That is the number of children in the foster care system in the state of Indiana. Or at least it was when my husband and I started our 20 hours of training three weeks ago.
In two intense weeks, we chose to complete our training. I have to be honest and say it was a lot, but on the flip side, my husband and I got to spend more time together in those two weeks than we had in the last month. Not to mention that I learned how to be a better parent to my own two children.
There were parts of the training that I will never forget, such as learning how to identify child abuse injuries. I have no words, except to say these children didn’t choose this and it further cemented my drive to serve them in whatever capacity I can: for me, service is what it is about. I hope to be able to do my best to fill a space where this one, and to develop and foster authentic connections with whatever kids may come our way. It’s important to acknowledge that foster care serves a purpose- it’s not about affirming anyone’s identity as a “savior,” or, really, for any other reason than to come together to ensure that a child who may displaced from their home, can find a loving, supportive, safe space in our own.
I have listed below the steps we were given to becoming a certified foster parent. We are only on step 4 below so I can’t speak in too much detail beyond that. So far, we have really enjoyed working with an agency to help guide us through the process. There is no fee associated. They are there to act as a liaison between us and DCS.
1. 20 hours of training. This can be done in a single month or spread out over several. It just depends on what works for you.
2. Paperwork. Frankly, I expected there to be much more than there was. It is extremely manageable and should not be the piece that holds you back. We have been through two adoptions and the amount of paperwork was at least half.
3. Background checks and fingerprinting. Background checks, anyone that you would choose to be a caregiver for your foster child must have a background check on file, unless they are a caregiving center that has a license number. Only my husband and I had to be fingerprinted. Our agency even covered this fee for us.
4. A case worker is assigned to you.
5. The home study process begins. There are 3 separate evaluations as part of the home study. Each is expected to take 1.5 to 2 hours. I learned during training that in 2015 the intensity of the home study was increased to ensure that foster parents had the right intentions.
6. Your file is sent to the mothership a.k.a the state Department of Child Services (DCS) office.
7. Waiting. In training, they told us the only thing consistent about the wait time is that it is inconsistent.
8. Certified and waiting for a placement.
Have you thought about completing Foster Care training? Share in the comments!