Frequently Asked Questions

Have Questions About Foster Care?

Our Recruiter/Trainers field hundreds of calls about foster care every month. This page provides answers to frequently asked questions – please contact us if you have a question that is not listed here.

Why are children placed in foster care?
Most of the children and teens in foster care have experienced child abuse or neglect in some capacity. Each state determines how physical, sexual and emotional abuse are defined, and youth enter foster care if it meets these criteria. Neglect can include physical neglect, medical neglect or lack of supervision. Physical neglect includes but is not limited to failure to provide the child with food, clothing or shelter necessary to sustain the life or health of the child.
Can renters be foster parents?
Yes, renters can be foster parents in most states! Foster parents can reside in single family homes, town homes, or apartments. You need to have adequate space for an additional child, but it doesn’t have to be expansive. You should review your lease agreement and verify with your leasing agent that foster parenting is permitted in the rental.
How old do you have to be to foster parent?
Most states require foster parents to be 21 or older. If you will be working with children with special needs, such as medically fragile, or needing therapy services, the age requirement may be higher.
How much do foster parents get paid?
Foster parents do not get paid. However, children in foster care are provided with “child support” payments form the state to cover their expenses. Because this payment is a reimbursement, it is not considered income so it is not taxed. New Beginnings Family Services reimburses foster parent $20-$80 a day depending on the level of the child. Level 5 reimbursement rate is $80 a day where a basic level child is $20 a day. The amount varies from state to state and sometimes also varies depending on the special needs of the child. A child that is medically fragile or receiving therapy services, may receive more child support than a child that does not utilize those additional services.
Can retired people foster parent?
Yes, retired people can be awesome foster parents! Retirees often make amazing foster parents because they can adjust their schedule to meet the needs of the child in care. They often have wisdom, experience, and patience to work with children. Retired people can be tremendous role models and mentors for kids and can help them to develop their social network to other professional people.
Can foster parents be single?
Yes, foster parents can be single or married. Most states/agencies allow heterosexual or homosexual domestic partners to foster parent, also. Single people can be outstanding foster parents. They can role model independence and resilience. They can often offer attention and devotion to a child.
Can I foster parent if I am on disability?
A person on disability may become a foster parent if the disability does not interfere with the ability to provide care for the child. This will need to be confirmed by your physician and be in accordance with your state regulations.
Who pays for health care for foster children?
Foster parents are NOT responsible for the health care costs of children in foster care. Children in foster care most frequently are covered under the state’s Medicaid program. If children are covered under the health insurance of their parents, then the parents are responsible for the expenses.
Why are so many kids in foster care?
Children are taken into foster care when it is no longer safe for them to remain with their parents. Unfortunately, the cycle of poverty, hopelessness, and addiction has required more children to be removed and placed into care. The system has not been able to keep up with the pace of intakes. This has led to a bloated traffic jam in the courts and foster care rosters causing delays in returning children to parents or delays in seeking alternative permanency placements. In short, as more children come into care, the overloaded system becomes less efficient.
Why do foster parents have to give the kids back?
What if doctors, nurses, teachers, day care providers, and coaches were afraid they would get too attached so there were no hospitals, schools, day care centers, or sports teams? Great doctors, nurses, teachers, day care providers and coaches care deeply about the people they serve, and then have to let them move on, but don’t stop caring. Many foster parents become so connected with the child and the biological family that they are able to stay in contact and offer support even after the children are reunited.
Are teenagers in foster care dangerous?
Many teens in foster care are ready, willing, and able to live with foster families. They need mentoring and independent living skills, such as driving, working, cleaning, cooking, financial management, and network building. Because these teens have experienced trauma, they need caring adults with appropriate expectations and supportive teaching strategies. If teens are not ready to be placed in a foster family environment, they may live in residential facilities with staff.
Will we get to hear about what the children are like and their behaviors before we get the children?
Yes, we will call you and read the referral to you before you say "yes" or "no."
We work full time so will we be able to train on the weekends?
Yes! Our Recruiter/Trainers can work with you and your schedule.
Do you get referrals for younger children?
Yes. Typically they are in sibling groups as younger children don't often have eyes on them to know they need help.
Can I help in other ways other than fostering?
Yes! You could become a respite provider. You can donate clothes, money, toys, hygiene products, and gift cards. You can also sponsor a child for Christmas.
What trainings do I have to do to become a foster parent through New Beginnings?
First, we will schedule an orientation with you, then we will schedule days for training. There are 5 sections for the state training called Building Foundations. There are online modules that you will complete on your own and then there are a few New Beginnings Trainings.
What is the average age of child that you have placed?
Teenagers often needs homes more frequently than younger children. However, we also know there is a need to have homes that will accept school age children or sibling groups.
How can I support or help foster kids and families?
There are so many ways you can help. Check out this website for all the ways you can support our efforts.
Do you provide support opportunities through continuing education or in-person support groups? Is childcare provided during these times?
Yes, we offer ongoing training monthly with different topics each month. Childcare may be provided upon request depending on the ability to provide it in a safe and secure manner.
What is foster care?
All families face challenges at times, and in some instances a wide range of factors can cause parents to become unable to care for their children. Kentucky foster care provides a temporary arrangement for a child when they are not able to live with their biological parents or other natural caregivers. During this time, child welfare professionals work to find the best possible relative, foster family or other placement option for that child until they can safely return home or a permanency plan is identified.
