Frequently Asked Questions

Every child deserves a family. Many abused, neglected or abandoned children in our community are in need of stable, nurturing, temporary homes. Do you have what it takes to foster hope in a child? Read below for answers to some of our most frequently asked questions:

Who can become a therapeutic foster parent?

To be considered eligible to become a therapeutic foster parent, a person must be:

  • An adult, age 21 years or older
  • A resident of Virginia
  • Financially stable
  • Able to provide adequate living space for a child
  • Able to pass child abuse and criminal history clearance
  • Available to attend all required training
  • Willing to learn to work with children who have emotional and behavioral challenges

What type of behavioral problems will these children have?

Behavior patterns and problems depend on the child’s history, age, and type of structure and support received in the treatment home. These children are often in mental and/or physical pain due to traumatic or abusive situations – they are less likely to trust, they will test limits, and will often try to be rejected. Many, however, do respond to empathy provided with firm but loving guidance, discipline, and communication.

What ages are the children?

Ages range from birth to 21 with the greatest anticipated need being for ages 10 to 17.

Can we specify gender?

Yes. A family’s living arrangement dictates which gender they are permitted to take. Families may also specify a specific gender preference.

What kind of space and sleeping areas are required?

There must be adequate space for sleeping, privacy, dining, and studying. Every child must have his or her own bed and only same sex children my share a room.

How much time is involved?

Treatment foster parenting requires the same time commitment that parenting any special needs child requires. These children need to have structured days including homework scheduling, recreation time, and set bedtimes, as well as time for communication to help the child talk through issues that are relevant to his/her age and behavior. Additionally, there are trips to the doctor, school conferences, and meetings with a caseworker or therapist, visitation with the legal family, ongoing monthly training and group sessions. Initially, there are 24 hours of pre-service training for foster parents. Ongoing annual trainings are offered to foster parents who must attend 30 hours of ongoing education per year.

What types of support do you provide?

Our program operates with a “team support” philosophy. Just as we do not want these children to stand alone in their struggles, we believe in providing treatment parents that same support and service. There is a First Home Care case manager available to assist with emergencies 24-hours per day. In some cases, a complete wrap-around support system is available to assist foster parents working with individual children. Foster parents are given specific methods of managing aggressive behavior and information to assist with a particular child. Up to 30 hours of ongoing training beyond initial training sessions will include special procedures, safety, CPR, First Aid, managing the aggressive child and child development issues. Depending on the specific needs of the treatment parents, there will be additional monthly training sessions.

Will we be told of the child’s past experiences?

We work in partnership with foster parents to model a trusting and supportive relationship so that parents may, in turn, build the same kind of relationship with their foster child. Any information shared with our agency will be shared with the foster parents.

How are the children selected for the program?

Local child-servicing agencies in Virginia identify children with emotional and behavioral health challenges that are unable to be maintained in their home environment. These children require more than just the basic needs of a bed, food, and shelter. They often require additional counseling and mature foster parents who can provide reassurance, empathy, and stability. Foster parents need to understand how to defuse anger, tempers, and defiant behaviors that are often a result of trauma and crisis the child has experienced from his or her home environment or other abusive situations.

How much money do you provide the foster parents?

The amount of money provided to our foster parents is determined by the needs and age of the child. The payment is to be used for clothing, personal hygiene, and spending money for the child, as well as room and board. This payment is considered to be tax-free income. Funds will be allocated as a per-diem for each day the child is in your home.

What happens if things aren’t working out?

Unless there are extreme circumstances, we request 14 days notice so that we may find another appropriate placement. If a criminal act is committed, an emergency removal may be warranted. As difficulties develop, the case manager must be notified immediately.

What if the biological family wants to visit or have the child visit?

The primary goal of foster care is to provide a nurturing home environment until the child can be reunited with his or her natural or surrogate family. An integral part of treatment foster care is the involvement of the child’s biological family and natural support systems. Visitation, phone calls and home visits are all part of this important family involvement. The foster parent and case manager will arrange this contact. Some of our foster children have no biological family contact and are eligible for adoption which can be discussed prior to placement.

How do I get started?

Contact us