We are still awaiting our first placement. We’ve had a couple of calls for respite care, which is usually short term relief for other foster parents who need a weekend off or something. I ended up with a busy schedule in the weeks following licensing with two out of town trips for work, so we weren’t able to accept either of the respite placements. In the mean time, we are working on some at home training modules. Our agency requires more than the state minimum number of training hours per year. We are required to complete 20 hours of training annually, most of which must be through our Foster Family Agency (FFA). These include some mandatory training on topics such as child abuse reporting and sexual abuse as well as modules you can pick yourself depending on the issues you are facing, or expect to face as a foster parent.
During our first training session at our home, our social worker went over a number of topics. We were given a “Policies and Procedures” binder. Most of the topics covered here were common sense, but I’ll go over a few of the major ones, as well as policies I wasn’t aware of or hadn’t thought about.
Basically we can’t say anything to anyone about the foster child and their background. Specifically any identifying information (other than the name, of course) and any information about why the child is in the system. We will be given as much information as the social workers have, in order to best serve the child. So we will potentially know A LOT of details about the history of our foster child(ren) that we won’t be able to share, even with my parents whom we are extremely close to.
This is short term alternative care. Every foster family is provided 4 days of respite care paid for by the agency during the first year. Many families request care through the agency and the child is placed in another licensed foster home. This is because in order to be a respite care provider, you have to be fingerprinted and background checked. My parents live about 40 minutes from us, and are willing and excited to be back up care providers. My mom attended our CPR/First Aid class with us, and they are both getting fingerprinted so they can be our respite care providers. This way the foster child doesn’t have to spend a weekend in an unfamiliar, possibly overcrowded foster home. We are so happy to have this option.