Foster parents can be a valuable resource for children in foster care. As with all parents, foster parents vary greatly in their parenting skills, experiences, and knowledge of children's health care. Their motivations for foster parenting also vary. All must undergo training and certification. Many foster parents go to extreme lengths to obtain all necessary services for their children. Unfortunately, some foster parents are unable to provide appropriate or adequate care. If you have concerns about specific foster parents, notify the local Department of Social Services.
As an alternative to foster care, children may be placed in the home of a relative or friend. These homes are varied and have minimal, if any, supervision by county agencies. Kinship care, the care of children by relatives, may place children in situations not dissimilar to those in the biological family. Because of this, maintain vigilance when examining children in kinship care. Missed appointments and medical, psychological, developmental, or educational concerns should prompt notification of the caseworker.
Important medical information and information pertaining to the child's current well-being are best obtained from the current caregiver of the child. It is important that the foster parent attend medical visits in order to report on the progress of the child. The use of a "transporter" is discouraged.
Questions to Ask the Foster Parents
How long has the child been in your home?
What was the child like when he or she first arrived?
How has the child changed?
How does the child get along with other members of your family?
Does the child visit with his or her parents?
Are these visits supervised?
How does the child behave before and after the visits?
Have you met the biological parents?
Does the child talk about the parents between visits?
How does this child compare with other foster children you have cared for?