- Call the GLFS to discuss your reasons for wanting to pursue fostering/respite.
- Complete/pass a background check and fingerprinting.
- Provide a minimum of three references (only one can be a relative) who can attest to your character and ability to parent children.
- Get a health physical using a form we will provide to you for the doctor. Each foster parent is responsible for the cost of the physical.
- Complete all mandatory trainings for licensure.
- Allow GLFS staff to complete a walk through of your home and complete what is called a Home Study. (A Home Study is an interview about your own background and upbringing as well as how your family currently functions.)
- Complete all licensure paperwork with a GLFS staff member.
Foster parenting entails opening one’s family and home to a child(ren) in need during a time of crisis in the child’s life. Many times, the child has been removed from his/her parents or caregivers by the State of Nebraska due to issues surrounding abuse and neglect. As a foster parent you agree to surround the child with a safe, healthy living environment, meet the child’s basic needs, and treat the child as one of your own family members.
A respite provider welcomes a child(ren) into their family and home for a temporary, short-term stay (from 3 hours up to 2 weeks). This may be due to a parent needing someone to watch his/her child while the parent goes to a job interview, or it may be due to some discord in the child’s home, and everyone needs a break for one another.
Both programs require everyone living in your home 13 years and over to complete a full criminal background check, a reference check, a home study (A Home Study about one’s own home, upbringing, challenges in life, parenting beliefs, etc. followed by a formal interview with a GLFS staff member), and training with a staff member from Guardian Light Family Services.
Yes. There is a 21-hour training requirement to become a licensed foster parent in Nebraska. GLFS offers in-house training that can be completed in a group setting or in an individual setting within the comfort of your own home. There is no cost to you to become trained.
Licensed Foster Homes need 12 hours of continuing education each year per Nebraska state standards. GLFS is prepared to simplify the process by offering several options that meet your style of learning and time commitment for you to choose from:
- One-on-one training via Zoom or in person
- Pre-selected online videos and webinars
- Books applicable to parenting/fostering (must fill out documentation for DHHS)
- Upcoming trainings available in your area
- Or feel free to choose your own and see if it meets the state requirements.
According to childrensrights.org, on any given day, there are nearly 443,000 children in foster care in the United States. In 2017, more than 690,000 children spent time in the U.S. foster care.
According to AdoptUSkids.org, in Nebraska there are 6,231 children in foster care in Nebraska; 913 of these children are waiting for adoptive families.
To become a foster parent you, must be 21 years old.
Every person who becomes a foster parent fills out a characteristic checklist regarding children/youth one feels comfortable providing care for to include:
- Age ranges
- Medical diagnosis
- Mental health diagnosis
It is encouraged that foster parents reach out to the child’s biological parents/caregivers to help support the foster child and to learn more about the child. Your Foster Care Specialist can assist you with how to reach out to them and what to say.
It is the foster parent’s responsibility to transport the child to school, extracurricular activities, medical appointments, etc. Some special appointments that are over 100 miles one way are reimbursed by DHHS after the first 100 miles.
You are not required to put the foster child on your insurance as the child receives Medicaid through the State of Nebraska.
One must be able to be financially stable enough to support the child. While the state does provide a subsidy to help support the child in your home. It sometimes can take 30 days for the first payment to go through. A budget is completed with you as part of your home study to examine your financial situation.
Yes. A monthly subsidy based on the age and characteristics of the child is paid to GLFS to then be passed on to you.
Each bedroom occupied by a foster child shall have a minimum floor space of 40 square feet per child. Each foster child shall be provided with a separate bed.
The number of foster children one can have depends on the size of one’s home. DHHS does allow exceptions for sibling to not be split.
Yes, single individual can be a foster parent.
Yes, same sex couples can be foster parents.
What if I had my own children removed years ago? Can I still be a foster parent as I’d like to give back?
To be a foster parent, you cannot be on the Child Abuse and Neglect Central Registry.
DHHS’s goal is almost always reunification with the child’s biological parents/caregivers; however, there are times that this isn’t possible and parental rights are terminated. Once termination occurs, the child is then free for adoption. According to AdoptUSkids.org there are 913 children/youth who are waiting for adoptive families here in Nebraska. Please visit http://www.nebraskaheartgallery.org/heart-gallery.html to see some of these children/youth.
When a child has “special needs” this could mean several things such as the child has ADHD, uses wheelchair, has mental health issues, has tantrums, or has attachment issues. These characteristics are disclosed prior to placement when known.
Sometimes it takes time for child/youth to adjust to a new home. They have lost everything in their lives, and it is a scary time when entering foster care. When children are scared or uncomfortable, they usually don’t verbalize it but rather act out by having tantrums, talking back, not listening, etc. We ask that you be patient and reach out to your GLFS Foster Care Specialist and/or the DHHS case manager for help. If the child truly cannot adjust to your home, you are able to give a 14-day notice. This gives GLFS and the case worker 14 days to find the child a new home. There are times when an immediate removal from your home may be necessary due to safety reasons, but this does not occur often.
Contact your assigned GLFS Foster Care Specialist.
As mentioned above, if things are not working out in your home, you do have the right to give notice. By contract GLFS must give DHHS 14 days to find the child/youth a new foster placement.