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 ūüôā¬†

 


 

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Home Study #2 – Personal Interview

Home Study 2 - Personal Interview (Becoming a Foster Parent Process) Mommameesh-wordpress-com

A few days ago I had my second Home Study appointment with my Home Study Worker. She came to my house for an interview with me. We did not go through my house like in the first visit, this was just to go over a list of questions. Some Home Study workers complete this at their office; however, my Worker prefers to come to the home for all of the appointments.

The time booked for this appointment is 2 hours, but we were done in just over an hour.

Discussion about Possible Placements

We went over the checklists and forms relating to the types of children I am willing to accept into my home. I talked with her about the age range to get her opinion on the range and she agreed I should stay with the 4-7 age range to keep my son older than the placements. She said some people do not stick to that, but she recommends it. I am also open to taking a sibling group, but it has to be one girl, one boy due to bedroom arrangements and they have to both fall in the 4-7 age range, so that could be tricky.

We also went over the types of behaviours I could/could not accept and why. Most of my “could not” accepts were based on known behaviours that could affect my own children. She was happy to see I had some “could not” accepts as she said some people say they will accept anything, but that usually isn’t truly the case. She let me know being open at this stage is good, but also being honest and sharing things you are hesitant about is what the workers like to hear.

Some of the items on the checklist included special/higher needs and whether I would be willing to accept. My response was not a yes, no or maybe, but more of an explanation. I am willing to take a wide variety of children, but I require:

  • information on the needs and history (as much as they know at the time)
  • further knowledge/education/training available for me, if needed
  • expected amount of appointments that could affect my work since I work full time outside of the home

For most of the items on the list I told her it would really depend on the case. I can’t say a Yes or No for a lot, because each case will be so different. If it is a medical need such as diabetes, I am open to that. If it is a child with FASD, I am also open to that as well, but require more training as I have no experience with it and need more information specific to the child (behaviours, etc.).

She let me know about some training that is available once I am approved, which is great! I intend to take a few courses through CAS about different behaviours and ways to work with children with different needs. Also, she let me know that any courses I have taken in the past three years that relate to parenting I can submit to my worker to put in my file. If I take courses approved (relevant to parenting) it will give me “credits.” Having more training will result in being a more specialized foster parent (higher number of credits), which also entitles me to a higher daily rate. So far I have taken two online courses through the Foster Parent Society of Ontario¬†(Life Books and Safeguarding Your Family) and also attended Mindfulness seminars.

From that she asked if I would be willing to learn special skills such as ASL (sign language). This is something that is very interesting to me, I would love to learn a new language such as ASL, so I am going to look into it. My only concern is the time commitment to learn special skills such as ASL and the fact I am not in a city (so to attend classes, it takes more time to account for travel into the city and takes away time from the kids/requires babysitting arrangements).

Personal Interview

The main questions she asked in this appointment were about my relationships with my family and my ex-husband and about my past. I have a pretty boring, “normal” history and a close relationship with my parents¬†so it went pretty quickly. I also had to list all of my jobs I’ve had since college. I basically just read her my LinkedIn profile since she needed the company name and time frame for each position I have held. She also asked if I had ever been fired from a job (I haven’t, and it seems kind of odd to ask, but I guess going into why a person may have been fired from a job could tell them more about a person).

Some of the personal questions she asked me were:

  • What is your relationship like with your parents now? How often do you see them?
  • What is your relationship like with your siblings now? How often do you see them?
  • What was your relationship with your parents growing up?
  • How did your parents discipline you as a child?
  • Did you suffer any abuse (physical, emotional)?
  • How is your relationship with your ex-husband now?
  • Why did you split from your husband?
  • How often do your children see their father?
  • Will their father be involved with the foster children at all?
  • Do you foresee any problems with the children not wanting to go see their father if the foster child stays with you while they go there?

That isn’t the complete list, but some other questions spawned off of the above questions. Those are the main ones I remember.

What Comes Next?

My next appointment is in about a week and a half. In that appointment we will be going over the items outstanding from the first Home Study SAFE Assessment (such as checking to be sure I mounted my TV on the wall, and that my water heater is turned down) and then doing an interview about my parenting style.

My worker explained it takes up to two months for some approvals because the Workers take notes during the appointments, usually by hand, then they have to rewrite them in electronic form for their supervisor and the applicants to review. The time it takes to enter all of her notes into the electronic document takes the most time. Now though, she is trying out using her laptop during the interviews to speed up the process. It makes complete sense to me, so I was on board. It was her first time trying out her new method and she was a bit worried it would make it more impersonal or distracting but I think it worked fine. Hopefully that means a faster approval once my last appointment is finished.

