Become a foster parent: Start here

Every successful individual knows that his or her achievement depends on a community of persons working together.

In Kansas, there are over 7,600 children placed into out of home care.  There are approximately 2,000 foster homes in Kansas.  This disparity means that children from your community are being placed outside of their home community, or in shelters.

Children who are placed outside their home community in one day lose their parents, family, school friends, teachers, coaches, and sense of connection to their community.  They frequently miss school so they can have visits, or they don’t see family because they need to be in school.  This sense of loss is compounded when they cannot be placed with their brothers and sisters due to no one having enough room.

Foster parents are needed to take children of all ages.  The average age of a child needing placed in Kansas is 9.3 years old.  4% are less than 1 year, 30% are 1 to 5, 20% are 6 to 10, 24% are 11-15, and 21% are 16-18.  Less than 1% are 19 years and above.  63% of children in out of home care are white, 21% are black, 14% are Hispanic, 1% Native American, and .5% Asian.

Foster parents who are willing to take sibling sets of both genders and 6-18 are the biggest need in Kansas traditionally.
In Nebraska, there are over 4,000 children placed into out of home care.  There are approximately 3,000 foster homes in Nebraska.  This disparity means that children from your community are being placed outside of their home community, or in shelters.

Children who are placed outside their home community in one day lose their parents, family, school friends, teachers, coaches, and sense of connection to their community.  They frequently miss school so they can have visits, or they don’t see family because they need to be in school.  This sense of loss is compounded when they cannot be placed with their brothers and sisters due to no one having enough room.

Foster parents are needed to take children of all ages.  The average age of a child needing placed in Nebraska is 9.3 years old.  31.5% are 0 to 4, 24.3%% are 5 to 9, 24.7 are 10-14, and 23.5% are 15-18.  54.9% of children in out of home care are white, 18.4% are black, 9.7% are Hispanic, 5.9% American Indian/Alaskan Native, 10.4% are biracial, and .7% Asian, Native Hawaiian, and Other Pacific Islander.

Foster parents who are willing to take sibling sets of both genders and 6-18 are the biggest need in Nebraska traditionally.

An important role for foster care parents is to work with (a concept known as “bridging”) the child’s birth family towards the goal of reunification, and if that goal fails, to commit to raise/parenting the child.

The foster parent helps children to maintain permanent connections with their birth family, while acting as a mentor for that family.  Foster care is a service provided to the child’s entire family.  Foster families come from the same community as the child, are willing to accept and agree to visitation and other types of contact with siblings, relatives, and other important people in the child’s life.

Bridging with the family helps children to achieve permanence more quickly while enabling them to maintain connections with those who are important in their lives.  This ability to maintain connections, and achieve permanence more quickly reduces the level of trauma children in out of home care experience.

As a foster family, you may be asked to:

  1. Provide temporary care, love, and nurturance to children while serving as a mentor to their parent. This could include actively helping the parent improve on their parenting abilities.  The foster parent assists in helping the children transition home, to a legal guardianship, or adoption by another family, while maintaining the children’s connections to their kin, culture and community.
  2. Serve as the legal guardian for children while maintaining the children’s connection to kin, culture, and community.
  3. Adopt the children while maintaining the children’s connection to kin, culture and community.

Foster Parents Contact with the Birth Family

DHS will determine through assessment what level of contact the child should have with the birth family.  Every effort is made to ensure that contact between the child’s birth family and the child and foster parents is safe and positive.   When possible, foster parents are encouraged to supervise visitation with the children, assist with transportation around visitation, and model appropriate behavior for the birth parents.  This may mean allowing the child to use the phone to talk to their parent, while the foster parent listens in, or spending time with the child and their parents at a local park.  When appropriate, some foster parents have allowed the parents to come into their home, and help them with bedtime routines.  Foster parents do have input into what level of contact they are comfortable with, and are encouraged to share any concerns they have regarding this contact with their TFI worker and the DHS worker.

There are a number of different “types” of foster parents in Kansas.  This includes:

  • Family Foster Parents

Family Foster Care, also referred to as Satellite care, is the basic level of care a child needs. Generally, children requiring this level of care have behavioral and physical needs considered typical of most children.  Children and youth in Family Foster Care may need additional emotional support, counseling, or special education.

  • Specialized Foster Care

Specialized foster care is provided to children who have some emotional and physical needs.  The needs of children requiring specialized care can include but is not limited to special education services, need for community-based mental health services, and incidents of serious or continuous adjustment.   Services to specialized foster homes are monitored through in-person visitation with the child and family in the home.  Foster Care Workers will provide twice monthly in-home visits.  If the placement is stable after 180 days, the Foster Care Worker will see the child once monthly.

  • Treatment Foster Parents

Treatment Foster Care is provided to children who require a higher level of care to meet safety and well-being needs.  They will often have social, emotional, behavioral and/or educational needs beyond that of lower levels of care.  The number and frequency of worker-child and worker- foster parent visits are increased to a minimum of two visits per month with weekly phone contacts in between visits.

