As of 2017, there are 10,500 children in the North Carolina foster care system. This number has been steadily increasing over time, and the need for foster parents in North Carolina is evident.
If you or someone you know is interested in becoming a foster parent, AGAPE of North Carolina would love to help you begin that journey. Below are some frequently asked questions regarding foster parenting and AGAPE’s role in foster care.
1. What are AGAPE’s requirements for foster parenting?
Foster parents must be at least 21 years old
Foster parents must be in good health
Foster parents must be Christians
If married, foster parents must have been married for at least two years.
Both parents are permitted to work outside the home.
Foster parents can be single parents.
2. What is the process for licensure?
AGAPE abides by state regulations and agency guidelines to match children with foster families. Families who are interested in fostering will submit an application and will be contacted by a caseworker.
The caseworker assigned to you and/or your family will begin the evaluation process, which will typically take about three months. This process will include interviews, home inspections, and background checks.
At the end of the process, the caseworker will give your family guidelines regarding the number of children that can be in the home, the ages of the child(ren), and any specifications regarding gender or special needs.
3. What children are in foster care?
Most children in foster care have been removed temporarily from their homes due to a threat to their safety (i.e. abuse or neglect). Additionally, some children in foster care have been given to an adoption agency, and are in foster care during the legal process of terminating parental rights.
The age range of children in foster care can span from newborn to 18 years old. Some children are placed individually, while others are part of a sibling group. The majority of foster children have experienced some type of physical and/or emotional trauma, and therefore are in need of a stable, loving environment, even if that home is temporary.
4. How long will the placement be?
The time spent in foster care varies from child to child. Some children are in care for a few days, while others are in care for years. The average AGAPE placement is in care for about eight months. During the licensing process, potential foster families will be able to discuss what placement lengths are preferred for them and their family.
5. How will I prepare to foster for the first time?
You will not be walking into your first placement unprepared. During the licensing process, potential foster parents will complete 30 hours of training that is specific to the age and situation of the child who will be placed.
After fostering begins, AGAPE staff is still on-call to help with any questions or concerns, and caseworkers will routinely be visiting and checking in with you and your family to provide guidance.
6. Is there financial compensation?
While foster parenting is a volunteer-based experience, AGAPE does provide reimbursement per month, per child to compensate for expenses directly related to the child and his or her care.
This reimbursement is meant to cover the basic needs of the child, and may change depending on age or situation (for example, older children may receive a clothing allowance). Additionally, foster families are not responsible for paying for the child’s medical expenses.
7. How do I get started?
If you, or someone you know is interested in foster care, contact AGAPE of NC at 919-673-7816, or visit our website at agapeofnc.org.
Your first meeting with AGAPE is not an obligatory commitment to foster care, and will consist of talking through information to figure out if fostering is right for you and your family.
We would love to hear from you!