Do you provide special opportunities for foster children such as summer camp, outings/activities, meet-ups?
Yes. We partner with Camp Joy which children can go to on weekends and in the summer time for free. We also have an annual Summer party, Christmas Party, and possible other events throughout the year depending on the office.
Will I need to drive the children to visitation with their family?
If you are able to, yes, but you can get reimbursed for the travel with the children in the car to and from placement.
How many hours of training do you need each year to maintain being a foster parent with New Beginnings Family Services?
What is the main goal of foster care?
Foster care is a temporary arrangement for children and teens when their parents or primary caregivers are going through crisis. When youth cannot remain safely in their homes and must enter foster care, the first goal is to safely reunite them with their families as soon as possible. While several factors can cause a child or teen to enter foster care, abuse and/or neglect are the most common reasons. When social workers and courts determine that a home is unsafe for a child, child welfare agencies work diligently with the family to resolve the conflicts or disruptions that led to the child needing foster care. Intensive, family-centered services are provided by social workers to make progress towards a safe, supportive family.
How many hours of training does it take to be a respite provider?
What are the ages of kids in foster care?
The children range in ages from birth to twenty-one years. Our teenage population has the greatest need for loving families at this time. We also have a need for families to care for sibling groups of three or more children.
How can I help promote the need for more foster families?
Anyone can spread the word about child abuse and neglect prevention. Do you know someone who’d make a great foster or adoptive parent? Refer them to this page
How many children are in foster care in Kentucky?
As of November 2019, there were 9,847 children in out of home care.
What do foster parents do?
Foster parents provide safe and supportive homes for children and teens. Children come into foster care for many different reasons, all of which are not their fault. Foster parents need to provide care and love while keeping reunification in mind. Reunification is when a child can safely return to their birth family that has worked to stabilize their home.
I am interested in becoming a foster parent, where do I even start?
Step 1: Ask Yourself These Questions While some parts of the foster family training and licensing process can take awhile, there are things you can check off the list right now! A few questions you can answer immediately are: -Am I 21 or older? -Do I have reliable transportation? -Is my home a safe environment with enough space for another child (a separate bed for each child)? -Do I agree to positive parenting techniques and non-physical discipline for children? Step 2: Consider the Financial Aspect Worried about the cost of fostering? Don’t fret! Typically, becoming a foster parent requires little to no cost. Many people foster children on modest incomes. In addition, you will be provided with a monthly stipend as a foster parent and the state of Kentucky will cover medical care for the child. You need to show that you have a stable income and that you aren’t receiving any type of financial assistance. Step 3: Undergo Complete Background Checks All foster parents in Kentucky must undergo background checks to help ensure a child’s safety. Everyone in your household must undergo a background check as well. Step 4: Complete 30 Hours of Free Training You must enroll and complete the pre-service training. This course is required by the state for all potential foster parents. The class will help you build skills for caring for children who have experienced neglect or abuse and, as a result, may have physical, emotional or educational difficulties. This is also a great opportunity to decide if fostering is right for you. Want to take the next step - click our CONTACT US button at the top of your screen and we will be in touch.
How long will it take to get licensed?
The classes take about six weeks. From start to finish with the paperwork and background checks and classes, it is about a 12 week or less process.
How long are kids in a foster home?
The amount of time a foster family cares for a child in foster care varies from a few days to a couple years. On average, we safely reunite most children with their families within 12 months, and thus the child’s time in foster care is less than one year. More than half of children who enter foster care are safely reunited with their families. If reunification is not possible due to safety concerns, we will look for an adoptive family to provide continued care, love and stability for the child. It is common for children to be adopted by their foster parents because they have bonded, but every child’s situation is different.
Can I work full time and still be a foster parent?
Yes, many foster parents successfully work full-time jobs while caring for children and teens in need.
Do foster families get a choice in the children they foster?
Yes! Foster parents can specify the age, gender and number of children they are willing to care for and if they are able to care for a child with developmental and/or intellectual disabilities or other special needs. We call you and tell you more about the child’s needs, and you have the opportunity to decide whether you can provide care for that child.
How much does it cost to be a foster parent?
The foster parent training and licensing process is provided at no cost to foster parents. While foster parents volunteer their time to care for a child in foster care, New Beginnings Family Services provides a small daily subsidy to support the needs of each child, paid monthly through direct deposit. Each child receives a medical card when they enter foster care, and some children are also covered under their family’s private insurance. Clothing allowances for all children and childcare for those qualifying are also important benefits. Your NBFS Foster Care Consultant will assist as able with items such as back-to-school supplies, holiday & birthday gifts as well as other individual needs.
Are foster families in contact with birth parents?
Maintaining relationships with the child and his/her family is also a role of a foster parent. With the goal of a safe reunification, a foster parent must respect the connections and keep the child’s life disrupted as little as possible.
Can fostering a child in Kentucky lead to adoption?
It may, but the first goal for children in foster care is reunification with their biological family. When a child’s parental rights have been terminated and a child is legally free for adoption, 89 percent of the time children are adopted by their foster parents.
Can former foster youth become foster parents?
Absolutely! Anyone can be a foster parent who meets the required guidelines.
What is respite care?
Respite care is when a child in foster care stays with another licensed foster parent for a short term stay. Several examples of when respite care may be used are when a foster family is unable to take a child on vacation out of state or if the foster family has an emergency.