Foster Parents and Foster to Adopt Parents
Thank you for your interest in becoming a foster parent with Onslow County Department of Social Services. There is a need for qualified and dedicated foster parents. When children enter foster care the primary goal is to help families resolve their challenges and reunite safely. When a child is unable to be reunified with their biological family, other permanency options are explored including adoption. If you are interested in providing a safe and loving home to an Onslow County child and you have patience and wisdom to share, you could be the perfect parent for a child who truly needs you.
Each child is different. Some children need to be with a single parent; some need a two-parent family; some need other children in their family while some need to be the only child in their home. Many different types of families are needed to parent Onslow County’s special children. All children need stability and a family they can count on through good times and challenging times. Children need to stay in touch with people they love such as former foster parents, birth parents, siblings and teachers. It is extremely important that foster families consider their openness to maintaining these important connections for children involved in our foster care system. It is important to remember that the process is child-driven and that our agency is seeking the best possible family to meet that individual child’s specific needs. However, our agency is not looking for perfection. Keep in mind “you don’t have to be perfect to be a perfect parent!”
Who Can Foster?
• Must be a resident of Onslow County.
• A single person or married couple can foster a child.
• You must be 21 years old to foster a child.
• You do not have to own a home or have a certain amount of income to be a foster parent. You must have a stable home and stable income.
• You should consider what it will mean to have a child join your family and how this will affect your family’s life and the child’s life. With full commitment and realistic expectations, foster parents must be ready to give a child or children opportunities to develop to their full potential physically, academically, socially and emotionally.
What is the Process?
• Watch the mandatory Foster Parent Orientation video at http://ncswlearn.org/foster Print and save certificate
• Attend the scheduled information/orientation meeting with Onslow County Department of Social Services.
• Complete TIPS-MAPP (Trauma Informed Partnering for Safety and Permanence-Model Approach to Partnership in Parenting) 30-hour course.
• Complete a Mutual Home Assessment for foster home licensing. This is not the same as an adoption home study.
• Be fingerprinted and have a criminal records check.
• Have a RIL (Responsible Individual List) check.
• Complete an environmental conditions inspection of the prospective foster parent’s home.
• Complete a medical evaluation and medical history.
• Complete a fire inspection of the prospective foster parent’s home.
• Once licensed by the NC Division of Social Services, consider and accept foster care placements based on the needs of the children and your family’s parenting abilities and preferences.
• Re-licensure of foster parents is required every 2 years and 20 hours of additional training.
Foster Parent Application:
All prospective foster parents must complete an application packet (application and consent forms). Please contact foster care licensing to schedule an office visit to complete the application process or request to have the application packet mailed to you. We must receive your application and signed consent forms before the agency considers extending an invitation to the TIPS-MAPP class.
Am I Ready for a Foster Child?If you’re considering fostering a child stop for a moment and ask yourself these important questions:
• Do I have time to care for a child and provide physical, emotional, educational and spiritual needs?
• Do I have support from my family, community, church and friends who will be there for me through challenging times?
• Am I willing to advocate for my child? The child I foster will have special needs and possible unforeseen educational or mental health challenges.
• Am I ready to commit to a child short or long term, even if times get tough? I know a child deserves stability and continuity and will be counting on me.
• Am I able to support and encourage continued contact with important people in a child’s life including the birth family?
Thank you for your interest in partnering with our agency and for taking the time to review the information. Feel free to contact our Onslow County Department of Social Services foster care licensing social work staff as follows:
John Heinzman, Social Work Supervisor Office# (910) 219-1956 Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Kristy Hill, Social Worker Office# (910) 219-1856 Email address: email@example.com
Jessica Varner, Social Worker Office# (910) 219-1847 Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
DaDonna Coulter, Social Worker Office# (910) 219-1823 Email address: email@example.com
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 1379 Jacksonville, NC 28540
Office Location: 612 College Street, Jacksonville, NC 28540
Frequently Asked Questions:
How many foster homes are needed?
Many. Our goal is to meet the needs of Onslow County’s children. Some of our special needs are homes for teenagers, infants, pregnant teen girls, sibling groups.
Do foster parents have a choice of age, gender, and number of foster children placed in their homes?
Yes. This is dependent on the space available in the home, the Department's decision and the foster parents' preference.
Are foster parents paid for the care of foster children in their homes?
Foster parents receive a monthly reimbursement payment for the child's room & board, clothing, allowance and incidental expenses. Medical and dental expenses are usually covered by Medicaid or by the Department as they occur.
How long will the child remain in a foster home?
It varies, depending on the child's situation. Some children may stay only a short period of time, while others may stay several months or longer.
Do you have to be married or own a home to be a foster parent?
No. You can be married, single, divorced, widowed, etc. You do not have to own a home; however, you must have stable & appropriate housing.
Can foster children be adopted?
Yes. The Department's primary goal is to reunite families. However, when that goal is not able to be achieved, foster parents often become the adoptive placement for the child in their home if the plan is changed to adoption and the child is legally free for adoption.
What legal authority do foster parents have regarding foster children?
None. DSS, as the legal guardian, assumes responsibility for overall planning and initiation of all legal proceedings.
Can foster parents work?
Yes. Funds are available to pay for day care services for foster children at specified day care centers for working foster parents.