Next steps:

  • April 21, 2016 – Final Home Study Appointment
  • Home Study Worker writes up all information from all three visits
  • Copy of Home Study report is sent to me to review before being finalized
  • Once the report is finalized, her supervisor will do a final review
  • Final approval is received¬†from her supervisor

Best case scenario: May approval
More realistic scenario: June approval since they are so busy with Home Studies right now


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Revised Checklist – Home Study Review from Worker

Revised Home Study SAFE Assessment Inspection foster parenting adoption application

Today I received the list of items to review from my home study worker based on last week’s SAFE Assessment (home inspection).

The green highlighted sections are things from the checklist that were found to need fix ups or double checking. The purple wasn’t on the SAFE Assessment checklist, but are things I plan to complete before our March 2 appointment.

Home Study 2 checklist - from Home Study 1 list - foster adoption home inspection

Items to review (detail):

  • TV – I forgot about my TV in my last post! It is a flat panel TV and not mounted to the wall. It is against the wall, but needs to be anchored to something (either the wall of the furniture it is on)
  • Water Temperature – As mentioned in my last post my water was 2 degrees too hot when it was ran to its hottest temperature. I thought it ¬†had been on the lowest setting, but it isn’t, so I have to find out how to lower it¬†
  • Door locks
    • my patio door handle doesn’t lock well right now, so I need to get a new lock or handle¬†for it (my wonderful son decided to lock his sister out one day and broke part of the handle where it locks)
    • the garage and basement both need to be locked at all times since they are only used for storage
  • Blinds – the cords for the blinds were out of reach¬†but I need to pull the cords down and make sure there aren’t loops. We didn’t pull them down at this appointment, she liked that they were out of reach, but I need to check the loop thing since it specifically says that on the list. Also, in the laundry room I had the cord wrapped in a cord holder along the side of the window, but an older child would be able to unwind it, so I have to move it higher.
  • Cleaning Supplies – the cleaning closet I had mentioned in my last post; the supplies are in a closet in my laundry room (on a shelf about the height of my shoulders) but they need to be moved higher to be sure an older child can’t reach them. I am just going to add a lock to the closet door so I can use the whole closet and not be limited in my space for supplies¬†
    • This item I think depends on the worker as well… I talked to people I had training with and some had the supplies at the same height as me and they were fine (or their worker didn’t even check if they were in a closet and not out in the open – as long as they weren’t under your sink)
  • She didn’t include the vitamins in her email of items, but I have to remember to lock the vitamins away as well in the medicine lock box (they were in the cupboard beside the lock box, inaccessible to children, just not locked up)
  • General organizing of my storage spaces is on my Spring to do list – I might also tackle more basement renos to make it more of a usable space.

Other items on the list – that either don’t apply or I can’t complete right now:

  • Trampoline netting once put back up – I can’t complete this until Spring when we get the trampoline back up. She just noted it to be sure I remember the netting is necessary (probably won’t be put back up until April due to snow)
  • If the gas fireplace in the basement gets used in the future the guard and screening requirements need to be checked. She didn’t look at it since it isn’t used, but noted it in case I finish the basement and start using it.

I am a ¬†bit disappointed about the number of items that are listed, but at the same time, some things I could not have known she would wanted like locking the basement and garage doors at all times since they are only used for storage and the cleaning supplies I thought were at a good height. The vitamins were just an oversight on my part from that morning after giving my kids their vitamins (and she didn’t include that on the official list). The cords I hadn’t worried about since they were out of reach (and out of site).

So now I just have those items to look at and wait for our next interview on March 2 (which isn’t a Home Assessment or Inspection, it is just a personal interview session).

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Home Study #1 (Home SAFE Assessment)

Home Study 1  Foster Adoption Process Home inspection

On Friday I had my first Home Study appointment. This is the second time a worker has been in my home; the first was to meet me, give me an application package and provide information about PRIDE training way back in May.  There will be two more visits for me in this Assessment Phase.

The week of the Home Study there was a lot going on: the kids had a snow day, then my son had the flu for a few days, I had to go to the vet to pick up proof of vaccination certificates for both my pets¬†and the police station to pick up the copy of my police check (both of which are in a neighbouring town) and finish my To Do list for the Home Study. Oh yes, and I had to plan my daughter’s 10th birthday party (which had only one child RSVP by the RSVP date, so I switched it to a sleepover only to have 2 more kids RSVP after the deadline).

