Foster Care & Licensing

Foster care is temporary care. The goal is to reunite the child with their birth parents or relatives whenever possible. Matching the needs of each child to the special strengths of each foster family is another major consideration. When locating a foster care placement, the child's home community is first considered so the child may attend the same school. Permanency is achieved through Return Home, Adoption, Guardianship, or Independence. The length of time a child will be placed in a foster home will vary for each situation, but the goal is for a child to be in foster care as short a time as possible.

Foster care services provided by Bethany for Children & Families (licensed and contracted by the Illinois Department of Children & Family Services) are supported 24 hours a day by experienced case managers and master's-level supervisors. Training is required for foster parents at all levels of care, as well as annual continuing education to enhance their skills.

No fees are charged to the client if referrals are from the Illinois Department of Children & Family Services.

Traditional Foster Care

Traditional Foster Care serves children who have been determined to be abused, neglected, or dependent, and who are in need of an out-of-home placement.

Relative Foster Care

Relative Foster Care serves children who have been determined to be abused, neglected, or dependent, or who are in need of an out-of-home placement, or are being stepped down from a more intensive placement to be placed in the home of a licensed relative.

Specialized Foster Care

Specialized Foster Care serves children who have been determined to be abused, neglected, or dependent. The children have significant behavioral, developmental, or emotional issues. They require more intensive services and monitoring, or may be in the process of being stepped down from placement.

Foster Care Home Licensing

Bethany for Children & Families provides supervision and guidance to applicant foster parents and/or adoptive parents in Illinois for foster home/adoption-only licensing.

Qualifications to Become a Foster Parent

Foster parents must be stable, law abiding, responsible, mature individuals. Foster parents must be at least 21 years of age. Being a foster parent requires a lot of patience and understanding. Foster children have many needs that can be challenging for an agency or for a foster family to meet. Each person has many strengths and skills and can make a unique contribution to a child's life.

Process to Become a Foster Parent

A licensing representative will be assigned to work with you to obtain a foster care license for your home and schedule you for a required free training. After licensing and training are completed, children may be placed in your home.

Financial Assistance for Foster Parents

The reimbursement amount is based upon the type of foster care program the child is in, the age of the child, and any special needs the child may have. Foster parents receive a monthly reimbursement to cover the costs of the child's:

  • Food

  • Shelter

  • Ongoing clothing

  • Personal allowances

  • Personal items

  • Normal transportation costs

There may also be additional payments for daycare services.

A Story of Success from Clients of Foster Care

Bridget always felt anxious and worried. Her boyfriend’s bouts of anger had escalated to raging violence. Drinking after a fight calmed her, but it became a vicious cycle: violence, then a few drinks. She would down a couple to build up her courage before heading home. She’d had run-ins with law enforcement for drinking, and her neighbors heard the fighting and called 911. Too many times.

Her home wasn’t safe for her daughter. They removed baby Sarah from her home. Bridget shook her head, trying to wrap her mind around a horrible fact: her home was unsafe for her baby. She could not protect herself or Sarah. Sarah was gone.

Sarah was placed with a foster family in Bethany’s foster care program. Although she missed her terribly, Bridget was relieved that Sarah was in a safe environment, beyond the reach of violence. To regain custody of her daughter and control of her life, Bridget had to act quickly and decisively. She met with Tara, the Bethany case manager responsible for Sarah’s care. Together, they developed a plan of action.

Bridget immediately ended her dangerous relationship. Tara recommended mental health and substance abuse services. Bridget learned to manage anxiety, became educated about domestic violence, attended Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, and learned how to protect herself and her daughter. After ten months, Bridget earned home visits with Sarah.

Bridget worked with Tara to meet the requirements of aftercare services – follow-up care that would ensure that Bridget and Sarah had a safe home environment. Sarah is back at home, and Bridget vows to keep her safe from future harm.