Becoming a foster parent is one of the greatest gifts you can give a child. The goal is to provide a stable and nurturing home while working to support quick and safe reunification with the child’s family. Here are three things you may not know about the Foster Care Program of Youth Service Bureau of Illinois Valley.
1. There are certain requirements that families (or individuals) must meet in order to become a foster parent. “A willingness to work as a team with the children’s parents and the caseworker towards reunification is the greatest requirement,” said Jami Valenzuela, Licensing Caseworker at YSB. “In order to become a licensed home, the parent must be 21 or older, single or married. All adults in the home must be fingerprinted, and must pass a background check, routine medical exams, and required training.”
2. People choose to become foster parents for a variety of reasons. “Many people are moved to become foster parents when they see the real-life impact on children and families in need of help,” said Cathy Zeier, Director of Child Welfare at YSB. “People realize how great the need is and the difference that their family can make in their community by opening their home as a temporary shelter. There is high need for foster parents that can serve an entire sibling group, older youth, and crisis cases.”
3. There are very important benefits for the children and for the foster parents. When a child is brought into foster care, they are placed in a home where they are safe from harm, which is the most important thing. “Foster care allows children and parents to maintain a relationship with safe boundaries,” said Zeier. “There is a great community of encouragement.” The state of Illinois provides a monthly financial reimbursement for foster families for the care of youth placed in their home. While foster children may only stay for a short time, the relationships can last a lifetime.
To learn more about becoming a licensed foster parent, contact the YSB licensing team at:
Youth Service Bureau
424 W. Madison
Ottawa, IL 61350