Interested in being a Foster Parent? If so, click here. If not, call  850.453.7777 for more information. Looking for Adoption info? Click here or call  1.866.313.9874.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Can a single person be a foster parent?
  2. Is there an upper age limit for foster parents?
  3. What if the parent(s) work outside the home?
  4. How long do foster children stay in foster care?
  5. Do foster children see their biological parents during the time they are in foster care?
  6. How long does it take to be licensed?
  7. Is it true foster parents cannot spank the foster child?
  8. Can a foster child share a room with my child?
  9. Would I have any choice about the types of children or adolescents placed with me?
  10. How many children could I be licensed for?
  11. What kinds of problems do the children generally have?
  12. Once I become licensed, how long would it be before children were placed in my home?
  13. Can we take the foster child with us on vacation?
  14. Can we leave the foster child with a baby-sitter?
  15. Is there a problem with our having pets?
  16. How long will it take to have a child placed in my/our home?
  17. What are the costs of adoption?
  18. Are there any services available after the adoption is final?
  19. I am a foster parent. How do I set up or make a change to my direct deposit for my board payment?
Q: Can a single person be a foster parent?
A: Yes; we have a number of single people who provide excellent care.
Q: Is there an upper age limit for foster parents?
A: No; older people are some of our best foster parents. If there are health concerns, however, the counselor may ask for a statement from your doctor.
Q: What if the parent(s) work outside the home?
A: This is normally not a problem – many good foster parents, like parents, work outside the home. Employed foster parents may be given a referral for childcare services for foster children in their home.
Q: How long do foster children stay in foster care?
A: Foster care is a temporary arrangement for children. The amount of time a child spends in foster care depends on the particular child and his/her parents, and it is hard to predict. The law requires, in most circumstances, that every effort be made to reunite children with their parents as soon as it appears safe for the child. If the child cannot be reunited safely within a certain period of time (12 to 15 months), the law requires that another permanent home be found for the child. Most children do return home within the first 30 days of foster care. If a child cannot safely return home that quickly it often takes from 6 to 18 months to resolve the safety issues or locate another permanent home.
Q: Do foster children see their biological parents during the time they are in foster care?
A: Most children in foster care visit their biological parents on a regular basis typically weekly, at the FFN offices, visitation center, or another location in the community, as part of the court-ordered plan to reunite the family. Foster parents are expected to cooperate with the child?s visitation plan. This does not mean the foster parents have to meet the parents or even have their identity revealed, but it is in the best interest of the child if the foster parents are willing to work with the bio-parents. The location and schedule of visits is arranged between the biological parent(s), the court, and the assigned Family Services Counselor. Foster parents are expected to assist with transportation to and from visits. If there is difficulty with this, assistance with transportation to and from visits can be arranged.
Q: How long does it take to be licensed?
A: After you complete your application, training, background screens, and the home study process, it typically takes from 6 to 12 weeks for the State of Florida to approve and issue your license.
Q: Is it true foster parents cannot spank the foster child?
A: Yes. Foster parents are prohibited by law from using any form of physical punishment. Positive discipline, combined with warmth and caring, should be used in educating the child to conform to the standards of your family and our society.
Q: Can a foster child share a room with my child?
A: Yes; however, each must have his/her own bed and children age 3 or older must be of the same gender to share a bedroom.
Q: Would I have any choice about the types of children or adolescents placed with me?
A: Absolutely. We license homes for children aged newborn through 17 years or, occasionally, older. Foster parents can specify their preferences as to the ages or gender of the foster children placed in their home, as well as any behavioral problems they don’t feel equipped to handle. Foster parents should only accept children they believe they can manage in their homes. When contacted about a possible placement, you have the right to ask about the child's known needs and behaviors and accept or refuse placement based on that information.
Q: How many children could I be licensed for?
A: A number of factors affect how many children can be placed with you. Parents can be licensed for a maximum of five children including your own, assuming the home has adequate facilities to meet the requirements. This number includes their own children. On occasions where siblings need to be placed together or a larger sibling group of six or more need a home, an over capacity waiver can be arranged if a home is found to have sufficient room.
Q: What kinds of problems do the children generally have?
A: Children who have been removed from their homes because of abuse, neglect, or abandonment often exhibit behavioral problems, developmental delays, learning delays, sleep disturbances, bedwetting, and emotional instability. Some may have symptoms of pre-natal alcohol or drug exposure such as irritability, extreme sensitivity to stimulation, distractibility or an inability to learn from consequences. In most cases, these symptoms are mild to moderate. Counseling for the children with special needs is arranged through the Family Services Counselor.
Q: Once I become licensed, how long will it be before children are placed in my home?
A: It depends on the type of care you want to provide. It is not possible to predict which types of children will need placement. It is likely you will begin receiving calls, soon after your license is issued.
Q: Can we take the foster child with us on vacation?
A: Yes. However, you must have prior arrangements approved by the social worker and sometimes by the court for out-of-state travel.
Q: Can we leave the foster child with a baby-sitter?
A: Foster parents need a social life of their own. The person employed to baby-sit must be at least 18 years old. Respite care might also be available. Please consult with the child's family services counselor or the foster home development counselor to whom you are assigned.
Q: Is there a problem with our having pets?
A: Generally not. Families and their foster children obviously enjoy having pets. We would be concerned only if there were issues of safety, cleanliness, or health factors (i.e. a child’s allergies).
Q: How long will it take to have a child placed in my/our home?
A: This is determined in large part by matching the specific needs of a child or children to the specific needs, interests, and abilities of your family. The amount of time varies, but it is usually 6 to 18 months.
Q: What are the costs of adoption?
A: For foster children being adopted through FamiliesFirst Network there are no fees charged to the adoptive family. The adoption attorney’s fee also is paid.
Q: Are there any services available after the adoption is final?
A: Adoption Support Services is available if your child or family meets program eligibility criteria. Services may include medical, counseling, reimbursement of legal fees, and some financial maintenance. An Adoption Support Agreement must be authorized before an adoption is finalized.
Q: I am a foster parent. How do I set up or make a change to my direct deposit for my board payment?
A: Please contact the Revenue Maximization department by calling 850.437.8892.

Sponsored by Lakeview Center and the State of Florida, Department of Children and Families