Have you ever wondered what it takes to become a foster parent? If fostering has been on your mind and heart for a long time, and now you're ready to welcome a child in need, we can help. Since certification procedures vary from state to state, it is important to review the state requirements where you live. The fundamental requirements are generally the same: You must be at least a 21-year-old age, have completed a training and background check, and be willing to work with the child's family and professional team to ensure the child's permanent residence.
You can get started on your path to becoming a licensed foster parent by following these five steps:
1. Reach out to Quality Youth Services (QYS) and let us know you are interested in our Foster Care Parent Training & Certification. You can also look up the basic requirements online to make sure you meet them before entering into the program. We also encourage you to talk to other parents and individuals who have gone through the process. They can give you some valuable insight that you can only get through experience. This is also a great way to get to know the fostering community around you. Once you contact us, be prepared to talk about your interest and what made you want to become a foster parent.
2. You will then be introduced to a training specialist who will help you through the process and can answer any of your questions about the application process. We will also give you a lot of information about what you can expect and what the state law in Utah requires from you to qualify as a foster parent.
3. Once you have decided that fostering is a path you want to pursue, we will discuss what age of children are best suited for you. This is something that a lot of potential foster parents do not consider at first because they are eager to help. The age of a child greatly changes the dynamics in a home and also determines the specific training you will need when it comes to having the skills to help that child thrive. As you can imagine, having a 2 year old is going to be very different than having a teenager in your home. After you have passed the interview process, you will have a series of home visits, background checks, health screenings, financial discussions, and reference requests. Home visits help us allow you to make your home as safe as possible and give you time to make adjustments before you foster.
4. As far as orientation and training, we will go over and discuss what to expect and how to help children who have come from a difficult situation. We teach you about child attachment styles, loss, grief, discipline, behavioral intervention, the effects of abuse and neglect, sexual abuse, how to work with the child welfare system, and the effects of fostering on a child and family.
5. Finally, we help you submit the necessary forms for your certification once you have completed all the requirements. As mentioned, we take into account factors such as age, gender, traumatic experiences, behavioral patterns, medical conditions, and sibling relationships in order to determine which children should be placed in your home.
The process takes time to complete, from the initial inquiry to the certification to accept placement. It is essential to keep in mind that this experience takes on a unique form for each person and that there is no such thing as a perfect family or foster parent. The numerous emotional, mental, and spiritual inquiries should be something you discuss with your family before you consider fostering.
There are so many ways you can help the youth at QYS in addition to fostering. Our proctor parents are caring couples who want to help at-risk youth assigned to our program. As a proctor parent, you will work closely with our staff and therapists to give the youth in your home the best possible care. We support you as you support them. To find out how you can make a difference, donate, or apply to foster, contact us today.
What are the specific requirements for Quality Youth Services?
You must complete 38 hours of pre-service training.
In addition to state and federal training requirements, QYS provides training on following the essential components of Together Facing the Challenge (TFTC) that includes:
Provides comprehensive training for both agency staff and treatment foster care parents in classes of 15-30 participants
Builds a therapeutic relationship – recognizes the significance of the therapeutic relationship by exhibiting both verbal and non-verbal behaviors that include:
Showing a genuine interest
Identifying common ground
Having a positive attitude
Being patient, understanding, consistent, and following through
Explores trauma-informed care – identifies situations in which a child's traumatic past can impact their ability to form positive relationships; coaches direct care providers on alternative strategies for parenting traumatized youth
Develops proactive parenting strategies to reinforce positive prosocial behaviors
Teaches cooperation – can balance the use of implementing corrective discipline strategies and techniques within the context of a supportive and therapeutic environment
Addresses thoughts, feelings, and behavior – demonstrates an ability to assist a child in recognizing, talking about, and dealing with difficult thoughts and feelings that emerge; helps the child to understand how their thoughts and feelings can impact their behavior
Interrupts the conflict cycle – can identify conflicts that take place and demonstrates an ability to avoid power struggles and intervene by de-escalating the situation
Utilizes problem-solving techniques - demonstrates an ability to use a problem-solving model to address a specific problem by defining it clearly, generating multiple solutions, and selecting the solution that presents as the best based on outcomes
Promotes cultural sensitivity - explores and supports youths' different aspects of identity, including race, ethnicity, and culture; and assists parents with creating culturally sensitive home environments
Teaches relevant life skills – demonstrates an ability to transform daily living activities into learning opportunities to assist youth in the development of independent living skills
Takes care of self – can recognize the impact that stress has on their lives, the 'warning signs' that make them aware of it, and the specific strategies they use to manage their stress level while taking time for self on a regularly scheduled basis