Listen to the radio spot that CONCERN's Southeast Office is currently running to recruit foster parents.
Thank you for your interest in becoming a foster parent. We are pleased you are considering this important step – one that could have a meaningful impact on the life of a child in need.
This page provides the basic information about foster parenting with CONCERN. In addition to this information, our pre-service training program provides a wealth of knowledge about the challenges as well as the rewards associated with this journey.
We would be happy to speak with you further and answer any questions that you may want to ask. Please fill out the brief questionnaire for someone to contact you.
You can also find out about a foster parent informational meeting in your area. Thank you again for your interest in making a difference in the lives of the children we serve.
The children who come to CONCERN have experienced difficult lives, which may include abuse, neglect, abandonment and separation from their birth families, previous placements and multiple losses. Some children have special medical and/or educational needs. Other children need help moving toward independence and adulthood.
Although most children are school age, CONCERN places children of all ages, races and ethnic backgrounds. Families are especially needed for sibling groups.
Most children come to CONCERN with emotional and behavioral issues that require special parenting as well as counseling services. Some children require medication to assist them with these behaviors.
Although the children have dealt with a lot of painful experiences, all of them have the potential to become contributing members of society – with help from the team of professionals, including their foster parents.
Training. Prior to your first placement you will receive specific pre-service training on the many aspects of foster care. As a foster parent you will receive on-going training to provide you with the basic and specialized skills needed for foster parenting.
Case Management. Our experienced staff will meet with you and the children placed in your home on a regular basis to support the child’s placement and to provide you with the assistance and direction needed to care for the children.
Compensation. You will receive a daily stipend (paid monthly) to cover the costs incurred in providing room and board for each child. In addition, this daily stipend covers the cost of providingtiems such as weekly allowances, activities, haircuts, birthday gifts, clothing, school expenses, diapers, and formula for children, as well as required transportation.
Respite. Relief counselors and respite families are available to foster parents to take scheduled breaks from the demands of foster parenting.
Transportation. When it is not possible for a foster parent to transport children to family visits due to their work schedule or other demands, CONCERN employs drivers to assist with transportation.
24 Hour On-Call. When difficulties arise and foster parents require assistance, staff is available and on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Clinical Services. Some of CONCERN’s regional offices have on-site clinical services, available for foster children or can arrange for community services near your home.
Medical Care. The medical needs of all foster children in care are covered by insurance. CONCERN’s Medical Services Coordinator is also available to support the placement of medically needy children.
Special Needs Fund. This fund provides for the varied needs of the children in care not covered through traditional funding sources. From donations received primarily through direct mail and special events, the Special Needs Fund meets educational, recreational, and excessive medical needs as well as provides for summer camperships.
STAR Fund. An acronym for Supporting Teens After Release, this fund assists in meeting the needs of those clients who will soon “age-out” of the foster care/child welfare system. This fund provides limited funding to meet independent living, educational and job necessity related expenses.
Holiday Gifts. Through generous donations from the community and staff, CONCERN is able to provide each foster child with several gifts of their choice for the holidays.
Recognition Events and Other Special Events. Each year our foster parents are specially recognized for their work with children at a special luncheon or dinner. In addition, special events for the entire family are arranged through the year, such as summer picnics or outings to an amusement or ballpark as well as holiday parties.
• Have a heart for children
• Be over the age of 21
• Have a reliable source of income to meet your own family’s needs
• Be in good health and free from communicable diseases
• Have sufficient living space in your home for a child
• Complete state and FBI criminal background checks with no disqualifying history
• Have no record of child abuse or neglect
• Complete pre-service training requirements
• Sense of humor
• Advocate for children
• Enjoys spending time with children
• Team player
Can I be employed outside of my home? Yes, provided there is a child care plan in place. It is not acceptable for both parents to have second shift employment when caring for school age children.
Is there financial assistance for day care while I work? Yes, from community resources, but it is very limited and it is not always available.
