Thursday, June 09, 2011

Fostering: The Home Study

Ginger asked about the questions they ask during the home study.

The home study has two parts: first, examining your home to make sure that it is safe and has enough room for a child or children; and second, interviews with the family members. 

After she first arrived, I gave the social worker a tour of our house.  I took her to every room, told her how we used each room, and pointed out the room where the child would stay.  She made sure that we had sufficient smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, that all our medications were locked away, and the house and yard were safe in general.  There was a whole checklist of requirements, including things that did not apply to us (e.g., swimming pools must be fenced in).  We also had to have a bedroom that the child could sleep in -- they don't necessarily need a room to themselves, but it needs to be a bedroom and not a hallway or a shed(!).

Then, she interviewed me.  I was asked about my childhood and my general biographical history, my parents and siblings, how my parents disciplined me, the current status of my relationships with family members, my educational and employment history, my current job and how I feel about it, my religious beliefs and my openness to those with differing beliefs, how I handle anger, how I discipline Vinny, my relationship with Jeff.  I was also asked about any drug addicts or alcoholics in my immediate and extended families, and about Jeff's history with substances.  And at the end, I was asked what my goals were and what sort of foster care I would be interested in doing, and what types of children I would want to have.

On a second visit, Jeff was interviewed, and the questions were about the same.  The social worker interviewed Vinny, too, asking him what kinds of kids he would like to have stay with us.

After the interviews, the social worker wrote up a document about our house and about us, and sent it to us to revise and correct.  When we were satisfied that it was accurate, we signed a form to certify our approval and the home study process was complete!

In order to retain our license, we must have a home inspection annually, as well as stay current in CPR and First Aid certifications and receive 15 hours of continuing education each year.  Luckily the profiles of us will remain valid and we won't have to answer all those questions again unless we let the license expire!

Have any questions about foster parenting?  Feel free to leave them in the comments, and I'll answer as best I can!


EcoGeoFemme said...

Do you feel like the training/continuing ed is useful, or just red tape? Have you learned anything from it?

Amy said...

I'm loving this series of posts---how exciting for you! There are a lot of similarities between the foster parent prep and the adoption prep, it seems. This is a bit off-topic, but there's a series of podcasts called Creating a Family (Dawn Davenport is the podcaster) about adoption (and infertility---they're about half and half) that are excellent, and there was one a few weeks back about adopting from foster care. Thought you might be interested. Good luck!