Before you take a new job, you want to know what you will be responsible for, how many hours you will work, and how much money you will make doing it. Before a couple chooses to become foster parents for the money, they need to know all of those things too.
Before a couple gets their first check they must:
- Sit through a 2-hour informational meeting
- Complete a State and Federal background check
- Collect paperwork: Proof of income, expenses, marriage licenses, divorce decrees, and several more miscellaneous papers.
- Sit through an in-home consultation. They will get a personalized to-do list. They will have to secure their firearms, kitchen knives, fire place, stairs, pool, pond, medications, cleaners, etc…
- Complete PRIDE Training (28 hours)
- Complete 2 hours of online training
- Draw up a tornado, fire, and gun (if applicable) safety plan.
- Get a physical
- Fill out an in-depth questionnaire
- Complete a SAFE Home study
- Sit with a stranger and answer a list of personal questions
- Watch a stranger walk through the home with a fine-tooth comb
- Get fingerprinted
- Complete CPR and First Aid (4-6 hours)
When all of that is complete, they will be open to take foster children and start getting that check. Before a couple gets their first check, they must EACH put in about 50 hours of work going to classes, sitting in meetings, and filling out paperwork. They will also possibly spend/lose money if they have to pay for the physical and bedroom furniture or take off work to go to the classes/meetings.
Here’s a few comments from REAL foster families in White County:
- Extra groceries — Not just food for an extra person, but food that you typically don’t buy trying to have things that your foster child will eat.
- Extra gas — There are a bazillion appointments and an extra school/car line, court/staffing in a different county, etc…
- Clothes — We use The CALL Boutique, but our foster child is an odd-size stage so we still had to get shoes, clothes, church clothes, backpack for school, etc…
- Extra eating out — I cook a lot and our family has never eaten out much, but for sanity’s sake (last week was hard with our girl) we ate out 3 times this weekend.
- Toiletries — We have a bi-racial foster child, which requires extra hair care products that are not cheap. She didn’t know hygiene so extra toiletries like special mouthwash and toothpaste to get her teeth healthy, extra toilet paper because she doesn’t know how much to use (she’s never used it).
- Summer activities — Swimming lessons because we have a swimming pool; life jacket, swimsuits, etc…
- Fun trips — She has never been to a zoo so that is a must for her to experience
I would say that we’ve easily spent 3x what a months stipend is this first month with all of the initial costs of getting her setup with what all she needs.”