FAQ What is foster care?

I am going to start by saying that we do not know everything about foster care. Not even a little bit. However, we have come to the realization that foster care is a subject that many don't even know a little about, so we wanted to enlighten y'all that are interested. 

Foster care is a system in which a minor has been placed into a ward, group home, or private home of a state-certified caregiver, referred to as a "foster parent". The placement of the child is normally arranged through the government or a social service agency. (Wikipedia)

Children and youth enter foster care through no fault of their own, because they have been abused, neglected, or abandoned and are unable to continue living safely with their families

The ultimate goal with foster care is always reunification with their birth family. Always. 

We know that the system is broken, I have read and heard it many times though we don't know first hand. Yet. We know that children and families slip through the cracks. We know that reunification is not always feasible or in the best interest of the child. When this is the case, that is when the child is placed up for adoption. Many people foster to adopt. Adoption is not our family's agenda. 

Adoption from the foster care system can happen in two ways. Foster adoption or fost-adopt, is a form of adoption in which a child is placed into a home as a foster child, with the expectation that the child will become legally free and be adopted by the foster, parents. Some children are not adopted by their foster parents. Their birthparents rights have been terminated, and they are legally free for adoption. (adopt.org)

Now that you have a little information about Foster Care, let us answer a few questions that we have received....

Frequently Asked Questions

Are y'all crazy?! Don't you all have enough children? Define "enough?" We have plenty of happy, healthy and stable children. We have plenty of love and patience left, so why not extend a piece of our heart for a child in need of a warm bed, a mothers love, a fathers shoulders to ride on and a few brothers to play with?

Where are you going to put it? Well, we will put "it" aka, a child, in a their own bed in the boys room. (Bear and Ramsey's room) They will have their own dresser with 4 whole drawers that will be filled with their own clothes. Our house may seem small to some, but we feel its actually perfect for us. It forces us to live simple, not hoard and to utilize every space we have. We are a close knit family and choose to hang together, not in separate rooms in different wings of the house. We also have cleaned out the old LuLaRoe room (aka dining room) and making it into a play room. The dining room, with 6 full chairs occupies our kitchen. See? We do have somewhere to sit and eat. 

Do we get to pick age/race/sex of the child? During our Home Study, the case manager will discuss with us our preference, how many we can care for at a time (taking our biological children in consideration) and the sex of the child. In the state of Georgia, different sex can not reside in the same bedroom once one of them turns 5. So, we are thinking all boys may be best because once Ramsey turns 5 he can not room with a female and most of y'all know, we do not have room for everyone to have their own rooms. Sorry for all those "The beggs need a girl" advocates. At this time in our life, we think fostering 1 child at a time, between the age of 0-4 would be best. We will re-evaluate our situation as needed. 

Do you have to accept every placement call you get? No, we do not. Now of course, we are not at this part yet so I can only go by what I've been told... but they will call us once a placement that fits our need/description is in need of a home. We are free to accept or decline. 

Who can become foster parents? www.fostergeorgia.com
  • Must be at least ten (10) years older than the child to be placed and if single, be at least 25 years of age
  • Must complete a 2 hour orientation in the local county office or via the internet
  • Must successfully complete pre-service IMPACT Family Centered Practice training
  • Must complete a medical exam, finger print checks, as well as undergo both child welfare and criminal records checks/screenings. If you or any other adult household members (over age 18) have not been a resident of Georgia for a minimum of 5 years, you must be screened in the Child Abuse and Neglect registry of each state of prior residence
  • Must provide proof of current residence and financial stability

How do you become foster parents? (State of Georgia)

  • You call your local DFACS office and let them know you are interested. They will get you in touch with the right person with the right information. Now remember, you are dealing with the state so expect some delay and having to call back and check in. 
  • You will then attend an orientation at a DFACS office OR you can complete it online. Its pretty much general information about foster care and the different types of foster care, Respite care (Emergency short term placement) Foster care (regular/long term placement) Foster to Adopt (fostering with the intention of adopting). 
  • You will then do an array of things from meet a caseworker, get your mountain of paperwork to fill out about you (and your spouse) about you, your general information, your childhood (seriously) discipline preferences, your family. You will need to be certified in CPR, have a general medical exam to prove your physical and mental health, TB test, drug test etc. Make copies of your birth certificate, marriage license (if applicable), divorce papers (if applicable) vaccine records for you and everyone in your house, shot records for any animals, insurance cards and somewhere in there they will ask for financial papers. (To prove we can afford to take care of ourselves)
  • Complete IMPACT training. IMPACT stands for Initial Interest, Mutual Selection, Pre-Service Training, Assessment, Continuing Development and Teamwork. The curriculum focuses on the IV-B Core Competencies for Pre-Service Training; helps potential resource families to make an informed decision about their desire to resource parent, develops; enhances skills for parenting and nurturing children; and clarifies the resource parent’s role in the social service continuum.IMPACT consists of twenty (20) one-hour modules covering the following broad topic areas: The Fostering/Adopting Process; Emotional/Cognitive and Behavioral Implications in Fostering/Adopting; Sexuality and Sexual Orientation; Communication and Partnership; and Identity and Cultural Issues.  
  • Home study. This is where a DFACS worker (Caseworker or regional manager) will come into your home and stay for hourrrsssss. Seriously. They inspect your house to make sure it is deemed safe (Medications, cleaning supplies and fire arms locked up.) They make sure you have adequate space for the child(ren) and discuss with you your desired age group and disabilities/behavioral issues you are and are not willing to deal with. They sit down with the entire family and discuss your entire life and why you want to become a foster parent. They will even chat with all family members separately. They want to make sure they match you with children that will fit us best and make sure everyone is on the same page about foster care, what to expect and what is expected. 
Our family has called, met with the new district supervisor, scheduled our IMAPCT training (JUNE!) and have our HUGE binder of paperwork to fill out. We are thinking we will be approved September-ish. Depending on how long it takes you to complete your task and your caseworker to type up your info/home study, licensing usually takes around 6 months. After all that is completed, the caseworker turns it into her boss' boss and they look over it and hand it to the judge. Once its all approved, we will then become licensed foster parents. WOOHOO. Let the adventure begin. 

In all seriousness, and many of you can vouch for this because I have told you specifically... the calling to become foster parents is so overwhelming and reassuring. Overwhelming, because of the obvious reasons. Reassuring, because we know this is what we are supposed to do. This is the next adventure for our family. The only way I can explain this feeling is that I assume this is the feeling one gets when they pray about something and feel that call from God. That is my best explanation. 

Thank you for reading! Please email me with any questions regarding foster care!
~Mika Beggs