In Kansas, there are more children in shelters than there are in foster care. This is because there are only 2,000 foster homes for 6,000 foster children. Some are even placed outside of their home community, meaning that in a day they lose their home, friends, school and their family, especially when they are separated from their siblings. For many children, the best foster family is one that comes from the same community because it enables the children to stay in contact with their families and to remain in the same school, which reduced the level of trauma inflicted on the children due to the situation.
The DHS and foster parents work to preserve the children connecting with their families with the goal being reunification. This is done by providing counseling and mentorship to the family. However, reunification is not always possible, so the foster families may be asked to commit to raising the child/children. While the system is working on reunification the foster parent is asked to provide the child with love and nurturance. This could also include working with the parent/s to improve their parenting skills. Later they will help the child return home, or through the adoption process.
Foster Parent Types
There are several types of foster parents in Kansas, including:
- Adoption Foster Parents– These foster parents only take in children that are ready to be adopted with the hope of adopting them.
- Family Foster Parents-This is the most rudimentary level of fostering. The children have needs that are characteristic of most children.
- Intensive/Intensive Plus Foster Parents– The children placed in this type of foster care require treatment for behavioral, mental health, and substance abuse issues.
- Kinship Foster Parents– Kinship Foster Parents are family or friends that already have a connection to the child. They get approved as foster parents for that specific child.
- Specialized Foster Parents-These foster parents provide homes to children with emotional and physical needs that require specialized care such as special education or mental health services. The foster parents are monitored by the foster care worker with in-home visits twice a month. If everything is going well after 180 days the visits will taper down to once a month.
- Treatment Foster Parents-The foster parents for these children are required to provide children with a more advanced level of care due to their behavioral, educational, emotional and social needs. The foster care worker makes a minimum of two visits a month to the home, with weekly phone contact. To learn more about becoming a foster parent contact us.