Becoming a Foster Parent: Training – Session One

Training Session 1 - Becoming a Foster Parent (mommameesh.wordpress.com)

Last week my Home Study process was started (you can read about it here) and this week my PRIDE (Parent Resources for Information, Development and Education) training has begun.

Here is the story of my first night of training…


Part One: The Personal Experience

Nerves / Anxiety

I was very nervous that I would be late. I live about 45 minutes from the City where my training is, without rush hour traffic. Due to the timing I wanted to give myself a little over an hour to get there to be sure I found it okay. For me, new places always make me nervous (ok, really nervous.. in ways that sometimes I can’t bring myself to actually go…)

Stress

I had asked my ex-husband to come over to watch the kids right after work so I could leave in good time. At lunch time I received a text that he had forgotten about an appointment he had that would make him late to watch the kids. My stress level rose, but I figured I would still have just enough time to get there. Then, he texted back and had made arrangements for the kids to be picked up straight from the bus and be watched until he got back (awesome!). This gave me extra time and reduced my stress so much!

Relief

I ended up being the first person there, which is really no big surprise, since I am usually early to everything. Quickly though people started arriving. We grabbed snacks and drinks and picked a seat and wrote our names on little tents to put in front of us. A wonderful woman (also single) sat down with me at my table and talked about where we were from and what we did for a  living. She was very nice and was originally from a small town near mine! A couple sat down with us as well and they were very sweet!

We all went around the room and introduced ourselves. There were lots of single people, some LGBT couples and a few husband/wife couples (less than I expected!).

Excitement

I felt excited and happy during the whole session. Earlier in the day when my stress rose, so did my doubts. I started rethinking if this was right for me. During the session, every doubt went away and I became excited again about the whole process. At one point I even thought about how maybe down the line I could get involved with the training portion, as a trainer. One of the trainers we had begun as a Foster parent, just like me. But that would be a few years down the road!

I am excited for next week’s session already!


Part Two: The Learning Experience

When I arrived I picked up the Binder of Resource material for the training. Let me start off by saying I have a thing for binders. I do, it’s weird. I LOVE organizing things in binders! So I was impressed by the binder they hand out. It had about 3″ worth of documents in it covering all nine sessions, plus additional information. Probably about 1000 pages… double sided. And I LOVED it! I had brought my own binder (you can see view of the inside of mine here), and it looked so small and insignificant beside the training binder. Anyways, on to the training…

AGENDA 

  1. Welcome and Introductions
    1. Our trainers introduced themselves, then we all went around the room and introduced ourselves
    2. We learned about the binder quick (general layout, where to look and where the Homework was)
    3. Went over a Team Work Agreement for the course (so everyone was on the same page and working together)
    4. Went over purpose of the training and competencies we needed to learn
  2. Connecting with Resource Parenting: What? Why? Who? How?
    1. We went over information about CAS and how they are governed
    2. We also touched on the different types of Fostering, Kinship and Adoption and did a group exercise on Rewards and Challenges for each one
    3. We watched a movie about a Foster family and their experience
  3. Closing Remarks

Notes Taken

I am an avid note taker. I have a  horrible memory, so I write down everything. Here are some of the notes I made while our trainer was giving us more information (the What? Why? Who? How? portion)

Stats about the Children’s Aid Society (CAS):
These are the stats given in the class and were for their CAS location/area (in Ontario, Canada).

  • 9025 Inquiries and Referrals last year (this could include someone calling to ask questions about their own children and how to deal with a certain situation)
  • 2494 Investigations of abuse and neglect
  • 5657 After-hours calls
  • 1620 Families receiving service
  • 650 Children in care (birth to 21 years) – 2 years ago this number was 860
  • 50% of Children in care are Crown Wards
  • 320 Foster Families
  • 100 Adoptive Families
  • 95 Adoptions finalized last year, or in the process of finalizing
  • 50% of Children in Care return home in about 3 months

Other Notes:

  • Only children aged 16 and under can be apprehended
  • Children in the system before age 16 can stay in care until the age of 21 (if not adopted or returned home).
  • Once they turn 21, they “age out” of the system
  • Children in care receive financial support to attend post secondary education

Rates:

  • Basic Board Rate – Children 0-17yrs: $30.84/day
  • Provisional/Kin (in care) – Children 0-12yrs: $17.11/day
  • Provisional/Kin (in care) – Children 13-17yrs: $20.76/day
  • Daily Receiving Rate (on call Foster Parent): $44.27/day

Money is not taxable income and children are not claimed as dependents.

Additional money is given for:

  • Clothing allowances (monthly)
  • Extra curricular activities, camps, day care, school supplies, Birthdays, Christmas, etc.
  • Dental and Medical coverage
  • Children’s Allowance (to give to the children – rates differ by age)

Families they are in need of:

  • Teen foster homes
  • Medically fragile foster homes
  • Native foster family homes
  • Religious Minority families / Muslim
  • Racial Minority families
  • Foster homes with room for Sibling groups
  • One stay-at-home-parent homes

If you have specific questions about my first night of training, or want to know more about any of the items above, please comment on this post and I will add more information.

