Fostering FAQ

faqWe know that becoming a foster parent is a big decision. Below you will find the answers to some commonly asked questions. If you don’t see what you’re looking for here, please CONTACT US.

 


  • Foster Parents must be willing to care for children and teenagers by providing them with emotional support and stability as well as meeting physical needs.
  • Be a legal Tennessee resident at least 25 years of age
  • Complete a comprehensive Pre-Service Training Program
  • Have dependable automobile with proof of liability insurance
  • Have a viable source of income
  • Comply with a criminal background check
  • Comply with a home study
  • Be able to provide a safe living environment

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The majority of the youth in the Centerstone Family Centered Services Program range in age from 12-18 years old. We do occasionally have younger children referred to the program and have served children as young as one year. Often, when these younger children are admitted, it is as a part of a sibling group. We are finding the need for the younger population is indeed growing, however, most of the children we serve will fall in the 12-18 range.

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Apprehension about becoming a resource family is a very normal feeling. It’s good to take the responsibility seriously and realize that it is a big commitment. Families and children need support in many forms. We need individuals who are willing to be a “big brother or big sister” to the children. This would involve doing fun activities with them, taking them to fill out job applications, helping to teach them independent living skills such as budgeting, cooking, job skills, etc. There is also a need for people who would be willing to transport children to appointments, babysit, tutor, and many other things. If you have some time and the desire to help a child but you’re just not in a position of becoming a foster parent, mentoring would be a great way to become involved in the life of a child.

We also need families to provide respite services. Respite care is temporary, short-term care for children (10 days or less at a time.) Respite care is needed when a child’s foster family has a family emergency, goes on a family vacation, becomes ill, or just needs a break. Respite parents have to be trained and screened just as foster parents do but the commitment is not as great because the children are only with you for short periods of time.

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Married couples as well as single persons are encouraged to become Foster Parents. The most important requirement is that you are able to provide the supervision that the children placed in your home need. Children in Foster Care have very specific requirements in regards to supervision so as long as those needs are met, being a single parent does not pose a problem at all.

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As stated above, Foster Parents go through an extensive screening and training process. This consists of a background check including fingerprinting. Also, potential families go through PATH training (“Parents As Tender Healers”). This is a curriculum designed to educate families about children in “the system” and how to understand and help them deal with the issues that they face. You also receive training on dealing with the more specialized issues that teens in custody face. Training can be done in a variety of formats but the preferred method is an approximately nine-week course with classes once a week.

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A home study consists of interviews with family members and a literal “study” of your relationships, your history and the physical space that the children placed with you will be living in. The interviews, which are designed to help us get to know you, your history and your reasons for wanting to do foster care, will help us assess if you will be a good match for the teens in our program. It also serves as a forum for you to make informed decisions about whether or not foster care is the right choice for you. The other part of this process involves our Foster Care Coordinator coming in and looking at your home to see where the child will be living and assessing the safety of the home and neighborhood.

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The youth in the Centerstone Family Centered Services Program range in age from 12-18 years old. All children are in the custody of the state of Tennessee. Occasionally, we will take younger children into our program and have served children as young as one year. When these children do come into the program, it is often in sibling groups.

Children come into “the system” for a variety of reasons. Many have been abused or neglected in some way. Some have behavioral issues that stem from this neglect and abuse. Our therapists and case managers will help you work with them to deal with those issues and become responsible young adults who are able to move past their circumstances. Many children have the goal of being reunified with their birth families and will be in your home while working on that relationship. Others will be working toward independent living skills and preparing to enter the world as a young adult.

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Foster Families are reimbursed for services provided for the teens in their home. Rates are based on the level of need that the child has and can be anywhere from $800 – $1300 a month depending upon the need of the child. (The average monthly stipend is $1050). Additional reimbursements are also available for special services provided that exceed the regular rate. This money is non-taxable and is not reported as income on yearly tax returns. It pays for room and board, transportation and other needs that the child has.

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Before you ever have a child in your home, you will go through extensive educational preparation. After you are on board, you will continue to receive ongoing training offered on a monthly basis. This is a chance for you to connect with other foster families and to keep learning about how to better help the children in your care.

Therapeutic services are at the core of our program. All children have case management services available to them and to you 24-7. Case Managers meet with children on a regular basis to ensure children get the services they need and to assist you in dealing with any issues that arise as you are parenting the child. Children also have therapists who visit them in the home (children can also attend counseling sessions at our outpatient service centers if more specialized counseling is called for).

Centerstone is a not-for-profit provider of community-based behavioral health care. We are committed to helping Foster Families meet all the needs of the children in the program.

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Please CLICK HERE to download a preliminary application packet. You can also call 615.604.9163 or e-mail questions to our coordinator at: fostercare@centerstone.org

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