Foster Care & Licensing
Foster care is temporary care. The goal of foster care is to reunite a child with his/her birth parents or relatives whenever possible. Matching the needs of each child to the special strengths of each foster family is one of the major considerations when placing a child. The home community is also considered so the child may continue to attend his/her school. The length of time a child is placed in a foster home varies in each situation, but the goal is for a child to be in foster care for as short a time as possible. Permanency is achieved through returning home, adoption, guardianship, or independence.
Foster care services that are provided by Bethany for Children & Families (licensed and contracted by the Illinois Department of Children & Families) are supported 24-hours a day by experienced case managers and master's-level supervisors.
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 Family care and fictive kin 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. Relative Family Care is where children are placed in the home of a licensed relative. Children may be placed in Fictive Kin Care with any individual, unrelated by birth or marriage, who is shown to have a close, personal or emotional tie to the child or child's family.
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
To become a foster parent, a licensing representative works with you to obtain a foster care license for your home. The training and licensing process usually takes three to six months. After licensing and training are completed, children may be placed in your home. Annual continuing education to enhance skills is also required.
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:
Personal items; and
Normal transportation costs.
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. Each foster child receives a medical card that pays for medical care and prescriptions. Daycare services may also be covered.
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.