It’s always a good time to consider becoming a foster parent, as an increasing number of children are in need of foster families.
Today there are approximately 7,500 children under the age 21 who are living in out-of-home care in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, the majority of whom are age 12 or older. But many have brothers and sisters who also need foster parents, and most have suffered neglect and/or abuse by their birth family.
According to the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, the role of a foster parent is to “provide temporary, 24-hour care in a home setting when it is necessary for a child to be separated from his or her birth family. Foster care is temporary until the child can be reunited with his or her family or is provided with another type of permanent living situation.”
Kentucky’s Department for Community Based Services’ (DCBS) Division of Protection and Permanency believes that “children grow up better in families.” Likewise, at Omni Visions we believe that every child deserves a safe, supportive home and the best chance to succeed in life.
The basic qualifications are as follows:
- You must be at least 21 years of age.
- You must attend an informational meeting.
- You must participate in pre-service trainings and meetings, “which are designed to help interested families better understand the needs of children in care and to make an informed decision about whether fostering is right for your family”.
- You must be able to provide a safe, secure, and healthy home.
- Your home must meet prescribed requirements for home safety and space.
- You must have a stable income that is sufficient to meet your family’s needs.
- You must be in good physical and mental health.
- All applicants and adult household members must pass a criminal background check.
- All of the adults in your home must pass pre-service preparation training.
According to the Cabinet for Health and Human Services, the training, evaluation and approval process typically takes four to six months.
Many of the children who cannot be safely returned to their birth parents (or other relatives) become eligible for adoption. In some cases, foster parents become the permanent and legal adoptive parents of children they have been fostering, hence the term foster to adopt.
In Kentucky, foster and adoptive parents are sometimes referred to as “resource parents.”
Resources and support services for Kentucky foster parents
After a child is placed in your home, you’ll continue to receive guidance and training—a minimum of six hours of ongoing training each year. Kentucky also features a Foster Parent Mentor Program, where recently-approved foster parents are matched with an experienced foster parent who can help coach and guide you during your first six months of service.
At Omni Visions we also provide our foster parents with an extensive array of support services, including 24/7 on-call support, as well as a resource coordinator who provides ongoing assistance.
Kentucky’s Care Plus program
After a family is approved by the DCBS as a foster home, that family may pursue a specialized level of approval (which requires additional and ongoing training) to care for children with “extraordinary needs.”
Per the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, “the Care Plus program is for children who have emotional problems and display aggressive, destructive, or disruptive behaviors. These children may have experienced multiple placement failures and are at risk of being placed in a more restrictive out-of-home care setting.”
In addition, there is an ever-present need for foster parents willing and able to take care of children with medically complex needs, as well as those who can provide respite care.
Want to become a foster parent in KY?
If you’re interested in becoming a foster parent in Kentucky, we encourage you to complete our request form or to contact the Omni Visions office nearest your home. Our Kentucky locations include Bowling Green, Lexington, Louisville and Madisonville, with our Paducah area office located in Hickory, Kentucky.
Since 1991 Omni has specialized in providing training and support to caregivers so foster children can reach their fullest potential. Together we can provide a brighter future for our children. Give us a call toll-free at (800) 851-6108.