Foster care, by definition, is temporary care provided to children lasting from overnight to a year or more. Children are removed from their homes when they are abused, neglected or are identified as being dependent and their parents are unable to care for them safely at the time of placement. If no relative is available or identified, children are placed on a temporary basis with foster parents. Priority is placed on keeping children in their own neighborhoods and schools.
Foster parents are considered part of a professional team, along with Summit County Children Services’ staff, who work together for the benefit of children. They provide respite care for other foster parents and offer specialized help for challenging adolescents and medically fragile children.
Foster parents are asked, when appropriate, to work with biological families to promote effective reunification. When reunification is not possible or in the best interest of the children, the agency obtains permanent custody of the children and they become available for adoption. Many foster parents adopt the children placed in their care.
Foster parents care for children of all ages, but there is a particular need for foster parents to care for:
• Newborns and toddlers
• Sibling groups (brothers and sisters who should remain together)
• Teenagers (age 12 )
Many of the qualifications are the same for foster and adoptive parents. To become a licensed foster parent, you can/must be:
• Married, single, divorced or widowed;
• With or without children of your own;
• A renter or home owner;
• 21 years or older;
• Employed or a stay-at-home parent – as long as your income is adequate to meet your household needs;
• Committed to caring for children;
• Able to accept children as they are;
• Able to provide support and be a strong role model of positive family life.
Staff members at Summit County Children Services are committed to working closely with families throughout the foster care process. You will have to:
• Complete the required training. Sessions are offered on evenings and weekends. If you are married or have a domestic partner, both of you must complete the training. Click here for a list of Pre-Service Training Classes.
• Complete a home study with a social worker. The home study allows you to provide a detailed picture of your family values, ideals, lifestyle, strengths and parenting styles. You will also discuss your foster-to-adopt preferences.
• Provide a list of references and financial information.
• Police checks will be done on all adult household members.
Click here for more detailed information on the process to become a foster parent.
Summit County Children Services provide the following support to foster parents:
• Personal support from an assigned Foster Home Coordinator
• Ongoing training and conference attendance
• Support groups and district meetings
• Holiday & special occasion support
• Monthly board checks
• Funds for clothing
• Medical, dental and vision care for children
• Mileage reimbursement
Monthly information meetings are available for you to learn more about becoming a foster parent - click here for a list of future meetings.
Summit County Children Services