  • Intensive or Intensive Plus Foster Parents

Intensive Treatment Foster Care is a behavior management service for children placed in foster care to address mental health, behavioral health, and/or substance abuse treatment needs on an individualized, child-specific basis.  The intent is to improve the mental health status, emotional, and social adjustment of children who require medically necessary therapy services or out-of-home Intensive Treatment placement.

  • Adoption Foster Parents

Adoptive Foster parents work only with children whose goal is adoption with the purpose of adopting the children placed into their home.

  • Kinship Foster Parents

Kinship Foster parents have a relationship already established with a child or sibling group of children in DCF custody.  They become approved for that specific child/children.  Kinship parents who are willing to care for additional children may become licensed as Traditional Foster Parents.

There are a number of different “types” of foster parents in Nebraska.  This includes:

  • Essential Foster Parents

Essential Foster Care is the basic level of care a child needs. Generally, children requiring this level of care have behavioral and physical needs considered typical of most children.  Children and youth in Family Foster Care may need additional emotional support, counseling, or special education.

  • Enhanced Foster Care

Enhanced foster care is provided to children who have some emotional and physical needs.  The needs for children requiring enhanced care can include but is not limited to special education services, need for community-based mental health services, and incidents of serious or continuous adjustment. Services to enhanced foster homes are monitored through in-person visitation with the child and family in the home.  Foster Care Workers will provide visits to the home tailored to the child and family needs.

  • Intensive Foster Parents

Intensive Foster Care is a behavior management service for children placed in foster care to address mental health, behavioral health, and/or substance abuse treatment needs on an individualized, child-specific basis.  The intent is to improve the mental health status, emotional, and social adjustment of children who require therapy services or out-of-home Intensive placement.

  • Adoption Foster Parents

Adoptive Foster parents work only with children whose goal is adoption with the purpose of adopting the children placed into their home.

  • Kinship Foster Parents

Kinship Foster parents have a relationship already established with a child or sibling group of children in DHHS custody.  They become approved for those specific child/children.  Kinship parents who are willing to care for additional children may become licensed as Traditional Foster Parents.

  • must have the ability to love, understand, care for and accept a child to whom they did not give birth
  • must be at least 21 years of age
  • may be married, single, legally separated, divorced, or domestic partnership
  • must be in good physical and mental health to provide for the needs of the child
  • must  have sufficient income to meet current expenses
  • must be able to provide sufficient beds and bedrooms for  additional children
  • must submit KBI and CANIS checks
  • Applicants and each household member, 18 years of age or older, submits fingerprints for a state and national criminal history records search
  • must ensure that no household member has a prior conviction of any sexual offense
  • must have a working vehicle and a telephone (this can be a cell phone)
  • must be a legal resident
  • must attend 30 hours of Model Approach to Partnership in Parenting or 21 hours of Deciding Together training

What is a foster family?

DCF sometimes uses this phrase to refer to foster parents, or individuals who are willing to care for children through foster care, legal guardianship or adoption.

What is a foster home?

A foster home is a temporary home for children needing out of home care due to abuse or neglect. Foster families provide a safe and nurturing home and are committed to working with birth families to reunite children with parents.  In the event that a child does not return home, foster families may become the permanent caregiver for the child either through adoption or permanent guardianship.

What is adoption?

Adoption is the permanent placement option for children who have been in foster care who cannot return to their parents’ home. Children are legally free for adoption only after the court has terminated the parental rights of the birth parents.

Who are the children in Kansas DCF care, in foster care or awaiting adoption?

Children in Kansas state care range in age from 0 to 21 and frequently are part of a sibling group that must remain together. Some of these children have physical, mental or emotional disabilities ranging from mild to severe. The average age of a child in Kansas Foster Care is 9.3 years old.

Do I have to be married to be a foster parent?

You do not have to be married. Applicants may be married, single, legally separated, divorced, or in a domestic partnership.

Do I have to own my own home?

Foster parents do not have to own a home. In fact, many foster parents rent their place of residence. Foster families must have a stable and verifiable income.

What are the costs of becoming a foster care parent?

The training and licensure is provided at no charge. There are costs incurred in obtaining a physical. There may be upfront costs in ensuring that your home meets licensing standards by DCF.  In certain cases, TFI may be able to assist with some costs.

Do I have a choice in which children are placed into my home?

Families have the opportunity to determine their preference when making a decision regarding placement. TFI will tell you everything we know about a child when we contact you about making placement.  You may decline accepting placement of the child.  TFI is child focused and our goal is to find families who will meet the needs of the children in DCF custody.

What type of support services are provided after a child is placed in my home?

TFI provides a number of supports to ensure you have success with the children in your home.  Some of the ways that we may support you include regular contact with agency staff, respite (as appropriate), ongoing training, support groups, assistance in locating child care for foster children, home visits, team meetings, phone consultation, and a formal process for sharing your concerns.

