The process to become a foster parent takes three to six months and includes classroom training to assure prospective foster parents that they have a good understanding of their role in helping children in foster care.
The home also must be reviewed by fire marshals to make sure it is up to code, which sometimes leads to rearranging of rooms.
Bedrooms must have windows that an adult can easily fit through should rescue personnel need to enter the home by alternate routes. Basements also cannot be used as bedrooms.
There are several types of foster parenting.
Respite foster parenting provides a break for foster parents who may need someone for a night or a weekend.
“Some foster families don’t have someone to take the children for a night or weekend to attend a graduation ceremony, a wedding, a funeral or night alone that all parents need once in awhile,” Peter Crovo, program coordinator at Community Health and Counseling of Houlton, explained. “Respite foster parents provide that needed break.”
Family foster parenting, the most common method used to place children, involves providing a family setting for a child to heal from trauma, while helping with the reunification process with the birth parents, Crovo said.
Treatment foster parenting is a specialized type of foster parenting.
“Treatment foster parents care for children who have been more impacted by trauma and have more challenging behavioral issues,” Crovo said. “There is more support available and mental health services for the child. The treatment foster parents are a part of a professional team that meets weekly to discuss the child’s needs. There is 24-hour support available to the treatment foster parent if they need it. They also work toward reunification with the birth parents.”
Anyone interested in learning more about foster parenting can contact the statewide Community Health and Counseling online at chcs-me.org or by calling toll free 1-800-924-0366.