement/adoption by other relatives has been exhausted. The child needs to be successful in your home and that adoption is at the request of you and the child. Children served by Pressley Ridge often have court and treatment team involvement. They would be included in the decision making.
Children are in need of full time foster parents, but there are also opportunities to provide as needed support to current foster parents. This is called respite parenting. Respite parents provide care to children in the same way full time foster parents do, but on a periodic basis (weekends, two to three weekends a month, and/or emergency situations).
Foster care is intended to be a short-term arrangement until children can safely return to their family. On average, children stay with our foster parents for a little over a year, but a judge may decide to send the child back home before then. Other factors such as the child’s age (in some states children may remain in the program until age 21), and how well the child is doing in your home may impact how long the child will live with you. During the certification process, we will work with you to determine what situation is most comfortable for you and your family.
It depends on the child’s education needs. Some children go to public schools. Other children may need specialized education programs that provide education and counseling components. These specialized programs often provide individual counseling and psychiatric services.
We understand that being a foster parent comes with great rewards – but it can also be challenging. We are here to support you. You can expect the following:
Specialized Training based on research that shows it works and will give you the knowledge and skills to help children with significant behavior issues
Ongoing support from professional and compassionate staff
24/7 On-Call Services
Care breaks (respite)
Treatment Parent Assistance Program (TPAP), an EAP for foster parents.