Foster Care Frequently Asked Questions
1. Do I get to choose the child who lives in our home?
Absolutely! Prior to accepting a child into your home, IMPACT’s professional staff does a thorough review of all materials and personally interviews the child. If considered appropriate for foster care, you will receive all of the referral material which IMPACT has been provided. Occasionally, you may also have the option of meeting the youth and having them stay for a brief trial period in your home before you make a decision.
2. What type of child does IMPACT serve?
The vast majority of IMPACT’s youth are between the ages of 10-21 (with occasional outliers who may be younger) and are referred by County Offices of Children and Youth Services or Juvenile Probation Offices. We contract on an annual basis with upwards of 30 of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties as well as the State of Delaware.
3. What kind of financial reimbursement can I expect?
The Federal Government has determined that all foster parent monies are free from taxes. If a youth remains in your home for a full year you would receive approximately $10,000 of tax-free money per child. You are also reimbursed for their allowance monies, some travel expenses, clothing and certain activities.
4. How do I get paid?
You receive a monthly reimbursement check on the last day of the month, based on the number of days a youth lives in your home.
5. Must I pay for a child’s medical, dental or prescription needs?
No. In most cases the child’s medical assistance or their natural parent’s private insurance will cover the expenses. If not, the county will agree to reimburse the agency. Occasionally, you may have to pay for a prescription or co-pay in which case you will be fully reimbursed.
6. What are ways in which I can make my foster child feel like a part of my family?
Part of being a foster parent is making the child feel comfortable in your home. Feel free to offer to include them in all of your daily activities/family functions, vacations, etc. Provide them with your expectations, rules, and show them the neighborhood in which you live. Introduce them to people in the community as the newest member of your family.
7. What is the typical IMPACT foster family?
Like in any community, every foster family is different. You must be at least 21 years of age to work with The IMPACT Project. We accept single parents, non-married or married couples, renters or homeowners and people of all races and religions.
8. What types of training do I receive?
Prior to approval, at least three orientation training sessions are required. After approval, ongoing training is required and many opportunities for free and low cost training are provided throughout the year.
9. How long does it take to be approved?
We like to approve families in a thorough manner. However, the faster you can help us complete the paperwork and home study, the more quickly we can provide you with the training leading to approval. On average, the entire process takes three months.
10. How long would a foster child live in my home?
It varies from child to child. The average stay is approximately six to twelve months.
11. How many kids can I take?
There are many factors which determine the number of children placed in the home. The maximum number of children, including your own, may not exceed six. We prefer that you start with a smaller number of foster children.
12. What if a child does not work out in my home?
If it is an emergency, we can remove them immediately. Non-emergency situations require that we give the county 30-day notice prior to the removal of a child.
13. What type of support do I receive as a foster parent?
We are well-known for the extensive support services we provide to our foster parents and foster children. Some of these include weekly Case Manager contacts with foster parents and foster children, weekly clinical therapy for the foster children and 24-hour on-call support for emergency situations.
14. Do I interact often with natural parents?
This is determined on a case-by-case basis. Some natural families may be actively involved in the lives of your foster children and IMPACT staff will assist in your contacts with them. Other children have no contact with anyone.
15. Why should I choose IMPACT?
IMPACT is the only foster care agency in the state to have ever won the Juvenile Court Judge’s Commission Award for Program of the Year for its foster care services. Our referral process is second to none in terms of the information we obtain and provide to you. Our financial reimbursement is one of the highest. Our comprehensive support services are designed to help you become a successful professional foster parent. Provide the missing piece, become a member of the IMPACT treatment team.