This past weekend I finished the last of the Resource and Adoptive Parent Training (RAPT) classes & wanted to quickly explain what each of them were. RAPT1 was an introduction into foster care. We discussed what to expect from this process, terminology that will frequently be used, and how we as foster parents can be most effective. RAPT2 was an online training about child abuse and neglect. Word to the wise, DON’T take this 4 hour class before going to bed. You’ll have crazy dreams & wake up in a funk. It covered the different types of abuse and neglect. RAPT3 was a much more light-hearted class that taught us more about how to care for these children, what to expect from them behavior wise, etc. Overall, they were very interesting classes but I’m glad to have them done. Now just have to finish up the rest of the regular trainings (CPR certification, First Aid & Universal Precautions, Bloodborne Pathogens) & pass the home study and I’ll be finished! Wish me luck. 🙂
Those of you interested in pursuing foster parenting will need to prepare for an insane amount of research into who you are currently & your personal history. Here are some of the background checks, etc. that I’ve gone through during this process:
- Multiple Criminal Background Checks
- Child Protective Services History Check
- FBI Finger Print Scan/Search
- 4 References (positive of course & from non-relatives)
The FBI finger print scan was an interesting experience. I scheduled it the other day for 3pm at DCS. Got there about 15 minutes early & killed some time in the parking lot listing to the radio. I decided to go ahead and head inside to “wait” for my appointment. Upon arrival I was immediately ushered down a hallway to a tiny room in the back…to be fair, it was more like a closet. I’ll admit, I was a little disappointed that I didn’t have to ink my fingers like you see in old movies. The FBI is pretty high tech in real life. The scan took about 60 seconds & I was outta there before 3 o’clock! So far so good!!
Interestingly enough, did you know there are multiple kinds of Foster Care? I didn’t! When I first started thinking about doing this, I got a referral from a friend at Church for a local agency that specializes in Therapeutic Foster Care. The name of the organization is The Villages. I merely thought…”oh how cool, the parents are in counseling while their kids are away & it will help them get ’em back faster. That’s awesome!” Not so much. As it turns out, The Villages focuses on arguably the toughest kind of Foster Care. I learned that there are essentially three levels of care. – 1. Kinship Care, 2. Foster Care, & 3. Therapeutic Foster Care. – The way I understand it is say hypothetically a child was removed from their biological parents. The case worker would first try to find a family member to place the child with (Kinship Care). If that isn’t a possibility, the child is then placed with a regular foster family. Should said child have severe behavioral issues/physical or mental developmental delays/or even serious medical conditions, they are placed with Therapeutic Foster Care families. As you would think, there is a lot more training required to be licensed for this type of care. Thus these families are able to provides kids with the appropriate level of care.
After asking the Villages social worker a gazillion questions, running each scenario by my family, and lots of prayer…I decided that starting out with the hardest kind of care is more than I want to tackle at this point. I would hate to commit to T.F.C., get placed with a child & then it turn out to be too much for me to handle. In the best interests of the kids…I’m going to try testing the waters first before I jump off the high dive. Hopefully in the future, after I’ve had some experience doing this for a while, I can think about transitioning into Therapeutic Foster Care. For more information about regular foster care, you can contact your county Department of Child Services (DCS) directly.
If you think you might be interested in more information about The Villages, please click here –> The Villages
You’re probably wondering, “What the heck is he thinking”?? Or possibly “Why would you want to do something like that?” Well trust me…I’ve asked myself similar questions & answered without hesitation. A while back, there was a message given at my church regarding the huge number of needy children within a few mile radius of its location. And if each Northview family could bring just one child into their lives we could essentially fill the needs for that entire number of children. (Or at least that’s I remember the story going) For several years now, I’ve had it on my heart to step up and do something about it. To commit to giving them a safe & stable home while they need it. To unconditionally love them for as long as I have them. I always thought this would happen one day in the “future”. You know what I’m talking about…that place in time where we all envision our lives being “perfect”. Where we’ve accomplished or done everything we’d ever hoped to do. I’ve come to realize that waiting around for that “perfect” time is unrealistic. There is a need for it right now & I have the ability to help. So through a series of several interesting months & a lot of serious consideration…I’ve decided to take the plunge. That’s right…I’m going to be a foster parent!!
This is, without question, going to be the most incredible experience of my life & I can’t wait to share it with my friends and family. With that being said, I’ve decided to document my journey via this blog. I hope it will bring light to the serious need in our community for foster parents…and better yet, maybe even get some of you to join in as well! Please follow me on this crazy adventure. There’s sure to be lots of laughs, possibly a few tears & countless learning opportunities. So buckle up. Keep all arms and legs inside the vehicle at all times. It’s bound to be a bumpy ride…but here we go!! 🙂