How do we get paid the financial reimbursement, and who does it come from?

Foster parents are paid by TFI, and the payment is made on a monthly basis via direct deposit to your checking or savings account.

What are the monthly reimbursement rates for Family foster care?

The daily and monthly rates begin at the below rates.  The daily rate may be increased if the child meets specific criteria identified by the contracting agency.

Child’s age

0-18

Daily rate

$20.00

Monthly rate

$360.00

What are the age requirements to become a foster parent?

The minimum age is 21.  Regulations stipulate that the age of the foster parent and the oldest child be more than 5 years difference.

What are the training requirements for becoming a foster parent?

  1. Must complete 30 hours of TIPS-MAPP Training (Trauma Informed Partnering for Safety and permanence Model Approach to Partnership in Parenting), or 21 hours of TIPS-DT Training (Trauma Informed Partnering for Safety and permanence Deciding Together)
  2. Applicants must complete 3 hours of First Aid Training (must be in person training)
  3. Applicants must complete Medication Administration and Universal precautions prior to licensure and renew each year.
  4. All foster parents must complete a minimum 8 hours of continuing in-service training per calendar year on subjects that promote their skills and interests as providers.

What is an Intensive/Intensive Plus foster home?

Intensive or Intensive Plus foster homes work with children with special behavioral needs through behavioral modification techniques in their home.  The behaviors are such that the child cannot safely stay in a family foster home.  Intensive or Intensive Plus foster homes require additional intensive training than traditional foster homes.  There must be at least one trained parent available to the child 24 hours a day.  Intensive Plus homes have the same requirements with the exception of an in home family therapist component.  This service must be in place to be considered an Intensive Plus Foster Home.

What is a foster family?

Individuals who become licensed to provide in-home care to a child or children placed in the custody of the state. This can include kinship and adoptive placements as well.

What is a foster home?

A foster home is a temporary home for children needing out of home care due to abuse or neglect. Foster families provide a safe and nurturing home and are committed to working with birth families to reunite children with parents. In the event that a child does not return home, foster families may become the permanent caregiver for the child either through adoption or permanent guardianship.

What is adoption?

Adoption is the permanent placement option for children who have been in foster care who cannot return to their parents’ home. Children are legally free for adoption only after the court has terminated the parental rights of the birth parents.

Who are the children in Nebraska DHHS care, in foster care or awaiting adoption?

Children in Nebraska state care range in age from 0 to 19 and frequently are part of a sibling group that must remain together. Some of these children have physical, mental or emotional disabilities ranging from mild to severe.

Do I have to be married to be a foster parent?

You do not have to be married. Applicants may be married, single, divorced, or in a domestic partnership.

Do I have to own my own home?

Foster parents do not have to own a home. In fact, many foster parents rent their place of residence. Foster families must have a stable and verifiable income.

What are the costs of becoming a foster care parent?

The training and licensure is provided at no charge. There can be costs incurred in obtaining a physical. There may be upfront costs in ensuring that your home meets licensing standards by DHHS. In certain cases, TFI may be able to assist with some costs.

Do I have a choice in which children are placed into my home?

Families have the opportunity to determine their preference when making a decision regarding placement. TFI will tell you everything we know about a child when we contact you about making placement. You may decline accepting placement of the child.  TFI is child focused and our goal is to find families who will meet the needs of the children in DHHS custody.

What type of support services are provided after a child is placed in my home?

TFI provides a number of supports to ensure you have success with the children in your home.  Some of the ways that we may support you include regular contact with agency staff, respite (as appropriate), ongoing training, assistance in locating child care for foster children, home visits, phone consultation, and a formal process for sharing your concerns.

How do we get paid the financial reimbursement, and who does it come from?

Foster parents are paid by TFI, and the payment is made on a monthly basis via direct deposit to your checking or savings account.

What are the monthly reimbursement rates for Family foster care?

The daily and monthly rates begin at the below rates.  The daily rate may be increased if the child meets specific criteria identified by the contracting agency.

 

Child’s age

0-18

Daily rate

$20.00

Monthly rate

$360.00

What are the age requirements to become a foster parent?

The minimum age is 21.

What are the training requirements for becoming a foster parent?

  1. Must complete 30 hours of MAPP Training (Model Approach to Partnership in Parenting).
  2. Applicants must have 3 hours of First Aid Training (must be in person training)
  3. Applicants must complete Medication Administration and Universal precautions prior to licensure and renew every two years.
  4. All foster parents must complete a minimum 12 hours of continuing in-service training per licensing year on subjects that promote their skills and interests as providers.

What is an Intensive foster home?

Intensive foster homes work with children with special behavioral needs through behavioral modification techniques in their home. Intensive foster homes require additional intensive training in order to handle the higher needs of children placed at this level of care.