What kinds of children need foster homes the most?

  • Adolescents
  • Brothers and sisters who need to stay together
  • Hispanic and African American infants and children
  • Babies born drug-exposed or with HIV (AIDS)

Do all foster children have problems?
Most of them do, to some degree. Many are frightened and confused at the sudden separation from their parents. Some are angry. Others may exhibit various behaviors due to their previous exposure to abuse or neglect. Even babies may be extremely fretful and irritable at first, especially if they have been born with drugs in their system. These problems often lessen over time and with supportive services such as counseling and mentoring.

Can I pick out the child I want?
You can express a preference on the age, race, and sex of the child that you think would best fit in with your family.
Can a single person be a foster parent?
Yes.

What if I work full-time?

DCFS provides assistance for work-related daycare expenses.

How many foster children can I take?
That depends on factors such as your ability, your enthusiasm, how many children you have of your own, and how much room you have in your home.

Do foster children need individual bedrooms?
No. A foster child can share a room with your children or other foster children of the same sex. The foster child must have a bed of his or her own. A foster child may not share a bedroom with an adult — except for brief periods due to the child’s illness or another need for attention.

How do I become a foster parent?
Call the LYDIA Foster Care Licensing Department to begin the process. You will go through an initial phone screening to determine, with you, if foster care is a good plan for your family and, if so, how you can best help foster children.

Among the required documents needed to complete an application packet, each member of your family will need to have a medical form completed by a physician, along with a TB test. All household members over 18 will need to be fingerprinted in order to complete a background check. In addition, references you provide will be contacted. While these checks are being run, you will attend training classes to help prepare you for your future role.
What if I have something on my criminal background?

If you or anyone in your household has been convicted of certain crimes, you may not be able to become a foster parent. Those crimes include:

  • Homicide offenses
  • Kidnapping and related offenses
  • Sex offenses
  • Bodily harm
  • Offenses directed against property
  • Drug offenses
  • Child abuse or neglect offenses

How long does it take to get a foster child?
The licensing and training process takes from four to six months. After that process and your training are completed, you will be issued a license, which is valid for four years. When a foster child gets referred to LYDIA Foster Care, you may be called to see if you are interested in taking the child. You can then determine whether this child will be a good fit with your family and, if interested, accept the child into your home.

What kind of support will I receive?

  • Financial Assistance:Foster parents receive a monthly check to cover the child’s food, clothing and personal allowance. The amount of the check is based on the child’s age.
  • Medical Care:Each foster child gets a medical card from the State, which guarantees payment for all necessary medical care and preventive medicine. The medical card is also accepted by many hospitals and for approved prescriptions.
  • Education Services:Foster children go to regular public schools, unless they need special education, for which the State can pay. Private or parochial school tuition cannot be paid by the State. Foster children may attend private or parochial schools, but only if the tuition is paid by some other source.
  • Personal Support: LYDIA Foster Care staff are responsible for supporting your family on a regular basis. LYDIA provides supportive services for foster parents, which include monthly foster parent meetings, an emergency pager system, and community resources.