Foster Care Support
With over 5,000 children currently in Virginia’s foster care system, there has never been a better time for you to consider becoming a foster parent.
Perhaps you want to extend the helping hand you’re confident you can offer, but uncertainty about support and guidance has you nervous to take the leap.
When you partner with UMFS, foster care support is available to guide you through the process, and for years into your fostering journey.
Foster Care Support for Foster Parents
Becoming a foster parent can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your lifetime, but to make it possible, you need training and support.
At UMFS, you are never alone. You have unlimited access to our expert staff, experienced network of foster parents, as well as a multitude of solutions, to help you succeed.
Fortunately, training is not difficult and it does not require too much of your time. However, there is an element of hard work that goes into opening up your heart, and home, to a foster child.
Steps to Becoming a Foster Parent
Beginning the training process is one of the first steps to becoming a foster parent.
Training provides you with all the information you need about what to expect including knowing your role as a foster parent, navigating the foster care system and understanding expectations.
There are several stages of the foster care training process.
Orientation & Assessments
Orientation and assessments give you an abundance of information about fostering. Not only does this ensure you understand the process much better, it prepares you for what to expect down the road.
This is also when it is determined whether you meet all the requirements to become a foster parent.
During this phase, the education part of the process begins.
Prospective foster parents receive 19 hours of required training. Pre-service training helps you understand the needs of children in foster care and how you can support them in your home.
Pre-service training occurs over two Saturdays and two Thursday evenings.
CPR & First Aid Training
It’s important to know how to act in emergency situations.
Although some local departments do not require foster parents to participate in this training, UMFS believes it’s best you’re ready for anything.
There are plenty of courses and training sessions for you to receive your CPR and first aid certification that work with your schedule.
Home Study & Paperwork
The home study process educates and prepares you for fostering and assesses your ability to ensure a safe and nurturing environment for a foster child to grow and flourish.
Information gathered helps the social worker match you with youth whose needs you best meet. The home study is completed by gathering a wide range of personal information, including:
- Life experiences
- Personal relationships
- Medical history
- Background checks
Ongoing Support & Guidance
In addition to these specific stages of the foster care process, there are many other support and training opportunities available to you.
For example, group meetings offer insight into the program that you won’t find anywhere else. Group meetings provide guidance and education, but they also give you real-time, real-situation support.
With UMFS, you always have access to support throughout the fostering process, including:
- 24/7 on-call support
- 10 paid respite days for each child you foster
- Monthly support groups
- Mentor assigned to work one-on-one with you
- Resource Parent Trainers (PRT) to help you from placement and beyond
Taking Next Steps to Become a Foster Parent
If you are interested in learning how to become a foster parent, we encourage you to reach out to us and learn how you can make a difference in a child’s life.