Who are foster children?

Foster children are children who have been at least temporarily removed from their homes because of abuse, abandonment or neglect. In addition, infants who test positive for drugs at birth are detained and placed into foster homes. Foster children are much like your children, nieces or nephews, but with very different experiences. They are frequently filled with anger, confusion, fear, and a sense of powerlessness because they’ve been removed from the only home they have known. Sadly, foster children often blame themselves for the abuse or neglect, leaving them with a sense of shame and low self-esteem.

Do I have to own my own home? What if I'm a renter?

You do not need to be a homeowner. Renting is fine. We are more concerned with finding a stable living arrangement with adequate space.

What is my family is a non traditional family?

Inner Circle does not discriminate against anyone based on age, gender identity, gender expression, socioeconomic status, religion, ethnicity or sexual orientation.

What if I'm a single parent? Does this mean I cannot become a certified parent?

No. Inner Circle recognizes that single parents can give a great deal and provide high quality care to children. However, more emphasis and planning are invested into solidifying a child care plan, including after school care and daycare for school vacations and holidays.

What do certified parents do?

The foster family provides the home environment in which a child can safely fulfill their physical, emotional, spiritual and cultural potentials, therefore becoming responsible adults. Foster Parents are an active part of the treatment team. They provide food, clothing, housing, supervision, recreation, and transportation to needed services such as therapy, doctor and dental visits. Most of all, foster parents provide nurturance, stability and love.

What does Inner Circle do as an agency?

Inner Circle is a private, non-profit, state licensed corporation that contracts with the County of Los Angeles to provide safe and loving foster homes for abused, abandoned and/or neglected children. Inner Circle provides educational training for foster parents, social work support, monitoring of court ordered birth parent visits, and acts as the liaison between the foster parents, birth parents, and county social worker. Inner Circle provides this support 24 hours a day.

How many children can share a room? Can a boy and a girl share a room? As a parent, can I share my room with a child?

State licensing regulations state that no more than 4 children per room share a bedroom, regardless of the size of the room. A boy and girl may share a room as long as both children are under the age of 5. As a parent, you can share your room with an infant, age 0 to 2.

Can I pick the age, gender & ethnicity of the child I'd like to work with?

Yes. Inner Circle places children of all ethnicities from newborn to the age of 18. You must decide who will fit best in your family, based on your child care accommodations and natural children you may already have in your home.

What do I do if the child gets sick or hurt? What about health insurance?

Foster children are automatically covered under Medi-Cal for their medical and dental needs. You will receive a health insurance card for the child at the time of placement.

Will I receive financial help?

Yes. You will receive a generous monthly stipend meant to reimburse you for most, if not all, expenses incurred during the month while caring for the child/children. As the child increases in age, so does the stipend. Foster families must be able to support themselves and/or their families outside of the foster care monies.

Can I adopt the child/ children who are placed in my home?

Possibly. Once the courts have determined that the child will not be able to return to the birth family the foster or fost-adopt parents are given the first option to adopt that child/children. This is how foster parenting has become another, often quicker, way to adopt a child. However, as a foster parent, at the time of placement, we cannot guarantee that the child placed in your home will be freed for adoption. It is impossible to predict whether the parents or extended family members will be able to reunify at the time of placement. Therefore, there is an inherent emotional risk involved in accepting a foster child into your home.

How long does it take to become a certified foster or fost-adopt parent?

Typically, becoming a certified foster or fost-adopt family takes two to three months. The length depends on how motivated you are to get started. The training course, the background items (i.e. fingerprinting), the securing of your home (i.e. locking of guns, medicines, poison, etc.), the home study, and the completion of training questionnaires can be accomplished rather rapidly or can be prolonged for months.

How long does it take to get a child placed in my home?

There is no definitive answer to that question. It really depends. The more open you are to accepting children of varied age ranges, genders, and ethnicities, the quicker the placement(s) may be. Conversely, the narrower the range, the wait time may increase. However, Inner Circle has been able to place into families the day following certification on the narrowest of ranges while other families, who have fairly open ranges, have waited several weeks. It really just depends.

How much will it cost me to become a certified foster or fost-adopt parent/family?

Inner Circle does not charge for its services. There are no fees charged to attend trainings or to have your Home Study conducted. However, there are some fees charged to complete the certification process, i.e. fingerprinting fees, DMV printout, CPR, First Aid, and Water Safety certification.

How do I know if foster or fost-adopt parenting is right for my family and me?

• Can you love and care for a child who has come from a difficult background?
• Can you help a child feel that they belong in your home, even if their stay may be temporary?
• Can you love a child who, because of a fear of rejection, does not easily make loving gestures?
• Are you secure in yourself and your parenting skills?
• Can you set clear limits, and be both firm and kind while disciplining?
• Do you view bed-wetting, lying, defiance, and minor destructiveness as symptoms of a
child in need?
• Can you accept assistance and guidance from trained social workers?
• Can you maintain a positive attitude toward a child’s parents; even though many of the
problems the child is experiencing are direct results of the parent’s actions?

If you can say, “Yes” or “Probably” to these questions, then there are children out there who need you.

What qualifications do I need to become a certified parent?

Certification checklist (foster parent / fost-adopt)

    1. Fingerprint Clearance for each Adult in home
      Taken at Live Scan site- $55 Foster, $65 Adoption – Multiple locations Inner Circle provides Live Scan form and protocol
    2. DMV Printout
      Request from the Department of Motor Vehicles- $5.00 fee required by the DMV
    3. Babysitting/Additional caretaker plan/Transportation plan
      Must have two other adults fingerprint cleared and CPR/FA certified who can care for the child/children in your absence.
    4. Proof of Insurance
      All vehicles- minimum liability required by law. Homeowner’s or Renter’s Insurance- Must have $300,000 liability
    5. Physical Exam and TB Test
      Inner Circle provides the form
    6. Community First Aid and Infant, Child, and Adult CPR
      $40 fee charged by outside contractor for both the CPR and First Aid training
    7. Community Water Safety Certification
      Taught by Red Cross 800-627-7000- $45
    8. Four Personal References for each Foster Parent
      Inner Circle provides the form (No relatives please)
    9. Completion of Foster Parent Training Modules
      Including all paperwork and questionnaires passed out during training Sessions. Classes are taught in both a weekend and evening format to accommodate working parents
    10. Completion of Adoption Trainings
      Building Families #1 and Building Families #2, in that order
    11. Home Study
      In-home interview (Both potential foster parents must be present in two parent homes.)
    12. Home Inspection (Overview-This list is not exhaustive)
      • A-B-C Fire Extinguisher mounted in the home
      • Smoke detectors in each bedroom and one in the hallway
      • First Aid Kit
      • Earthquake Kit
      • Secure: Knives, Chemicals, Alcohol, and anything marked “Keep out of the reach of Children”
      • Lock (Lock and Key): medicine, poison, firearms, and ammo

Don’t worry! Inner Circle’s Recruiting/Training Department will help you through the entire process.