Interested in Foster Parenting?
There is a child who needs you.
On any given day, about 1,200 kids in Hamilton County live in foster care. They’ve been abused or neglected, or they can’t live with their biological families because of other circumstances.
Foster care is intended to be temporary while families work through the issues that led to their children entering foster care.
We need local families right here in Cincinnati and Hamilton County to step up and care for these vulnerable children. By keeping kids in this area, we are able to quickly connect them with the resources they need to recover from the abuse or neglect they’ve experienced and to keep them close to what’s familiar – their friends, their schools and family.
When it seems that everything in their whole world is changing, familiarity and a good foster home can make all the difference.
We know parenting can be difficult. And these kids may have additional challenges. They have been taken from everything they know and they are scared.
But they’re just kids, kids who need someone to care.
They need you. We need you. If you’ve ever considered becoming a foster parent, please take the next step. We’re here to help you get started.
Who is a Foster Parent?
A foster parent is someone who takes care, temporarily, of a child who’s in the custody of Hamilton County Job and Family Services (HCJFS). They do everything for a child that a parent would do, from taking them to doctor’s appointments, to their sporting events and helping them with their homework.
Foster parents have many different backgrounds and experiences. You don’t have to be married, have raised your own children, stay at home or be wealthy. You do need to have a desire to help the children in your care learn and grow.
A foster parent is:
- Anyone who is at least 21;
- Single, married, gay or straight;
- Financially stable – able to demonstrate that you can cover your expenses;
- Able to pass local, state and federal background checks and complete all of the required training classes and paperwork
- A homeowner or renter – you just need to have space in your home and in your heart for these children.
Why Do We Need You?
Foster parents are called upon when a child has to temporarily move from his or her home because of alleged abuse or neglect. Caseworkers help the child’s family with things like parenting classes, drug treatment and mental health services. The kids will still have regular visits with their biological families, visits typically supervised by their caseworker.
Foster parents may take care of children for a few days, a few months or even a year or longer. The initial goal in every situation is to reunify foster children with their parents or extended family. Sometimes, though, that doesn’t work out and adoption then becomes the goal.
A child placed in a foster home may later become available for adoption. If a child cannot return to their biological family, the child’s foster parents – if they would like to adopt – are considered with preference.
Take the First Step
It’s important to note that HCJFS does not license families for foster care.
HCJFS partners with other agencies in the community that provide foster care services.
Once you have selected the agency you want to work with, here’s what to expect:
- Classes: You’ll take 30-plus hours of classes on everything from effective discipline to policies and procedures. The agency you choose will help you complete this pre-service training.
- Home study: You will be visited by a licensing specialist who will ask a lot of questions about your background. You’ll also have to have your home inspected by your local fire department, produce information about your financial situation and give your fingerprints for a background check. You will work with a licensing specialist to determine how many children, what ages and what types of developmental and/or behavioral challenges you are ready to parent.
- Once you have your official foster care license from the state, you’re ready to receive placement calls. When you receive a call, you can discuss the information about the child or children and accept or decline the placement.
Becoming a foster parent can certainly be an adventure. Some families foster for decades, while others do it for a shorter period of time. For however long you can give, we’d be happy to have you.
The difference you can make in a a child’s life can last a lifetime.