Even with such a crazy week I was still excited for my Home Study. It was booked for Friday because that was a PA Day for my children. As part of this appointment the children were interviewed in private with the worker so it had to be booked for a PA Day. I had thought about rescheduling when my son got the flu, but luckily he was good by Friday so we went ahead with it, which was a relief! If we had to reschedule it would have been pushed back to the second week of March during their March Break!

What happened in my Home Study?

When my worker came in the children gave her a tour of the house. Once that was finished she asked if I wanted to start with the Home Inspection or the paperwork. I decided to get the Home Inspection over with since that was the most stressful.

We went room by room and she looked around and noted things as we went. In certain rooms I pointed out where things on the list were (for example, in the kitchen I showed her which cupboard the fire extinguisher was in), other than that she just looked around.

The Home Inspection (SAFE Assessment Checklist)

In the bedrooms she checked that the windows had screens and cords to the blinds were out of reach and did not have loops in them. ¬†In my room I have a desktop computer (for lack of a better spot around the house for it) and I noted that my room is off limits for the kids, it is my space and is not played in. She noted the foster children would not be able to use the desktop in my computer since it needs to be in plain view, but I told her we have a laptop for use in the living room for the kids and the desktop is mainly for me, so that wasn’t an issue. Plus, with my room being off limits they wouldn’t be in there anyway.

In the main bathroom she looked then filled a cup with hot water and tested the temperature with a thermometer. I had turned the water heater down to what I thought was the lowest setting, but the water was 2 degrees too hot, so that is one item on my list to have fixed by the last meeting.

Our second bathroom isn’t used. It could be, but it is at the back of the house through the laundry room and is a tiny powder room, so we just don’t use it. She had a look at it quick and noted that we didn’t use it in her notes. That bathroom may be a future Pinterest project to get rid of the purple sink.. but for now… it stays unused.

In the kitchen she had a look around and then I showed her that the fire extinguisher was in one of the bottom cupboards. I wasn’t sure if she would check my fridge for anything, so I made sure to clean it, but she didn’t look in it. Medicines are also kept in my kitchen in a top cupboard inaccessible to the kids. I showed her my lock box for medications but I didn’t have the vitamins in the lock box at the time, so she noted that (oops!).

In my laundry room she had a look around and noted where my cleaning supplies were. They are in a closet in the laundry room. She would like to see the cleaning supplies in the closet moved up to a higher shelf to make them more inaccessible to school aged children. I may add a barrel bolt near the top of the closet to make it so kids can’t open it. It does not have to be locked and she said it was fine if I just move the cleaning supplies up a level, but the barrel bolt would help make the whole closet inaccessible to children so I can use all of the shelves in the closet. I don’t want to squish them all up high and then have trouble getting to them myself. Also, my Tide Pods were on a shelf above the washer, but weren’t inaccessible enough to older children, so I have moved them into the cleaning closet.

The garage is used as storage and is attached to the house so she had a quick look out there and wanted to know if there were any chemicals, pesticides, etc. stored in there. There isn’t. She looked at the lock on the door to see if I could lock it so the children could not go in there since it was just storage, but it locks from inside the house with a deadbolt (with a thumbturn, not a key) so she left it. There isn’t a man door in my garage going to outside, just the main big door, so I think that helped. She just mentioned to be sure for storage that nothing piles up that could fall over.

My basement is an unfinished mess and also used as storage. It was actually kind of embarrassing having her look around it since that was one item on my list that did not get done (the week of the appointment I had planned on organizing down there, but it didn’t happen). ¬†I am planning at some point to make a bonus room down there for the kids and have started to move things down there, but right now I am far from finishing it! ¬†She looked at my furnace room to be sure nothing was crowding the furnace and then looked in each room down there. Since it isn’t used and is off limits to the children right now she asked me to add a lock to the basement door to restrict access.

My backyard is pretty bare this time of year but we do use a trampoline in the summer and we have a storage shed. Once the trampoline is back up in the spring I just need to be sure it has the netting up (which we usually do since the dog likes to jump on it if the netting isn’t there). She noted what was stored in the shed and asked about chemicals and pesticides again and asked if it was lockable.

All in all I think it went pretty well. She is sending me the list of items to be reviewed at the last Home Study appointment. From what I remember it is just the vitamins being locked away, a lock for my basement door, the water temperature and my cleaning supply closet.

Interviews with my Children

I wish I had more information to share about this, but really all I can say is that the kids took turns and had a private conversation with the worker. They went into their bedroom and I stayed in the kitchen. So unfortunately, I didn’t overhear any thing. From what the kids talked about after, I know she asked why they wanted to foster and what age/sex of the child they were hoping for. I know my daughter showed pictures of her father, but I am not sure if she asked the children anything about their father or that was just my daughter being super chatty (probably just being super chatty and showing the worker everything in her room).

