Foster Care / Adoption

FAQ

How do you match the children with our homes?

We do it together! Having a child come live with you is a big commitment, so finding the right match is crucial! We have a pretty good sense of your family's personality, strengths, and desires because of the extensive training you attended and your home study. When CPS calls us with a child, we begin to look for families that "match" what you are looking for and what the child needs.

Once we narrow down your family as a possible match, our Intake Staff will contact you and give you all the information we have on the child. This is very important! We want you to make an informed decision to accept this child, because once they are in your home the goal is to keep the child with you until they can go back home. When we both agree that the child would be a good match for your family we will work with you and the state caseworker to schedule pre-placements or the actual placement.

How do we get the 30 or 50 hours of training every year?

We provide it! For your convenience we offer more than 50 hours of continuing education every year. You are also more than welcome to attend training that is relevant to foster care and of interests you. You may also receive training hours by reading books, watching videos, and listening to audio tapes.

Can I drink alcohol around the foster children?

Yes. Arrow Child & Family Ministries does not forbid the consumption of alcohol. However, we do ask that you are always a responsible drinker.

Can we take the foster children out of town or on vacation?

Yes. Road trips and vacations are part of any family. Because your foster children are actually wards of the state we do need to get permission for them to travel out of state or region. Just work with your Arrow staff and this should be no problem.

Can we use our family doctor?

Yes. Again, you might want to see if your doctor will accept Medicaid as your foster child will most likely be covered on that.

Will I receive any type of financial compensation for caring for foster children?

Yes. We understand that caring for a child incurs added expense. Therefore, foster parents are reimbursed a daily rate for the children's care. An independent agency called Youth For Tomorrow (www.yft.org) reads the foster children's charts and assigns a Level of Care to the children. The daily rate you will receive is tied to the service needs of the children in your home. The higher their needs, the higher the daily reimbursement amount. The minimum rate of reimbursement is set as law by the Texas Legislature. However, Arrow Child & Family Ministries reimburses our foster parents at a higher rate than required by law.

We would like to become a group home. Can we do that with you?

Perhaps, but not likely. Group homes usually take care of 8 to 12 children at a time. Arrow Child & Family Ministries believes that every child has the right to live in a family setting. Because of this belief, in addition to the fact that you will be caring for therapeutic children, we do not license group homes. However, we are aware that a few children actually do better in a group home setting, so after you have been a foster parent with us for many years, or you are currently a group home with another agency and would like to transfer to us, we may consider you on a case-by-case basis.

Do the foster kids have medical insurance?

Yes. Typically our children have Medicaid - medical and dental insurance that also includes therapy and behavioral health services. A small number of children will come on their parent's private health insurance. Since the majority of our children are on Medicaid you will want to find a doctor, dentist, and psychiatrist in your area that will accept Medicaid. If you need help, we have children all over the state so we should be able to help connect you with one in your area.

Where do these children come from?

Most are from state authorities. All of these children have been removed from their biological home by the state due to physical, sexual, emotional abuse or neglect. We do have some private placements and some children come from other state juvenile justice and health agencies.

How long will a foster child live with me?

On average about 8 to 12 months. However, that depends on a lot of things. Some kids come into our care for just a few days, and some are raised by their foster parents.

Is there a lot of paperwork involved once we have a child?

There is some, but not too much! Once the initial application packet is completed, the rest of the paperwork occurs once you have a child in your home. We believe that our Foster Parents are the key agent of change in a child's life, and documentation on the child is very important since it is read by judges, lawyers, case-workers, therapists, etc. You will be trained how to document progress and ask that a note be written on a child about every other day letting us know the child's successes and areas to keep working on. Lastly you will need to put your initials on a form when you give a child medication, and at the end of the month complete your expense report so we can reimburse you for things such as mileage, respite, etc.

How long will it take to place a child in my home?

That depends. You hear about children housed in shelters and crowded into large group homes. It's true, there are hundreds of children waiting to be placed in your loving home. However, Arrow Child & Family Ministries works to find the right match between your family and the foster child. We do not just place children in your home because you have an opening; that type of placement is destined to fail. We match a child's age, behaviors, personality, needs, etc., specifically to your family. Think of it as a puzzle; our job (yours and mine) is to find the right piece to fit the right space. If we just start trying to shove pieces into mismatched spaces, they simply don't fit and a complete picture will never emerge. Arrow Child & Family Ministries is proud that we take this stand. We are well respected by CPS for truly matching children and not just placing them into a "bed."

We will work with you to determine what age group and type of child you would be most comfortable working with. The more specific and narrow you are, the longer it may take to find that "match" for your home. For example, if you say you only want to work with "Six-year-old girls with one blue eye and one green eye," then you need to be prepared to wait a long time for that "match" to come around. However, if you are open and flexible to the age and type of child you are willing to work with, especially teenagers and sibling groups, we might have a placement waiting for you the day you get licensed with us!

How long does the licensing process take?

