Virginia Foster Care FAQ
UMFS knows that becoming a foster parent is hard and rewarding work. We provide unparalleled training and support for foster parents so you feel confident and ready to impact the life of a child or teenager. Foster parent services include:
24/7 on-call support | Up to 10 paid respite dates | Mentoring | Support groups
FAQs For Foster Care In Virginia
Over the years, we’ve received a lot of questions from people interested in becoming foster parents. The following list is a compilation of the most commonly asked questions with answers from our team.
If you have additional questions that aren’t answered below, please read our other resources or contact us to learn more about foster care.
Who are the children I would foster?
The children in foster care come from a diverse variety of cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds. They are frequently part of a sibling group, and many (30% in Virginia) are teens.
Can I adopt a child or teen through the foster system?
Yes. In Virginia, 60% of foster children are adopted by their foster parents.
How long does it take to become certified as a foster parent?
The time it takes to become a foster parent varies, but the certification process generally takes three to six months.
I’m single. Am I still able to be a foster parent?
Yes. More than 100,000 single persons across the nation are foster parents. Furthermore, Virginia has no gender, cultural, marital status, educational, or homeownership requirements to become a foster parent.
Do I need to be able to hold a job?
You must have a steady income that provides for your household needs and financial obligations to foster a child in the state of Virginia.
How many foster children will I have?
Generally, one child or teen, or one sibling group will be placed in your home.
Once a child or teen is placed with me, how long will they stay?
The length of time a child or teen spends in care varies. A foster care placement can last for less than a year or up to three years or longer.
Will I have to meet or interact with the child or teen’s birth parents?
As a foster parent, you may have to arrange and attend meetings with a child or teen’s birth family. You might also be expected to participate in activities that support your foster child’s reunification with their birth parents.
What happens when the child or teen returns home?
When the child or teen returns home, foster parents should be open to maintaining contact while also preparing for their next placement.
What happens when the child or teen is unable to return home?
When a child or teen is unable to return home, a plan is developed to provide permanency for them. The children could become eligible for adoption if they are unable to be placed with a relative.
What support is available for foster parents?
Some supports for foster parents are available, including:
- 24-hour on-call support
- Monthly support groups
- Educational training
- Respite care
Will a past conviction affect my eligibility to foster?
It depends on the type of conviction. There are barrier crimes that automatically disqualify people from becoming foster parents.
These crimes include, but aren’t limited to:
- An offense involving domestic violence
- Any felony that involves a victim under the age of 18
- Cruelty to animals
- Third-degree theft
How much do foster parents get paid?
Foster parents receive a tax-free monthly maintenance payment to cover the basic costs of caring for children. The payment amount varies based on the age of the child. If a child or teen’s needs require additional support, an assessment tool will be utilized to determine the rate of additional payment.
If I adopt a child or teen from foster care, will I continue to get paid?
Some families might qualify for state stipends while they are fostering a child or teen they plan to adopt through foster care. However, only certain expenses, which go toward raising and caring for foster children, are eligible under these stipends. These types of expenses can include food, toys, daycare costs, medical expenses, and clothing.
Foster families cease to be eligible for these types of stipends once a child or teen is adopted.
Foster parents can also apply for grants that go toward the cost of adoption. And when adopting through private agencies, some families can qualify for reimbursement for adoption expenses. Post-adoption, many families can also receive money from federal adoption tax credits.
Can I take a foster child or teen in my care with me on a family vacation?
Yes! Traveling with your foster child can help them feel more integrated into your family.
However, before traveling you should consider whether your vacation will overlap with any of the following:
- Court-ordered visitations
- Scheduled court appearances
- Medical appointments
- Therapy sessions
If your schedule is clear of any of these conflicts, then it should be smooth sailing—maybe literally!—for you and your foster children.
Can I adopt children from foster care even if I haven’t fostered them?
Yes. While 39% of Virginia foster children will be reunited with their birth families, children and teens whose efforts for reunification have been exhausted are eligible for adoption. Even if you have not fostered a child, you can still become their adoptive parents.
What if I still have more questions?
If you’re still looking for more information about foster care—or have a question of your own that we didn’t answer here—check out some of our other resources or contact us to learn more by clicking the button below.