San Luis Valley Regional Foster Care Certification
Kinship Foster Care, Foster Care, &, Adoption
The goal of the 6 counties in the San Luis Valley is to reunite children with their families. If children cannot be returned to their primary caregiver, every effort will be made to place children with appropriate relatives or other caring adults in their life. If after all relative options have been exhausted then we place children with a foster or foster-adopt family.
Non-Relative or Foster Care/Foster-Adopt
Today, the 6 counties of the San Luis Valley have few certified foster homes (non-relative) to care for children and youth of our community. Often times our foster homes are full, which requires that children who come into care must be placed outside of our communities away from their schools, friends, neighbors and extended families. It is traumatic enough to tell a child we have to place them with people they don’t know, but if the only foster family available is in another community, it only adds to the child’s anxiety and fear.
What is Foster Care?
Foster care means the placement of a child into the legal custody or legal authority of a county department of human/social services for physical placement of a child in a certified or licensed facility. Foster care is intended to provide a substitute family for children for a temporary period of time, during which the family can work towards the goal of reunification. Foster care is not a punishment for behavior and children in foster care are not bad. Children in foster care may have a variety of behaviors as a result being abused and/or neglected, such as differed appearance due to physical abuse (bruises/cuts, low weight), parent-like behavior, hoarding food, shy and reserved, very talkative, etc. Children and Youth may need foster care placements for a variety of reasons which can be discussed further on a case to case basis.
- Should you become Kinship/Foster/Adoptive Parent?
Some things to consider:
What are your beliefs and attitudes about the Alamosa County Department of Human Services? What are your beliefs and attitudes about Child Welfare or Child Protective Services? What are your beliefs and attitudes about foster care? What are your beliefs and attitudes about adopting from the child welfare system? What are your reasons for becoming a foster or foster/adopt parent? Are you ready emotionally and is your home ready? What impact might fostering have on your own family? What if you end up adopting a child? What age and behaviors of children vs. your own children would be the best match? Have you talked to your own children and/or family about fostering? Is it realistic for you to become a foster parent? Is it realistic for you to become an adoptive parent?
- Basic Requirements
- Are at least 21 years of age.
- Are single, married, divorced, widowed, or in a stable domestic partnership.
- Own or rent your home.
- Have a valid driver’s license and car insurance.
- Willing to transport the children to and from appointments to include school, visitation, and medical/dental appointments.
- Willing to get your CPR/First Aid Certification and maintain it through the life of certification.
- Willing to participate in the Family to Family Model (Family Engagement Meetings, Icebreakers, keeping kids in their home communities and schools, etc.).
- Have adequate financial resources to sustain your household independently.
- Demonstrate an adequate level of physical fitness and stamina to care for active children.
- Demonstrate personal characteristics/strengths needed to meet the challenges of parenting children with varying emotional and behavioral needs associated with trauma, grief and loss.
- Are open to learn.
- Can work in partnership with our county agency and are open to consult with others on a child’s professional team.
- Can remain open to and maintain safe and appropriate connections with a child’s extended family of origin.
- Can work closely with professionals in a child’s life.
- Can keep records and maintain confidentiality.
- Can ask for support when needed.
- Healthy communication with a child’s treatment team.
- Can support the best interest of the child.
- The Role of a Foster Parent:
Foster parents are caring, and committed individuals who open their hearts and home to meet the needs of children who must be placed in out-of-home care in order to be safe. A foster family provides the child with an emergency or temporary home and a supportive, stable family environment while the birth family addresses the concerns or situation that prevents them from parenting their child. Typically, foster parents care for the child until reunification with the birth family occurs, there is an adoption or guardianship with kin, or the child is legally available for adoption. Sometimes foster parents become the permanent home for the child through adoption.
How fostering is similar to parenting your own children?
- They need daily care and supervision.
- They need their basic physical and emotional needs met.
- You’ll work with schools, medical personnel, and other professionals to meet their needs.
- Help guide the child’s development in all areas: physical, emotional, social, spiritual, etc.
- Provide structure, rules, and discipline.
- Teach values and self-direction.
- Model appropriate family relationships.
- Must be able to recognize that a child in care may have a variety of developmental levels which may or may not match his/her chronological age.
- Only having a limited time to work with a child and his/her family.
- Understanding and accepting agency/department involvement and responsibilities.
- Comply with certification standards.
- Must keep records.
- Must work with biological children to support reunification (if appropriate).
- Will be able to make only limited decisions.
- Must respect confidentiality.
- Must report changes in family household to the department.
- Must be able to offer flexibility and work with the objectives of the case plan (visitation, therapy, etc.).
- Types of Foster/Adoptive Homes the San Luis Valley needs:
- Foster Care homes for youth ages zero to eighteen years of age.
- Homes for sibling groups of all ages.
- Homes for teens (both boys and girls).
- Homes for teen moms and pregnant teens.
- Respite homes.