About 45 to 60 days. How quickly you become licensed with Arrow Child & Family Ministries has a lot to do with how focused and motivated you are. If the timing is right, you are diligent in turning in your paperwork and signing up for the next available Ambassador Family Initiative Pre-Service, and have nothing in the way of a criminal record that needs further exploration by Arrow Child & Family Ministries you could be licensed in as soon as 45 days. Other factors that play a part in your timeframe include getting your reference checks back and making sure that your home has been inspected, pet vaccinations are current, etc.

Can we use training from another agency?

Yes. If you are currently licensed with another agency or the state and wish to transfer to Arrow Child & Family Ministries we can accept some (or all) of your training. Our staff will review what training you have and design a specific training plan for you to join the Arrow Child & Family Ministries family. We then ask that you attend a graduating class of our Ambassador Family Initiative training within 6 months of joining us.

What ages are the kids?

Birth to 18. However, most of our children are school age. Many of the foster children referred to us are in Jr. High or High School and we have very few homes that work with them; consequently we turn away those kids resulting in their living in shelters, or large group homes. Although you choose what ages you would like to be considered for, we strongly encourage you to offer your home to a child over the age of 12.

How much money do I have to make?

You have to be able to cover all of your current expenses without counting the foster care reimbursement rate. In other words, Arrow Child & Family Ministries requires that you are able to pay all of your current bills including food, mortgage, car note, insurance, entertainment, etc. We will ask to see a copy of your income statements and will ask about your bank accounts to verify that the foster children's reimbursement is being used on them and not as a source of income for you.

Do you have to have interviews from our children if they are NOT living in our home?

Yes. We will need to secure confidential references from all of your adult children. This can be done either by phone or mail.

What exactly is a “Home Study”?

An interview. Simple put, a "Home Study" is an interview with you, your spouse (if applicable) and your biological children (if applicable). If you are single with no children, the interview is only with you. However, if you have a spouse or children, our staff will interview everyone individually, and then as a family, and you and your spouse together. Fostering takes patience, love, good communication, but most importantly, it takes commitment. The Home Study is designed to help us, and you, make sure that you are ready for this compassionate challenge! We ask questions about your childhood, your parents, grandparents, and extended family, your work history, your marriage or dating life, your finances, even your pets! Most home studies take between 4 and 8 hours to conduct, but we will walk you through the process so you feel comfortable and at ease.

What does it take to be a foster or adoptive parent with Arrow Child & Family Ministries?

We ask that our foster and adoptive parents:

  • Be a responsible, mature, healthy Christian adult capable of meeting the needs of children in care
  • Be at least 21 years of age
  • Have no criminal record or history of abusing children
  • Have been married, divorced, or widowed for at least one year
  • Not be dependent on the reimbursement from fostering to support yourself / your family
  • Be willing to abide by a policy of no physical discipline
  • Have a driver's license and auto insurance (provide copy) and dependable transportation
  • Have a bedroom of adequate size (our staff will acquaint you with the requirements for your state)
  • Be a legal resident of the U.S.
  • Complete Ambassador Family Initiative pre-service training
  • Your home must pass a health and fire inspection
  • Become certified (and maintain certification) in CPR and First Aid
  • Earn 40 hours of observation
  • Earn 30 hours of in-service training annually per foster/adopt parent if married, or 50 hours of in-service training annually if single.
  • Provide a photograph of all family and of home
  • Secure water test (exempt if on city water)
  • Provide copy of current pet vaccinations
  • Furnish drawing of home floor plan with dimensions and use of each room
  • Obtain TB tests for all residents in the home
  • Complete doctor and dentist form (must accept Medicaid), weapon inventory form, release of information form, and outdoor recreation form
  • Provide copy of marriage license (if applicable)
  • Undergo a Home Study

What does Arrow Child & Family Ministries offer that other agencies don’t?

All agencies offer one or two things that will meet your needs better than others. We are looking for families who are passionate, committed, and want to foster or adopt because they feel called to do so; families that feel led by Christ to do His will by taking care of His children. Because of this, a partnership with Arrow Child & Family Ministries might not be right for you. But if you're looking for an agency that believes in matching kids with families rather than placing kids in "beds," an agency that has extremely high standards and expectations from both staff and our parents, and an agency that believes that by fostering or adopting you are living Christ's word, Arrow Child & Family Ministries might be right for you. We are not the easiest, we require a lot, but the reward is great.

What’s the difference between being a foster parent with Arrow Child & Family Ministries or with the state?

A Christian Experience

Arrow Child & Family Ministries was founded under the calling of Christ to do His work through the agency. Our entire agency's foundation is based on biblical principles. You will find Christ's message alive in our Foster and Adoptive Parent training, our community life and fellowship activities, and in the staff working by your side. Children Served & Treatment Philosophy

Arrow Child & Family Ministries specializes in treatment foster care. The State will only license families to work with "basic" foster children. These children are supposed to have only minimal adjustment problems and require little specialized services. The State contracts with Arrow Child & Family Ministries to provide services to children with more therapeutic needs - you will be working with those children that have suffered the most abuse and are having a difficult time coping with it. Your love and guidance is so desperately needed for these children.

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