Frequently Asked Questions about Foster Care

Q. How long before I can start caring for foster kids in my home?
A. The amount of time the application/training/approval process takes varies. If a family is motivated to complete all the necessary steps quickly, they can be approved in about 4 – 6 months.
Actual placement of children in a home happens after approval. The timeline for placement varies depending upon referrals to Catholic Charities and what the foster family is open to in terms of behaviors, abuse history, ethnicity, and age of children.

Q. What are some reasons families would not be approved?

A. Patterns of crime/arrests are evaluated and may be a reason for denial. There are never any guarantees, but each case is looked at individually and concerns are brought to the applicant’s attention throughout the process. It is very important for the applicant to be honest with Catholic Charities and to establish a trusting relationship.

Q. How many children can be placed with a family?

A. A foster family may care for up to four children, if space in the home allows. A home may have more than four children if a sibling group exceeds four.

Q. Where do the children come from?

A. All the children Catholic Charities’ foster program works with have been abused and/or neglected. The court and/ or the county department of human services has deemed that the home environment was not safe for the children, and they were therefore taken into custody and placed in foster care. Catholic Charities works with all counties in Colorado, but mostly work with counties in the Denver Metro (Jefferson, Arapahoe, Denver).

Q. How old are the foster children?

A. Catholic Charities works with children spanning in age from infants to 18 year olds. Foster families can indicate what age group they are interested in. If a family only wants children from 4 to 9 years old, Catholic Charities would only refer children in that age group to the family. Catholic Charities also works with mutual care placements. These placements are when the child’s parent(s) are also in foster care and both the parent and the child would be staying in the home. An example would be a 16-year-old mother with her 6-month old baby staying with a foster family. The foster family would look after both of them and provide support for the mother to fulfill her treatment plan to become a self-sufficient, appropriate parent for her child.

Q. What about birth parents?

A. The number one goal of foster care is to provide a safe home for children and to hopefully reunite them with their birth families. Human services works closely with the birth family and implements resources needed to help the family be able to parent their children successfully. Foster parents are expected to support this goal and may be asked to transport the child to and from supervised visits with the family, as determined by the court. The county and the court make the final decision if a child should return to their birth parents, or if a plan of adoption needs to be implemented.

Q. Where do the children go if they can’t return home?

A. Once the courts have decided the child cannot return to their birth family, any appropriate relative caregivers are considered. If there are no appropriate relative caregivers, the child is considered legally free for adoption. At this time the current foster family can decide to adopt the child, or other foster-adopt families are considered.

Q. Do foster parents get a break for respite?

A. Catholic Charities believes it is important for foster parents to take a break and recharge in order to take care of themselves, and be able to take care of the children in their care. Currently, Catholic Charities does offer some paid respite for foster families. Respite can vary in length, but can be several hours or several days, when another foster family will take care of the children in your home while you take a break.

Q. What are the responsibilities of foster parents?

A. Foster parents are expected to maintain their file by keeping current copies of medical reports, CPR and first aid training certifications, auto insurance, and other time-limited documents. They are also asked to transport children to and from scheduled appointments (doctor, therapy, family visits, etc.). Foster parents are part of the professional team staffing the child’s case, and provide valuable input about the child to case managers, therapists, and other members of the team.

Q. Is financial assistance available?

A. Foster parents receive a monthly stipend to help with the costs of taking care of this child. The stipend amount is based on the needs assessment of the child. This stipend helps cover the basic costs.

Q. Is there help with transportation?

A. No, foster parents are expected to transport. There is no mileage reimbursement.

Q. What other costs are foster families responsible for?

A. Foster families pay for their background checks, including FBI, CBI, and central registry database. Families are also asked to pay for their first CPR/First aid classes. After that, Catholic Charities may reimburse families for recertification.