Who are the Children?
Thousands of children in North Carolina enter the foster care system each year and range in age from infants to 18 year olds. All children have unique backgrounds, experiences, personalities, strengths and needs.
Some children require care for physical or emotional handicaps and disabilities. Some require help with undisciplined and delinquent behaviors. most foster children do not have a strong sense of self-worth. Many have been victims of neglect and physical or sexual abuse.
All children who are in foster care require special care, support and nurturing.
Who Pays for the Child's Care?
Foster parents receive financial compensation from the placement agency for a child's room, board and other living expenses. Sometimes there are supplemental payments for the care of children with special needs. Medical expenses are also covered for each child.
For the adopted child, adoption subsidy benefits are offered based on the child's individual needs and eligibility. HHS charges no fees to adopt waiting children who are in HHS custody.
You may become a foster or adoptive parent if...
- You are single, married or divorced
- You are of any race, gender or ethnic origin
- You are over the age of 21 years old
- You have stable income and housing
- At least one parent in the home should not be receiving disability
- You provide proof of at least a GED or high school diploma
- You are a working parent
- Your home has no more than a total of 5 children in the home (this includes any birth, relative, foster or adopted children)
- Background checks are made with: the Department of Corrections (DOC), Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC), Sex Offender Registry, FBI & SBI fingerprint checks, and a National Medical Registry of Nurses. Personal references are still required as well.
Steps toward becoming a foster parent...
- Completion of a 30-hour preparation class. Click here for information on the next Foster & Adoptive Parent Class.
- Home study -series of interviews with a social worker to assess family history and determine eligibility
- Home visits by a social worker to ensure safety of children and assess the environmental condition of the home
- Fire inspection
- Physical examination for each family member
- TB test for each adult in the home
- Criminal background check (including fingerprints) for each household member 18 years or older
- Additional background checks that include personal reference checks
- Ongoing training annually
- Must have at least a GED or high school diploma.
- Must attend and complete First Aid & CPR training as well as Blood Bourne Pathogens training.
Steps towards becoming an adoptive parent...
In addition to the requirements and expectations to become a foster parent, adoptive parents will...
- Talk with a Gaston County social worker in a series of interviews to better understand the adoption process
- Provide social worker with proof of financial stability and income
- Work with a social worker to find the right child
- Visit and get to know the child
- Bring your child home
- Have the child for at least three to six months in the adoptive home before completing the adoption process, per North Carolina law
- Legalize the adoption
Group Training Prepares Foster & Adoptive Parents
Once you make the decision to explore the possibility of adoption or foster care, you will take part in a special series of classes known as GPS/MAPP (Group Preparation and Selection/Model Approach to Partnership in Parenting) as part of a group of prospective parents. This 30-hour training is designed to assist you in deciding whether foster parenting or adoption is the right choice for you at this time.
The GPS/MAPP training is a dynamic group experience that will help answer any questions you may have about foster care and adoption. Classes are held at various dates and times throughout the year.
What is Foster Care?
Foster care is a temporary living arrangement for abused, neglected and dependent children who need a safe place to live when parents or another relative cannot take care of them. Often their families face issues such as illness, alcohol and drug addiction, or homelessness.
When the County Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) believes a child is not safe, and a Judge agrees, HHS takes custody of that child and finds a foster home for him or her. Length of stay in foster care varies from a few days to much longer.
The foster family, HHS and the birth family work together to return children to their own homes as quickly as possible.
Foster families are recruited and trained to care for abused and neglected children. These families are licensed to care for foster children temporarily, while their parents work with social work professionals to resolve their family issues. Working as the integral part of a team helps children continue to grow and develop during a time of stress for their families.
Relatives may also be licensed as foster parents. Foster parents may be considered as adoptive parents if their foster child becomes legally cleared for adoption.
After extensive reunification efforts are made to work with birth families, adoption may become the plan for children whose parents have not corrected issues that led to the children being taken into HHS custody. Once these children are legally cleared for adoption, they can be placed in adoptive homes to provide permanence and a forever family.