Becoming Foster Parents- Step One: Face to Face Interview + Background Check
Hey, y’all! Last week I announced that we are in the process of becoming foster parents. We are both super excited and I thought it might be cool to share our experiences with you in a series we like to call Foster Friday.
We’ve been talking about becoming foster parents for about a year and a half now. It’s easy to say “I want to be a foster parent” without really comprehending what all that entails. We really took the time to determine if we were strong enough for this task. You see, being a foster parent doesn’t mean just housing a child in your home for awhile. It also means saying goodbye. Many of these children have experienced some pretty traumatic things and don’t know how to handle all of their emotions. Being a foster parent means comforting a young one who has been hurt (emotionally, physically, or even mentally) and showing them what patience, understanding, and compassion looks like. It will in no way be an easy feat.
But, we are up for the challenge.
The first step in becoming a foster parent is the Face to Face Interview. The interview may take between 20 minutes to 1 hour, depending on your interviewer and how in-depth they go. We spent our time mostly filling out paperwork and having a very casual conversation. Following the interview, we were fingerprinted and photographed so a background check could be conducted.
I’ve broken the interview down into the various topics we discussed.
One of the first things we discussed was our finances. We filled out a form indicating how much money we bring in each month as well as our expenses. It is imperative that you are honest about this information. If not, you could easily get in over your head financially. Raising a child, or children is not cheap.
Think about your grocery bill, gas, your entertainment and clothing expenses, and your general living expenses.
Another important discussion is your living situation. How many bedrooms are in your home? How many bathrooms do you have? Do you rent or do you own? Do you plan on moving any time soon? These all should be simple questions for you to answer.
Your interviewer is going to want to ensure that you have time to invest in a foster child or foster children. You’ll be asked questions about whether or not you and your partner work and if so, what hours you work. You’ll also be asked about where you work. Your interviewer may also ask you questions about any other things that may impact your schedule such as any classes you may be taking, any sports you may be active in, etc. The purpose of this is to make sure you have time to invest in a child or children.
It is important to know that you can pick what age range you are willing to foster. Trust me, your interviewer understands that babies and teenagers aren’t for everyone! Not only can you pick an age range but you will also need to indicate how many children you’re willing to foster. There are often siblings that need to be fostered together.
Once you have your license, you will get a call about placement. The caller will let you know how many children there are, their ages and any known medical conditions. The choice of whether or not you take on a child is always completely up to you. It is okay to say no.
We held discussions with other foster parents before we made the decision to go down this path. One of the couples that we had dinner with told us about their interview and it was completely different from ours. They were asked some extremely personal questions about their relationship as well as questions about their upbringing.
Examples of the questions they were asked include:
What was your upbringing like? What is your parenting style/philosophy? How would you rate your relationship with your partner? How do you and your partner communicate with one another? What do you argue about most often? and… What could your partner do to make you leave them?
I don’t know if these questions were asked by an interviewer gone rogue, or if these are questions that are typically asked by some interviewers but I can honestly tell you we didn’t answer anything like this. The most personal question they asked about our relationship is whether or not we are married.
Lastly, we were fingerprinted so a background investigation could be conducted.
I hope this gives you a little insight into Step 1 of becoming a foster parent. Next week’s Foster Friday post will give you the 411 on Step 2- The Official Home Visit. Be sure to give me a like on Facebook or follow me on Twitter to join in on our journey to becoming foster parents. See you next time!