Is there a limit to the number of children in my home? Yes, in the state of Pennsylvania you may have six foster children if no other children reside in your home. The Department of Public Welfare allows a total of six children under the age of 18, including your own children, with additional requirements for your home.
Do foster parents receive any financial reimbursement for caring for children? Yes, foster parents receive a daily stipend for each child placed in their home. This daily stipend is based on the needs of the child. Families must show proof that they are able to meet financial obligations prior to being approved as foster parents.
Are foster parents responsible for medical and dental expenses for a foster child? Foster parents are not responsible for medical or dental expenses. Each child has Medical Assistance, private insurance or a combination that covers most expenses.
How long does the approval process take? After we receive your application and background clearance information you are invited to start attending the training sessions. Typically you are ready to be approved as a foster parent upon the completion of your pre-service training. The amount of time required to complete this process varies from family to family.
Is it possible to adopt a foster child? Adoption for some foster children can be an option for foster parents. Foster children are often classified as “special needs” adoptions.
Can a foster child share a bedroom with my child? Yes, however they must have a bed of their own and children of the opposite sex can only share a room if they are under five years of age. A bedroom must also have room for storage for each child’s belongings.
Are single individuals allowed to become foster parents? Yes. We will work with you to determine that you have sufficient supports in place and that the child care issues are addressed.
Are foster parents responsible for transporting children? We expect that our foster parents provide the majority of transportation for the foster children. We do have drivers that can assist if foster parents have a conflict in their schedule.
What if I have a crisis with a foster child at night or on a weekend? You never have to feel that you have to deal with a crisis alone. We offer support 24/7. After hours there is a staff person assigned to answer all emergency calls. During office hours there is always someone available to assist you with any crisis that might arise.
After your first contact with CONCERN you are invited to attend an informational meeting. The facilitator will cover information about the agency, the children we serve, where the children come from and answer any questions you may have. If you are interested in proceeding with the approval process, you will receive an application packet at that time.
At this step you will complete the formal application forms and return them to the agency. Don’t let the paperwork discourage you. Your recruiter will assist you with anything that you may not understand.
The application process includes:
• A formal application
• Financial information
• A statement of health of each applicant from a physician
• FBI fingerprints for all individuals, 18 and older, living in the home
• Pennsylvania police checks and child abuse background checks for all individuals, 14 and older, living in the home
Family Profile and Safety Assessment
The recruiter will conduct an extensive in-home interview with you and other family members living in the home. This may be completed over two or three visits. The interviews are an opportunity for us to get to know you better. This will assist us in making the best placement decisions for your family. The interviews will explore personal issues, your relationships, your finances and any history of abuse or neglect will be covered thoroughly.
In addition to the interviews, there are documents that must be supplied, such as copies of your driver’s license, auto insurance, homeowner’s insurance, social security cards and pet vaccination records. Your recruiter will complete a safety assessment while in your home. This assessment is to determine that there are no safety violation concerns that would be dangerous for children. If violations are noted, they will be pointed out and will need to be corrected before your home can be approved.
All foster parents are required to attend pre-service training prior to receiving approval of their home. This is basic education to help you understand the role you will be assuming. It also provides you with some tools for dealing with this new experience.
The office in which you are associated will give you the details of the location and times of each training session.
The sessions will help you gain a better understanding of the roles and responsibilities of each of the team members working with the children placed in your home.
The sessions also will help you to critically decide several questions: is foster parenting right for you and your family? Is now the right time? What type of child can I successfully parent? What are some of the special considerations of parenting siblings who have been neglected and abused?
To get the most from pre-service training, you need to:
• Make a commitment to attend and actively participate in each session.
• Ask questions.
• Give careful consideration to the information presented during and between sessions.
• Challenge yourself to grow and develop as a parent.
Click here for a printable Foster Parenting booklet.
Click above to purchase materials through Amazon.com. Any materials purchased through this website on Amazon.com result in a rebate to CONCERN. All proceeds from these purchases benefit the children in care.