Update – My First Placements

My First Foster Placements - Becoming a Foster Parent - Canada

I had started this blog to just record the process of becoming a foster parent and had no plans to continue once I took on placements, but I wanted to give an update about my first placement since that ‘officially’ made me a foster parent in my mind.

After I met my worker on November 3, I was put “on the board” to officially accept placements. Then, I waited. And waited. And waited. On January 30th (almost 3 full months of waiting for a call), I received an email from my worker saying she had a potential placement for me, and to call her the next day when she’d be in the office.

When I called her the next day she went over what she knew. The kids were still with their mother, had been in care before, but they had a court date on that Thursday to determine if the kids would be coming back into care. The kids. Two. Not one.. .two kids.

So, did I whip out my placement call list of questions and start rattling them off? Nope. I completely forgot about it to be honest! I listened. She gave me the info she had, which really wasn’t much and then asked my thoughts. The kids both fell in my age range. There was one boy and one girl, so I had the beds available. I said yes.

Then, I had to wait again. This time, for the judge to decide if the kids would be placed in foster care. Thursday afternoon came and I hadn’t heard anything so I sent my worker a quick email (we email a lot, since I work full time outside the home, it is the easiest way for us to send quick messages). She hadn’t heard anything either so she said she would see what she could find out.

The case had been put off until the next week. I had to wait a whole week again to find out if I would be caring for these children. It was a long, hard week. I didn’t know what to expect, would it be put off again? Am I sure I want to accept two children as my first placement? Am I sure I want to accept any children at all still? I starting having doubts, I starting rethinking everything.

Then Thursday came.

The kids were ordered into care and I received the call. The kids would be at my house at 6pm.  On February 16, I welcomed a sibling set of two into my home. Right now it is estimated at a 6-8 month stay, but you just never know. Their Mom has been great though and I am 100% confident there will be reunification. We talk on the phone every night before the kids go to bed.

Some days are hard. Like, really hard. But others are wonderful. I feel like I was definitely meant to have more than two children and this is part of my path…however, my children are sure they do not want anymore foster children to come into our home. Adjustment is hard.

~Meesh

 

Waiting on Approval (Still)

Waiting on Approvals - Foster Care - Becoming a Foster Parent - MommaMeesh Blog

I am still in the waiting process. It has been almost two months, which was the estimated time line for my approval, however I have not even received my Home Study report to review yet.

I touched base quick with my Home Study worker last week and she hadn’t got to my report yet due to a backlog of people ahead of me. She is swamped with Home Studies, which is great, but also frustrating.

I am hoping within the next week or so I will receive my report to review. It then goes back and gets approval from her supervisor.

The next waiting game will be when I am assigned a Worker. After my official approval they have 7 days to assign a worker to me. From there, she has 30 days to come meet me. I am really hoping that is a large time frame and it is actually much sooner… but the way things are going, I am expecting it to be the full estimated time.

My hope is still to receive a placement in August, however, each day I don’t receive my report, I am losing hope for that.

I will update as soon as I get approval 🙂

 

Placement Calls – Questions to Ask

Foster Care Placement Call Question List - Becoming a Foster Parent blog

I am currently brainstorming questions for when I receive my first placement calls. I would love input from people who have gone through the blur and excitement of the first calls.

My Home Study worker suggested I create a list of questions to keep with me for when I receive a call. I am drafting it right now and plan to have her review it at my final home study appointment coming up next week.

Have a look at the PDF (Foster Care Placement Call Questions (PDF)) and let me know your thoughts. Is there information missing or are there too many questions for the first call?

I should add these questions are for school aged children, age range of 4 to 7. I don’t have baby-related or teen-related questions.

Edited to add:  A Commenter gave some great question ideas which can also be found here: No Bohns About It

I am sure there are lots of lists similar to this one out there. If you would like me to add your list, please let me know and I will add it to this post 🙂 

 


 

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Becoming a Foster Parent – My Timeline

Becoming a Foster Parent - Timeline - Process - Application to Approval - Home Study Assessments

I thought I would share the timeline of my process so far. At the beginning, they said it could take anywhere from 9-12 months. Due to long waits between appointments it is looking more like 12-13 months from beginning to end to be officially approved as a Foster Parent. The image above as well as the points below lay out what has happened over the past year.


