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What is foster care?
Foster care is a program that provides temporary homes for children who, for one reason or another cannot live with their families. Children who are placed in foster care are from families facing problems so overwhelming that they cannot continue to provide the stability and nurturance a child needs. The goal of foster care is to help families in trouble. Foster care provides a safe and stable environment for the child while the troubled family receives help.

How long will a child stay in my home?
The average stay for a foster child is two years. Most children only need a home for six months. No matter what the duration, the foster home is only a temporary situation.

Can foster parents select the age of the child placed in their care?
Foster parents can specify both the age range and the gender they would prefer to be placed in their home. Before a placement is made, every effort will be made to ensure the placement is appropriate for everyone involved.

Who pays the expenses of foster care?
Foster parents are reimbursed for their out-of-pocket expenses in the form of a monthly board check. Medical, dental and psychological services are provided for foster children as needed.

What kind of people become foster parents?
There is not one specific type of person that becomes a foster parent. Foster parents come from all races, economic backgrounds and religions. The only thing required of foster parents is that they are caring individuals who have a desire to understand the needs and problems of these special children.

How is adoption different from foster care?
The most obvious difference is the temporary nature of foster care, as opposed to the permanence of adoption. Once a child is adopted, the adoptive parents take all parental responsibilities. With foster care, the ultimate planning and decision making for the child rests with the foster care agency (HKI). Secondly, children in foster care still have contact with their birth family. In most adoptions, these ties are severed.

Do foster parents ever adopt?
Occasionally, a child in foster care is adopted by their foster family. However, we do ask that foster parent applicants not come into the program expecting to adopt. Most children do return to their birth families and this experience can be very painful for a foster family who isn’t prepared to say “goodbye.”

What kinds of rewards do foster parents receive?
Despite what some people think, the rewards are not monetary. The benefits that foster parents reap are much more valuable. The primary reward are the priceless feelings of satisfaction that foster parents receive from knowing they helped to rebuild a family.

What are some of the eligibility requirements for foster parents?
Some of the basics include being at least 21 years old and living in your home at least six months prior to becoming licensed. Additionally, foster parents must have a legal, stable source of income that is sufficient to support the family without relying on the foster child’s board check. For more specific information, please call 813-237-2530, ext. 13.


What services are available through the Kinship Care program?
Case Management, permanency planning, access to support groups, counseling, training, legal support and links to community services. For more information, please call (813) 237-2530 x10.

Can I still receive services if the parent of the child in my care abandoned them?
Our case managers will guide you through the child welfare and legal systems to meet your family’s needs.

Do I need to have a case manager in order to participate in the Family Enrichment Center’s support groups?
No, our six support groups are available to any relative caregiver who is caring for another relative’s child.