The Paperwork

Once the home inspection and interviews with the children were complete we sat down to go over the paperwork side of things.

  • She went over the check list and reviewed it quick again to be sure we covered everything it had listed
  • I had to show two pieces of ID, one with a photo. She noted down the numbers. I also gave her a photocopy of them for my file.
  • I handed in my Police check (Vulnerable Sector check) and my Medical Report. I also handed in the receipts. CAS will cover the cost of the Police check¬†($25 for me) and anything above $25 for the medical report. My medical report cost $40, so I will be reimbursed $15 for it
  • I gave her copies of proof of vaccinations from the vet to show both my dog and my cat were fully vaccinated. Even though my cat is strictly an indoor cat, this was still necessary
  • I had to hand in my home work from my PRIDE training. We had homework sheets from each session to complete
  • I have to give the name(s) of who I would have as a babysitter when needed for the foster children. The person (or people) I pick will need to get a Police Check done and my worker will speak with them. I am going to have my Mom and Dad apply for this since they live next door and my children go there before/after school right now.

My worker also asked me why I wanted to foster and if I had any exposure to foster care before this. Other than that it was pretty much just going over the documents to be sure I had everything.

What comes next?

Now I wait until March 2 for my Home Study #2. Due to the waiting list of people and my home study worker going on vacation for two weeks the next available appointment was March 2. It gives me lots of time to finish up things on the list and also get some other items on my own to do list done, it just sucks having to wait that long!

The next appointment is to go over employment history, family history and to learn more about me as a person. She will also go over the Policies and have me sign saying we reviewed them. This was supposed to be part of Home Study #1 but they just added a policy about safe sleeping, so we are doing it all at once so I can review the new policy that was added. (I am sure there is more, but that was the quick summary given to me by my worker). We will also touch a bit on my ex-husband and the divorce as well as his access and involvement with the children – this will also be covered in part in Home Study #3.

The third and final appointment will be about a week after the second and will be to go over my parenting style, ways of disciplining and also go over the items from the first home study to be sure everything is complete.

Some workers have the second and third assessments at the Agency, but my worker likes to have them in our homes for all of them. Also, I think because I am an hour away from the Agency and she does a lot of the out of town applicants, it is easier to complete all of the assessments in the home.

Once the third home study is completed she submits everything to her supervisor and that is who will officially approve me to become a foster parent!

I am hoping by the end of March I am approved, but I am not sure what the timeline is from the last appointment on. My worker says it depends on what the needs are at the time. For example, if they need more adoptive families then I would be pushed back since I am only fostering (not with view-to-adopt). Also, it could be based on the ages of children they are looking for homes for. She feels I won’t have to wait too long since I am looking for school aged children and have the potential to take a sibling group (if they are male/female siblings).

One thing I learned that I hadn’t known: they only place school aged children with full time working parents. It make sense to me and my age range is school aged, but no one had ever mentioned that before.

Also, I learned that my Mom could be approved as a babysitter for the children and receive $5/hour for one child or $7/hour for two children if she looks after them before and after school (my children currently go to her house before/after school).


 

I think that is about all for the first appointment. It was a full two hours long and wasn’t too bad.

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What a Week!

Tomorrow is my Home Study (Safe Assessment) and I have so much to do!  Our house was hit with the flu this week, just to make things interesting! It was already stressful with numerous appointments (some of which had to be cancelled due to the flu) and Birthday party planning on top of the home study prep, so it has turned out to be a very long week for me!

I have a long list of items I want to finish before tomorrow as well as start to pick up some items for my daughter’s birthday party (which is on Saturday). I haven’t even been able to sneak to the city to buy her birthday presents yet (or decide what to get her)!

Monday I will be sure to post the recap of my home study… until then, wish me luck!


 

My Journey to Become a Foster Parent: Training Session Eight (Planning for Change)

Becoming a Foster Parent - Training Session 8 - Planning for Change (foster adopt blog)

This week we talked about “Planning for Change.” We focused on ways to provide a healing, nurturing home environment as well as questions to ask before accepting a placement and the process a placement comes into your home. Below are some of my notes from this session.

