Foster Parent Licensing
Are you interested in becoming a foster parent? All foster parents must be licensed. However, before seeking to become licensed, you will need to meet all of these requirements, as outlined below by the Ohio Department of Job & Family Services:
Preventing or Minimizing the Risk of an Allegation
If you live your life in fear of an allegation, you will find yourself undermining your role of being a good parent to the child.
Even though you can never prevent an allegation from coming upon your family, you can look at the reasons parents often come under allegations in order to minimize the risk of allegations. You can also evaluate or seek more training on how to deal with these concerns.
Using appropriate and approved Child Rearing Techniques:
• Never use or threaten to use spanking as a means of discipline. Spanking cannot be done by non-parent guardians and is prohibited by licensing regulations. A foster parent must be a model of appropriate behavior and a teacher of problem-solving and communication skills to the children.
• Discipline guidelines for foster children are very different than for our permanent children. Get all the training you can on how to use good behavior management techniques to keep your house under control.
Victims of abuse experience fear, anxiety, loneliness, and emotional lack of support. This happens by being ignored, degraded and humiliated. Being in care can create feelings of being unloved, unwanted, and powerless. This places children-in-care at high risk of being emotionally abused.
• Since children-in-care have already been displaced by their removal from their family, foster parents must be cautious not to create situations that increase the children-in-care’s feelings of displacement. When something is given to a child-in-care, it should not be taken away to meet another’s wants or needs. For example, if a relative comes to visit, a child-in-care should not be displaced from their bed by having them give up their bed to the relative who has come to visit.
• More information on emotional abuse can be found at: CWIG.Emotional Abuse
Putting Kids in Unsafe/Inappropriate Positions:
• Be sure to room children inappropriately.
• Be sure to travel safely by car. There should always be proper seat restraints, with one seatbelt per child. Always! Our kids may not like to use the seat belts, but a few minor “battles” or getting some place late while we wait for them to comply is really worth it.
• Be aware of safety features in the home:
o Are cleaning supplies secured?
o Do windows open? (In the case of an emergency exit).
o Are fire exits clear at all times?
• Keep all alcohol and medication in a locked and secure place within the household. Do daily safety checks and make sure all hazardous materials are put away. Safety guidelines can never be compromised.
• Make sure there are no areas a child can be locked in or lock themselves into, or lock you out.
Breaking any of the “thousands of rules” of foster care can lead to an allegation and may, at least, lead to a conversation and putting in place a correction action plan. Sharing confidential Information with unauthorized persons is often a problem for new foster parents. You must learn how to deal appropriately with the curiosity of your neighbors and how to curb your natural interest in sharing your life with friends and others. It takes some work. Ask experienced foster parents for their advice on issues that you experience. Here, again, having access to a network of support is key to effective foster parenting. It helps to minimize the risk of allegations and it provides you with the necessary support if allegations are made against you.
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