With more than 700 independent fostering agencies and trusts offering fostering services, choosing the foster care agency is a tough decision. The significance of sound foster care agency can’t be overemphasized. It is time-consuming but worth it. Here are six things to look for when choosing a foster care agency:
1.Responsiveness: As foster parents, you will need to contact the agency several times. The agency should respond quickly and offer the required support whenever necessary. The best way to know this by assessing how they react before you join. When you make a call at their office, do they respond timely or you end up in an endless loop of voicemail with people taking several days to get back to you. The agency that treats you like this, in the beginning, will not be any different after you sign the contract. So, avoid selecting such agencies.
2.Personal attention: When you first get in touch with the agency, how much individual attention do you get? Does the foster care agency invite you for a one-to-one session with a counselor, or do they heard you into group orientations? You will have several questions to ask; therefore, you need time to ask them. If the organization can’t give you a few hours up front to know you how can you expect them to make the proper placement of children in your home in times to come.
3. Agency tour: All foster homes look good in brochures and online websites. But remember there is no substitute for taking a personal trip of the organization. Ensure that the place is welcoming and clean, has adequate staff, and offer support groups. Take a walk through their facility to know how the organization works.
4.Opportunities and programs for children: For the overall development of the child, it is critical to have not only a loving foster family but also a supportive community. The community should allow families to connect with other children and learn alongside them. It is better to look for a foster home that has year-round activities and celebrations so that everyone feels like one large family. Foster parents get the chance to connect with children and other foster parents as well.
5.On-site childcare: Proper foster care should have a lot of classes and support groups. While you are participating in the sessions, the kids can participate in fun activities. Also, check what kind of assistance is offered by the organization.
6. Supportive community: The foster home should provide the necessary support and encouragement. Check if they have dedicated home supervisors to help you throughout the process. Also, ask do they offer opportunities for foster parents to get together and share their experiences.
In the end, remember every agency is different; you need to choose the one that suits your needs. Decide whether you prefer a community-oriented agency or education opportunities oriented. It is best to look for the agency that reflects your intentions to ensure a smoother experience.