What is foster home care?
Foster home care is a safe, temporary placement providing 24-hour-a-day substitute care for children in Oklahoma Department of Human Services custody. Thousands of children each year are placed by the court, for various reasons, in the custody of OKDHS. The children range in age from birth to 18 years and are all races, cultures and religions. Many times the children are in sibling groups needing to be placed together. Some of the children are physically, mentally or emotionally challenged. A child may have suffered from physical abuse, sexual abuse, mental abuse or severe neglect by a person who is responsible for the child. The child’s parents may have been arrested and put in jail. Whatever the circumstances, each child has a story. Each child has many strengths and also many needs. They all need a safe, temporary place to live and tender loving care until they can return home or move to a permanent placement.
What type of behaviors could I be dealing with?
Every child has different needs. We see everything from ADHD, to autism, to depression, and many more types of needs. Most children are removed from their homes for neglect or abuse. The abuse may have been physical, emotional, sexual, or a combination.
Do I have the right to accept or decline a child offered through foster care?
Yes. As part of the application process, you will be asked to complete a checklist indicating the ages and types of children you are willing to accept. Once you are approved, when a child or siblings are in need of placement, the worker will provide non-identifying information to help a foster family decide whether they are willing to accept a particular child into their home.
Can I work and be a foster parent?
Yes, many foster parents are employed. OKDHS pays for child care for a foster child when both foster parents or a single foster parent works 20 or more hours a week outside the home.
Can single parents become foster parents?
Absolutely! We have a number of single foster parents working with our agency.
How much money do you need to make to be a foster parent?
You must demonstrate that you can support self and family outside of any reimbursement for foster care.
Will I need to go to training?
Yes. Foster parents are required to complete 27 hours of pre-service training which includes 6 hours of Behavior Crisis Management Training before being approved. Then they must complete 12 hours of additional training per calendar year.
Will I get paid to be foster parent?
Foster parents are not paid a salary. They receive a monthly reimbursement to help meet the needs of the foster children based on set rates. Our foster parents put in a lot of effort into their work with these kids; they really deserve it.
How much do you get paid for foster children?
It depends on the level of care and the age of the child. All foster care reimbursement is non-reportable and non-taxable. There is also a big tax break for foster parents who have children placed in their home for 6 months or longer.
Traditional Foster Care
Therapeutic Foster Care (TFC)
Intensive Family Treatment Care (ITFC)
We also provide paid respite care for TFC and ITFC Foster Families.
What is the difference between Therapeutic and Traditional foster care?
For the Traditional program, you must be at least 21 years of age, pass a criminal background check,
and have adequate income for support of your own family. There is also some training that is required
which we provide for free and at your convenience.
The Therapeutic program is one that requires a higher level of care for the children. There is more training that is required and you will have access to one of our therapists 24/7. Just like the Traditional program you must be at least 21 years of age, pass a criminal background check, and have adequate income for support of your own family. At least one parent must have his or her high school diploma or GED.
What is Intensive Family Treatment Care?
Intensive Family Treatment Care (ITFC) is a unique foster care program developed by the most experienced foster care agencies in the State of Oklahoma. It's developed to serve one child at a time and provide the highest level of treatment for children that need quality training, therapy and attention. Not everyone qualifies to be an ITFC foster parent. You must meet all the requirements above for Traditional and Therapeutic foster care. Also, for ITFC Foster Care one foster parent must be a "stay-at-home" parent. This program requires a GED, High School Diploma and some college experience or a year of foster care experience. We would love to talk to you more about our ITFC Program to see if you qualify. Please call our agency for any additional questions at 918-967-8223.
Can I foster several children at a time?
Often, children enter the Child Welfare system as a sibling group and need to be placed together. A maximum of six children including your own can be in your home at one time, but no more than five OKDHS custody children can be placed.
What if the foster child needs to go to the doctor?
Children in OKDHS custody receive a medical card that covers most medical expenses and prescription medication for foster children within the scope of the Oklahoma Health Care Authority programs. Foster parents are expected to transport foster children to the doctor.
How can I discipline a foster child?
OKDHS policy does not allow any person to administer corporal punishment to a child in OKDHS custody. This includes the foster parent, child care staff, school officials or any other person who has contact with the child. OKDHS policy does allow using time out and taking away privileges, among other tools.
What is the foster family assessment?
During the family assessment process, a social worker makes several visits to your home to obtain information about you and your family. You and all adults in your home are required to consent to a criminal background check. You are also required to complete an application, a financial statement and provide a medical statement from the doctor of your choice. You need to provide personal references. If you have adult children they are contacted, as well as your current employer. If you have school-age children, their schools are also contacted. Military service will be verified.
Will I have to work with the child’s parent?
Yes. You may have to work with the child’s birth parent. The OKDHS Foster Parent Program is comprised of a team of persons working together to do what is in the best interest of children. Foster parents are critical members of the team. The goal of a child placed in OKDHS custody is to achieve safety and permanency as soon as possible which includes working with the child’s parents towards reunification.
Do foster children have to have their own bedroom?
No, they do not. They must have their own bed and cannot share a bed with any adult. They can share a bedroom with same sex children and can sleep with their sibling as long as they are 6 years old and under. They cannot share a bed with other children that are not siblings and they cannot share a bedroom with children of the opposite sex.