Foster Parenting: What does it take?
Last week I described how and why the Certified Logger was started here in Maine. Since others have brought up being foster parents I thought I would take a minute and explain how the foster parenting system works here in Maine anyway. Now all this applies whether you are adopting, fostering or even going to be a kinship-guardian of a child such as your Granddaughter.
First you must attend a 1-2 hour long informational meeting and if you are interested, you take an application home.
The next step is to get fingerprinted at the local sheriff's dept and an initial background check is done. (due to the Adam Walsh Law...son of America's Most Wanted host, John Walsh)
They also do an initial financial background check
You must also get a waver from your physician saying you are physically fit to be a foster parent
You give 3 references stating why they feel you would be a good foster parent
Your home is inspected by the State Fire Marshall's Office for fire safety (window sizes, smoke detectors, etc)
Your home is inspected by an electrician for electrical safety
You must take a 40 hour course on Foster Parenting/adoption. This course gives you college credits for continuing education so for my wife, a school teacher who needs 6 college credits every few years, this is good. Now this course is not what you think. They do not tell you how to parent...they tell you the rules, laws and DHHS system. Other courses can be taken at a later date.
Lastly they do a in-home inspection. This is intensive. Its three interviews. You and your spouse together, an interview alone with each of you, then a wrap up. During this they inspect your house and outbuildings for child safety. They measure your rooms and make sure you have enough play space, living space, egress and bedroom space. They also redo-your criminal background check and ask some very intense questions on your finances. (How much income, how much is in your checking accounts, savings accounts, retirement funds, trust funds, etc) They ask some serious questions about your marriage, your previous marriages, your childhood and inspect your neighborhood.
If everything from all this is okay, they determine how many kids you can get licensed for and they issue you a license.
I have no intention of traveling from birth to the grave in a manicured and well preserved body; but rather I will skid in sideways, totally beat up, completely worn out, utterly exhausted and jump off my tractor and loudly yell, "Wow, this is what it took to feed a nation!"