When children enter the foster care system, they are often frightened and traumatized. The first foster parents that care for a child in an emergency situation are often short-term care providers. Foster parents are carefully screened by the foster care agency. Here are the steps you need to take to become an emergency short-term foster parent.
Call your Department of Social Services and let it know that you would like information on becoming an emergency short-term foster parent. You can find the telephone number in the blue pages of your phone book or by searching online for "Department of Social Services" for your state.
Attend an informational meeting held by the Department of Social Services. During this meeting, you will find out the procedures required by your state in becoming a foster parent. You also may be given forms to fill out if you are interested in going through the process.
Meet with a social worker in your home to discuss your foster parent application and your expectations for becoming an emergency short-term foster parent. Bring the forms that you were given, filled out honestly and in their entirety. During this meeting, and in subsequent ones, you should answer all questions honestly. The social worker will make several more visits to your house, along with performing a background check on each person in your household.
Attend classes on parenting, discipline and the challenges unique to foster families. Your social worker will tell you when the classes are. You must complete all of the classes prior to being accepted as a foster parent. The courses run approximately 10 weeks.
Become certified as a foster parent. After you have been approved, your social worker will call you when an emergency short-term placement is needed. You will have the option to accept or decline any placement.
Don't get discouraged at the length of time that it takes to become approved. The screening process is for the children's safety.