Right from the start, foster parents understand that their unique role is to care for children, knowing that the goal is likely to return the child to their birth family, or relatives.
Foster families receive a daily board rate to assist with meeting the needs of each child in their care. In most cases, Medicaid covers the children's medical expenses. Foster parents are required to be actively involved in working with the child and providing assistance in accessing needed services identified in the child's case plan. This may include providing transportation services and working with the child's birth family.
While a child is in foster care, the court retains jurisdiction to ensure that reasonable efforts are made to achieve permanency for the child within the shortest time possible. Decisions must be based upon the best interest of the child. The agency is required to provide periodic reports to update the court on the family's progress. A permanency hearing is held no later than twelve months after the child enters foster care to determine if reasonable efforts have been made by the agency to achieve the permanency plan.
Foster care services continue until the child achieves permanency either through reunification, relative custody, adoption, or another permanent plan. Once permanency is achieved, after care services are provided to ensure the child's smooth transition to the placement. Potential foster parents come in all shapes and sizes: married, single, home owner or apartment resident, with children or without. The basic requirement is the desire to open your home to a child and to provide a safe loving environment. Call us for more info on how to proceed if you would like to be a foster parent.
Even if you are not a foster parent, there are many things you can do to support them in your community. Here are some great ideas from the Florida Department of Children and Families.
Training For Relative Caregivers
The Guardian Assistance Program is a part of the foster care/licensing program with the Florida Department of Children and Families. The program below allows for relative caregivers to become licensed. You will receive some trauma-informed training and once you are licensed, you will receive a higher monthly stipend.
Adoption is a legal action that gives all parental rights to adoptive parents, making the adopted child a legal member of the new family with all the rights and privileges of a biological child. When returning home is not an option, parental rights are terminated and the focus of the KFF staff is to find a forever family for each child. Decisions are made based upon the best interest of the child, and all efforts are directed towards matching the right child with the right parent.
Post Adoption Support
KFF provides services to families in Clay County who are in the process of or have adopted children, including children adopted by relatives/non-relatives, foster parents, through the Interstate Compact on Adoption and Medical Assistance and private adoptions. Pre and post adoption services consists of case management, including referrals to community resources, crisis intervention and counseling. For those wanting to adopt, “Adoption 101 and Adoption 102” classes are also provided. These classes offer an overview of the adoption process. For those who have already adopted, post adoption support group meetings are held monthly at the KFF office.
Prevention services attempt to stop child abuse and neglect from happening in the first place. The best way to prevent abuse and neglect is to support family members and prepare parents with the skills and resources they need to nurture their children. Prevention efforts build on family strengths. Activities provided include parent education, in home services, outreach, community education and parental support.
Prevention efforts help parents develop their parenting skills, understand the benefits of nonviolent discipline techniques, understand and meet their child's emotional, physical, and developmental needs.
One of the most important things you can do to prevent child abuse is to build a positive relationship with your children. Encourage your children. Praise their achievements and talents. Spend time doing things together that you enjoy.
While all attempts are made to keep children in the home with their families sometimes that is not possible. Placement of children in out-of-home care may be needed for a variety of reasons including abuse, neglect, domestic violence, drug and alcohol abuse, and abandonment.
The preferred placement is with an appropriate relative who is willing to provide for the needs of the child. If a relative placement is not available, The CPI and KFF's Placement Coordinator will work together to look for other placement options.
The Placement Coordinator tries to match the needs of the child with the strengths of the foster parent or other placement resource. The coordinator makes contact with all identified resources to determine their ability to accept the child. All efforts are made to place the child in close proximity to family members, their school, and community. When the local community is not an option, the closest suitable placement to meet the child's needs is located.
Each year there are approximately 2500 calls to the hotline involving Clay County families and issues of abuse, neglect or abandonment. Child Protection Investigators (CPI) from the Department of Children and Families are responsible for investigating those calls. KFF works with the CPI's when the need for services has been determined.
Once the family is referred to KFF by the CPI unit, trained professionals meet directly with individuals or family members to identify the cause of their difficulties. Counselors involve the family in creating realistic and practical solutions to resolve the issues identified during the investigation.
Services may include working with a family services counselor to resolve conflicts and improve communication between family members, becoming involved in a parenting class to learn behavior management strategies, participating in a children's therapy group to enhance self- esteem and improve coping skills, or receiving intensive in-home therapy to overcome a family crisis.
Protective supervision services can be voluntary or court ordered. Voluntary supervision is offered to families in situations where the child is at low risk for future maltreatment. Court ordered services are necessary in situations where the risk of further maltreatment is present.
Through the Independent Living Program, we work to provide these young adults with the assistance they may need to thrive.
The goal of Independent Living Program is to improve the success of foster youth transitioning into adulthood from the foster care system. Services and supports are provided to Clay County youth leaving the dependency system to better prepare these young adults for the challenges and opportunities ahead.