Frequently Asked Questions

Answering some of our most frequently asked questions and common misconceptions about Foster Care.

When families think of foster care, they often have preconceived notions as to what it requires, who can be a foster parent, and what it costs. We thought we’d tackle some of those misconceptions head on.

Click the topics below to learn more!

Dad and son
  • Mercer County charges no application or homestudy fees to become a foster parent. The agency will reimburse the cost of background checks, home inspections and other expenses..
  • The only potential cost would be by a family doctor to fill out the medical form.
  • Foster care is designed to be a short-term placement. A child typically enters the foster care system due to a problem at home, ranging from neglect to some kind of abuse. Foster parents provide a much-needed safe haven for the child until the situation at home is resolved.
  • Note that some families choose to adopt through a foster to adopt program. However, this is not the case for many of our foster parents who simply act as temporary guardians for the children in their care.
  • The truth is, many of our foster families choose to adopt their foster children through a foster to adopt program. In fact, foster to adopt is often a more economical path for families to adopt than the traditional adoption process.
  • There are no requirements to physically own your home and we welcome and encourage renters to become foster parents whenever possible. The only requirements for your home are that it is safe, comfortable, sanitary, all working utilities including phone and provides the child with adequate space to be a part of your family during this time.
  • There are no marriage requirements to be a foster parent, whether you’ve been separated, divorced, widowed, or never married in the first place.
  • Ohio law, as well as our agency, does not discriminate against single individuals who wish to become a foster parent. In fact, some households have co-parents: unmarried couples who live together and act as co-foster parents.
  • While it might seem reasonable to foster after having your own children, the truth is fosters who have no biological children are just as helpful to kids as those fosters who have biological children.
  • Upon approval as a foster parent, our agency will place children based on various factors, including the foster parents’ length of time in operation, the capacity limits of the home, and the profile that the assessor developed of the house during the approval process.
  • Yes. There are times when taking on an additional foster child may not work for your life situation. The best fit for a foster child is going to be a home where the foster parents can provide them with a home that fits their needs. If you don’t believe it’s going to be a good fit for a particular placement, just let us know.
  • Once a potential foster parent reaches out to our agency, we’ll send them a packet of information. This covers the process and what they can expect. After completing the application process and required training, an assessor will conduct a home study along with some required paperwork. This paperwork includes the necessary background checks, medical assessments, and home inspections. The assessor will perform a few home visits and then approve or deny the household as a foster care home.
  • All applicants are required to submit a financial statement, their medical background, an autobiography, and at least three references.
  • You will work with your assessor to determine the best number of children you can foster. Many foster homes have minor biological children.
  • Foster parents are required to provide for the ongoing health care of the child.
    • This includes medical, dental, other well-child checkups, any prescribed medications, treatment team meetings, counseling and transporting child to visits with biological parents.
  • All foster children receive fully covered medical services.
  • Foster parents are also required to provide for the child’s nutritional needs, including three meals per day.
  • Finally, the foster parent will need to provide the child with safe transportation at all times.
  • Although foster placements are often based on need, there is no specific timeline as to when a foster parent should expect to receive their first placement. We should emphasize that the need is great, so it’s safe to say that you could receive your first placement in a relatively short period of time.
  • All foster parents receive monthly reimbursement for caring for the child.
  • This includes items such as clothing, mileage reimbursements, work related childcare, and a per diem rate based on the child’s age.
  • First and foremost, a caseworker’s job is to provide honest, open communication between the foster parent and the rest of the agency’s team members. They will also work with foster parents to coordinate various services, provide information on the child’s background and current situation, and ensure the foster parent is kept informed of all potential reunification court dates.
  • The best way to think of a caseworker is a resource of information to help you provide the best possible care for your foster child.
  • A foster parent must be at least 18 years of age, have a clean background/criminal check, sufficient income to provide for themselves and anyone else already living in the home, be free of mental/emotional/physical health situations that could negatively impact their ability to care for a foster child, be up to date on all immunizations, and be able to demonstrate that the home where the foster child will live is safe, clean, and appropriate for raising a child.
  • First and foremost, you have the opportunity to show love to a child in need. Many children in the foster care system have not had a welcoming, loving home like so many of us have experienced. They need someone who can open up their heart and their home to show them the good in the world.
  • While there are financial payments, foster care was never meant to be a source of income. Instead, it’s an opportunity to give a child what they need most at this critical time in their life: love.
  • The biggest benefit is knowing that you made a difference and one that can quite literally last a lifetime.

Want to learn more about becoming a foster parent and start the process?

Our team will assist you in the process of becoming a foster parent hero in Mercer county!