Tonight’s session was mostly an overview. Next week we will be starting more detailed sessions. I will also post about my Homework (which is reviewed in the Home Study visits), once I sit down and have a look over it!

signature

Home Study – Step One: Application Review

Home Study - Step One (mommameesh.wordpress.com)

I received a call from my assigned Home Study worker this week. We had a phone conversation about my application. The only thing we went into more detail about at this time was my financial report. Other items of my application will be looked at more when she visits my home. She mentioned she likes to go over the financial section with applicants before she comes to their home in case there is an issue and it stops the process (then it isn’t worth her to come out to people’s homes for the full study).

She received a copy of my Monthly Budget in my package so we went over it and then she asked some clarifying questions about emergency funds and ‘what if’ scenarios. For example, if I needed to get my roof redone, where would that money come from? Or if my car broke down, etc. For my credit card debt, what were the credit cards used for?

We discussed my plans for those scenarios and the basics of my Monthly Budget. All in all, she was happy with it and we can move on to the next step (yay!). I was nervous about the financial review because I am a single income family, but turns out I provided all the information needed and it looks good.

I was then advised once I have attended my first training session (this Tuesday coming up) she will email me tasks to be completed before the in home assessment and also set up a time to talk with my children. She wants to book the interview with my children on a PA Day (makes sense), so that will probably be done in November.

I will keep you posted. Next week I will post about my first training session and the tasks I need to complete before my in home assessment.

signature

Overcoming Doubt

Psalms 94:19 - mommameesh.wordpress.com

With my training only a week away I have been very excited to begin a new phase of my journey. Further to that, I received a call today from my assigned Home Study worker. It is becoming more real with each step I take. Naturally, I start to think about ‘what ifs’ and doubt how I will be as a Foster Parent. Will I be able to handle the stress of a third child? Will I be able to do it on my own as a single parent?

Continue reading

Thinking Positive – Let all you do be done in love

Let all you do be done in love mommameesh.wordpress.com

“Let all you do be done in love” 1 Corinthians 16:14

I came across this verse today on Pinterest. I decided to open up my bible and read more to see what came right before that. There are a lot of ways people interpret the Bible, I believe. There is the meaning as it was written and taking into account the whole book, but there is also personal interpretation. For me, I take parts of the Bible and will relate certain verses to my life. Today I thought about 1 Corinthians 16:13-14 and how those verses made me feel when I read them. I didn’t read them within the context of the book or even the whole chapter. I read them alone for my own interpretation and motivation.

1 Corinthians 16:13-14 (NLT) reads:

1 Corinthians 16:13-14 NLT mommameesh.wordpress.com

I find myself not only being hard on myself, but sometimes complaining about tasks I need to do. Reading this made me see I need to do everything, or all I do, with love, that includes how I treat myself. I need to be more positive and not complain or judge.  Reading verses 13 and 14 together I feel gives me great advice: I need to stand firm in my faith, be courageous, strong and do everything with love. Everything. Not just for others. Everything I do.

How do I do that in every day life?

Continue reading

Becoming a Healthier Me: Quick Update

Becoming a Healthier Me - Quick Update - mommameesh.wordpress.com

This week I am feeling motivated in my “Healthier Me” journey. I have started to eat better and be more conscience of my food choices. I didn’t start a “diet” but rather just looked at what I was eating and asked if it would help me or hurt me and really if I needed it at all (was I just bored?).

Here is a quick update on my “Areas of Improvement” I mentioned in an earlier post.

Continue reading

Homemade Flat Bread (Like Subway!)

The kids are obsessed with this flat bread recipe! It tastes like the flat bread from Subway so the kids are having fun making their own “subs like Subway” for school. They also ask to have it for supper and snacks. They love it so much they are sure to hate it in a week (isn’t that the way it goes?)

I have made this recipe probably 4 times in the last month. It makes about 12 pieces (depends on how big you want them). It is great for making subs, or for dipping! We usually microwave them quick when eating them at home so they are nice and soft and warm. I made tomato soup on the weekend and dipped this flat bread in it, GREAT idea!

Click Here for the original blog with the recipe. I stumbled across it when browsing Pinterest. She has pictures with the instructions as well, which is great!

Below is the recipe, the way I make it (including using the KitchenAid):

Flatbread recipe (mommameesh.wordpress.com)

My flat bread making in action:  (this was my first attempt –  I made them twice as big as I needed to – still amazingly good, we just cut them in half)

Making Flatbread (mommameesh.wordpress.com) Recipe included.

If you try it out, let me know! Also, go on over to the original poster’s blog to check it out as well 🙂

Oh, and since it is homemade, it is of course zero calories. Right?

signature

September – The Month of TO DO Lists

September is one of my favourite months. The kids go back to school, our town has it’s Fall Fair, the leaves start to change and the weather becomes colder (which means bring on the comfy cozy sweaters!). It is also the month I jump back into baking and soup making and usually get the itch to do some fix ups and organizing around the house.

This year, it is even more exciting with the start of my Foster Parent training (PRIDE training). I am still trying to work out babysitting for the nights I have to go into the city for training, but I still have a few weeks to work that out. I will be updating you each week about information from my training. Until then, I am focusing on my To Do Lists. Below is a sample of what’s on my To Do Lists for September.


To Do List-Mommameesh.wordpress.com


Continue reading