Foster Care

Levels of Involvement

Northern Rivers Family of Services, through our member agencies Northeast Parent & Child Society and Parsons Child & Family Center, serves children who need an out-of-home placement. These children have been removed from their caregivers as a result of abuse, neglect, or a person in need of supervision (PINS) petition and are then placed with certified foster families. The programs are able to serve children from birth to age 21 with all levels of behavioral needs. We gladly accept all referrals either on an emergency basis or using an extensive matching process. We believe that with the right match any child can be successful living with a family.

At Northern Rivers, we offer many opportunities to partner with families in the community to give hope a home. A family can become involved with the mission in many ways, from having a child overnight occasionally to adopting a child for a lifetime

There are choices for your level of involvement. You can be a respite parent where you care for a child on a limited basis such as weekends, a full-time foster parent, or adopt a child for a lifetime. Regardless, you will help a child.

Therapeutic Foster Care serves children in need of out-of-home placement. These children have been removed from their parents or caregivers as a result of abuse, neglect, or PINS petitions. Foster parents receive at least weekly home visits from the clinical case manager assigned to each child. These children usually have a high level of behavioral and emotional needs, which requires well-trained and supported foster parents. Foster parents also receive respite when needed.

Specialized Foster Care is similar to Therapeutic Foster Care although the needs of the children are lower and foster parents receive less contact and support from the program. These children are usually in the process of returning home to their parents or relatives. There are times that foster parents are open to adopting children if they do not have a permanency resource. Some teens decide to remain in foster care and work on independent living skills.

Overnight Respite Services are provided by foster parents when children need overnight respite. These children may be in the foster care program or home with their birth families. This respite can be offered on a recurring weekly, biweekly, or monthly basis.

Hourly Respite Services are provided by per-diem employees. These respite providers work with children in the home or community and base their activities on the child’s treatment goals and individual interests.

Bridge Families provide twice-a-month respite for youths placed in residential care. These young people often have limited access to normative family experiences and need assistance in becoming successful in family settings. Bridge families offer them hope, a model of family life, a viable adult resource, and emotional support.

Are you ready to be a foster parent?

Right now, there are children in your community who need supportive, loving foster homes and foster parents. Being a foster parent isn’t easy—it takes a big commitment, a lot of understanding, and plenty of support. It also takes knowledge, and it’s vitally important that prospective foster parents know what’s true and what’s false throughout the process. The best way to counter a myth is with a fact, so we’ve put together a list of common misconceptions surrounding foster care.

MYTH: I could never be a foster parent because I am not married and I don’t make a lot of money. I don’t even own my own home.
FACT: There are no such requirements. We have foster parents who are not married, who are single, who own homes, or who rent a home/apartment. The only financial requirement is that foster parents have a sufficient income to support themselves and their family in addition to the stipend they receive for the care of a child in foster care.

MYTH: Foster parents have to stay at home with the children and are unable to have their own jobs/careers.
FACT: We have many foster parents who are stay at home and and we have just as many who work outside of the home.

MYTH: My children are grown and out of the house; I am too old to be a foster parent.
FACT: The only age requirement is that foster parents be 21 years of age. Many “empty nesters” find foster parenting to be a rewarding experience!

MYTH: You need to have parenting experience to be a foster parent, and I’ve never raised any children.
FACT: Not true! We have many foster parents who do not have children. These foster parents are responsible people who have made a commitment to children and demonstrate an ability to parent and have a willingness to learn parenting skills.

MYTH: Foster children have been abused so much that they are beyond repair. I wouldn’t really be making a difference anyway.
FACT: We have found that children are amazingly resilient! Foster parents who can provide a structured, predictable, and nurturing environment can make a big difference for children. It is important to note that these children will grow up to be adults in our communities. The way we can best respond now to their needs will impact the kind of adults they become in the future.

MYTH: All foster children are emotionally disturbed, and I do not think I am qualified enough to help them.
FACT: Many of our children have stated that they just need someone to listen, understand, and care for them. By building trusting relationships with the children in foster care, we have seen miraculous positive differences in their emotional well-being.

MYTH: Once I accept a child in foster care, I will totally be on my own with no help.
FACT: We pride ourselves on the support we give to our foster parents. Our agency staff is on call 24/7/365 to serve our foster parents and children in care. We have a therapeutic team prepared to assist with any crisis that may occur. We work with our families even before they accept a child to develop a profile of the type of child best suited to the experience and capabilities of that family. Respite care is also provided for those time foster parents need a break.

MYTH: I would have to provide medical insurance for a foster child in my home.
FACT: Foster parents do not pay any of a child’s medical expenses. Every child in foster care is covered for their medical, dental, and mental health care needs.

MYTH: You don’t have any choice of the types of children who are placed in your home, for example, whether they are healthy or have a disability.
FACT: You do have control over which children are placed in your home. The broader the parameters are, however, the more quickly you will begin fostering a child.

MYTH: I can’t become a foster parent because I would get too attached; it would be too hard to see the child leave.
FACT: It is sooo true! You will get attached, and it will be painful when the children you have cared for and loved leave your home. These children have suffered through so much pain and trauma that no child should have to face. They need the love, care, and safety that foster parents provide. In some cases, foster parents continue to stay in contact with the children and families they cared for.

MYTH: Accepting a child into foster care will negatively affect my own children.
FACT: The birth children of foster parents sometimes do have to make sacrifices in sharing their parents, their home, and sometimes their bedroom. However, the gains will greatly outweigh these sacrifices. The children of the foster parents will learn better ways to solve problems and learn the joys of sharing, and they will be an integral part of changing the life of a foster youth.

Ready to become a foster parent? Or do you still have doubts, concerns, or questions? We’re always here to talk with you. Our job is to make sure you’ve got the answers. Our homefinders are ready to listen. Reach out and let’s talk.

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