Characteristics of a Healing, Nurturing Home

In groups we brainstormed ideas and then discussed as a class. In our training binders there was also a list for reference. Some items included:

KITCHEN

  • Assigned chairs (kids pick which chair is theirs)
  • Baking and Cooking together
  • Discussions at a family dinner (at dining table)
  • Prepare snacks together

BATHROOM

  • Door closed for privacy (unless child was abused in bathroom and does not feel comfortable with this, also depends on the age of the child if they require assistance)
  • Only one person in the bathroom at once (again, unless the child requires help in the bathroom)
  • Children assured no one enters the bathroom while they are in there unless they request help from a parent

CHILD’S BEDROOM

  • Child has own bed and told it is only for them; house rule that no one is allowed in your bed
  • Family rule requires knocking before entering bedrooms
  • Child has own space for clothing and personal items
  • Child has a night light, if desired

PARENT(S) BEDROOM

  • Family rule requires knocking before entering
  • Parent’s room is not for playing in
  • Parents to wear robes when outside the bedroom

Working as a Team to Prevent Abuse Allegations

An item that stemmed from the above conversation was also setting those boundaries and rules as a way to help prevent allegations against you as the Foster Parent. By being sure you are providing a safe, healing, nurturing home, the allegations are less likely to happen against you by the child.

One main point that was made was making sure communication is flowing constantly between you, your worker and the birth parents in the way that is agreed upon. Make sure you document things like the child falling down and hurting themselves so you can look back and see what happened if a claim came that you caused a bruise, cut, etc.

A Communication Book/Log is a great tool for this with birth family. Keep a communication book with things the child did and then it can be passed along to the birth family to read through and they can even write things back that they want you or the child(ren) to read.

WHY ARE FALSE ALLEGATIONS MADE?

  • Misinterpreted actions
  • Child’s repressed memories may surface
  • Child or birth parent has a grudge
  • Attention seeking behaviour
  • Mental health

Preparing to Welcome a Child in Your Home

MAKING AN INFORMED DECISION

Ask questions! When a call comes in from your worker to talk about a potential placement, be sure to ask lots of questions. This was something the trainers wanted to be sure we thought about more. The emotions and excitement may be high when the call comes in, especially for the first call we receive.

Things to ask (although, some information about the child may not be available. There may actually be very little information available, but ask to be sure)

  • Nature of known abuse
  • When and where the abuse occurred
  • Issues of neglect
  • Prior placements (first placement?)
  • Siblings?
  • Legal status
  • School information including grades, attendance, plan
  • Cultural information
  • Visitation plans
  • Favourite foods
  • Activities / Sports involved in (or interested in)
  • Need for clothing, specific items
  • Daily routine
  • Their general¬†physical¬†condition
  • Specific health issues
  • Medications (on or allergic to any)
  • Recommendations at this time (as a result of initial assessments)
  • Potential health problems (genetics, prenatal environment)
  • Emotional health / overall functioning
  • Mental health diagnoses, recommendations and medications
  • Coping style
  • Behavioural challenges/effective discipline strategies
  • Therapy, counseling and/or other services in which they participate or may require
  • Developmental advances or delays
  • Sexual development (level and knowledge)

I am sure there are more questions that come to mind as you are thinking about it, those are just the items we brainstormed in class.

RESOURCE PLACEMENT PROCESS

  • Planned placements
    • advanced notice
    • preplacement plan/meetings
    • opportunity to gather information
    • chance to carefully consider your decision
  • Unplanned/Emergency Placements
    • Often little notice, sometimes middle of the night
    • Be prepared to ask critical questions, gather other information once placed
    • Short term (typically 2 weeks until Plan made)

ADOPTION PLACEMENT PROCESS

  • Carefully planned process
  • Matching for permanency with your family (more specific matching)
  • Upon completion of SAFE assessment (home studies) and must be recommended for approval by private adoption practitioner or approved by a child welfare agency to become “Ready for Placement”

For both Placement Processes there is no set timing for how long it takes. It depends on the type of child and history you have accepted for potential placements. The wider range of ethnic and health backgrounds typically results in more calls with potential placements. If you have a narrow list of children you are able to accept, it may take longer.


 

Although this session talked a lot about Adoption, I found it very useful and thought provoking. I plan to make a list of questions to have handy for when I get a call. I am sure once I get a call my mind will go blank, so if I keep a form handy then I won’t forget to ask important questions before accepting placements.

One of the questions I had for our trainers that they weren’t able to answer was about my bio children and their role in the placement process. They told me at the Panel Night (Session Nine) there are Foster Parents, children who have been in care and there may be children who were bio children of the Foster Parents as well so I can find out more about their views. What would they like to know before accepting a placement? What helps their transition to having a new child in the house? Those are some more questions I hope to learn about soon.

My last session is not until December 1, but I have now completed the book training for the course! The last night is a pot luck dinner with a Panel of parents and children to go over their experiences and answer our questions.

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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!

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