 

My Process to Date: May 2015 to April 2016

May 7, 2015  – First inquiry to CAS about becoming a foster parent and how to go through training

July 20, 2015 – CAS Worker visited my home to discuss becoming a foster parent, to give more information and a copy of the application package

On July 26th, they confirmed they received my application package and booked me in for PRIDE training. I was then in the waiting stage to start training (about 2 months away) and be assigned a Home Study Worker.

September 23, 2015 – Home Study worker assigned (once PRIDE training starts they assign a home study worker to go through the rest of the approval process with you)

September 29, 2015 – December 1, 2015 – PRIDE TRAINING – 9 Sessions (3 hours per session for a total of 27 Hours training). I attended Tuesday evening sessions. They also had a Saturday option which you could take for 4 Saturdays in a row in November, then the final session was with the Tuesday night group on December 1. Since I would rather give up a Tuesday night then four full day Saturdays, I went with the Tuesday night group. The end date of both groups was the same.

October 19, 2015 – INFORMATION GATHERING STAGE – I received an email stating I had entered the next phase. I was sent policies to review, I had to submit my police and medical checks, complete a Resource Family Profile and was also sent a question sheet to complete after Training. Online training for AODA was required at this time as well (Accessibility for Ontarian’s with Disabilities Act – it is a requirement in Ontario to complete this training)

November 3, 2015 – Confirmation from CAS that my AODA training was complete and Car Seat training session is booked. I had to attend a mandatory car seat training session which I completed in January.

January 4, 2016 – ASSESSMENT PHASE (PRIDE Training is complete!). First Home Study Appointment Confirmed

January 15, 2016 – Home Study Assessment #1 Completed

January 19, 2016 – Received a report about my first Home Study Assessment and follow up items from the SAFE Checklist that we had gone over.

March 2, 2016 – Home Study Assessment#2  Rescheduled for April 7, due to weather and bad road conditions

April 7, 2016 – Home Study Assessment #2

April 21, 2016 – Home Study Assessment #3 (FINAL Appointment!)

Once my final appointment is complete I enter the “waiting for official approval” stage. I have been told this could take from a week or two up to two months, depending on what CAS needs and what children I have filled out as willing to accept.

Estimated Date to be an Approved Foster Parent: May/June 2016


 

I am going to be honest: I am frustrated, it has been a lot of waiting. My Home Study worker said her and the other Home Study workers are swamped with assessments, which is great since they say there is a need for more foster parents, but also frustrating because they are in need of foster parents and I am here waiting.


What did your timeline look like? Or are you just starting yours? I’d love to hear about your experiences.

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First Steps: Talking to my Children About Foster Care

let your faith be bigger

I have talked to my children a few times about the possibility of us becoming a Foster family. I have only grazed the surface so far as to what that means for us and have just introduced what Foster Parenting is in general. Their reaction was about what I expected, excitement and the idea that is it like having a long sleep over and making a new friend.

I am going to be introducing more aspects of it as I go through my training and learn more myself. I don’t want them to have false hopes and misunderstandings going into it, making it harder on everyone. I believe they are old enough that I can have deeper conversations with them about what to expect (they are 7 and 9 years old).

Some of the items I plan to discuss are:

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Home Studies

home

I received a call from CAS regarding my Home Study appointments. In my initial information meeting it was mentioned these in-home meetings (3 or 4 of them) would be completed after my nine training classes were complete, however they called to see if I wanted to get them booked in now, or if preferred, I could wait until after I was done my training.

Of course I told her I was willing to get booked now. I can’t officially get them booked until the end of September since I have to be separated one year before they can book the Home Studies, but the wheels are in motion. I am hoping that means that the Home Study appointments will be complete by the time my training is. This means I could potentially be finished both my training and Home Studies before Christmas.

With my application I received some information regarding the home studies. The information below is taken directly from the Ontario SAFE Documentation Package given to me.

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Expressing My Thoughts isn’t Always Easy

Thoughts

I have been struggling with what I would and wouldn’t share on this blog. I set out with the purpose to make it a clear, honest look into my journey of becoming a Foster Parent. As I draft my posts I find myself editing my thoughts. This isn’t what I had planned. I want to keep it open and honest and journal my thoughts and feelings and experiences. This might include areas I don’t usually speak about with friends and family. Some things I keep private and I guess that is why I am struggling share everything.

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