Children enter foster care for different reasons. Most times their families cannot provide them with the basic safety and protection they need and as a result, children are abused or neglected. Many times their experience includes parental substance abuse, sexual abuse, physical abuse, or abandonment.
Oregon DHS has a single foster home certification process that all applicants must go through in order to be approved to be foster parents.
Types of Foster Care
Relative Foster Care: Relatives who apply and become a certified family for children to whom they are related are called Relative Caregivers. Relative Caregivers are valuable resources for children, and DHS has a strong commitment to prioritize the placement of children in foster care with relative caregivers, when safe and appropriate. The certification process is the same as General, non-relative, foster families.
Child Specific Foster Care: Families who apply and become certified to provide care for a specific child or young adult are called Child Specific Foster Families. Child Specific Foster Families do not plan to have other children or young adults placed with their family. These families are not considered relatives, but may know the child from the neighborhood, school, church, or other activities the family has been involved in the community. Usually, the certification ends when the child or young adult leaves the home.
General Foster Care: Any child or young adult not placed with relatives, kith, or kin is placed with a certified family. Oregon welcomes and supports all families equally. Families of every race, culture, and ethnicity are needed to help children grow with a strong sense of racial and cultural identity. Applicants are considered regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, religion or sexual orientation.
Children living in foster care may be infants, toddlers, preschoolers, grade school age, or teenagers. They also come from many types of backgrounds, cultures, and families. They are like other children, each with their own special personality, abilities, interests and potential. Most children entering foster care have experienced abuse or neglect. These children may have higher needs related to these experiences, including the grief and loss of being taken from their families.
There is a high demand for foster parents who can care for sibling groups, ensuring brothers and sisters can stay together. Families that enjoy working with teens and can guide them toward a positive future are also in high demand.
Helping Native American/Alaskan Native kids grow with a strong connection to their heritage is very important to us. Native American/Alaskan Native families who can share their cultures and traditions with Indian children are needed throughout the state. Special training and support may be available to you.
The Importance of Neighborhoods and Community
Children in foster care are too often separated not only from their families but also from their friends, schools, and communities. By providing foster care, neighbors and other community members can make it possible for a child to stay in the same school and participate in other regular activities such as sports, church, riding bikes with friends and visiting familiar places.
When a child is placed in your home the child's caseworker will continue to provide you with information about the child which will help you better understand him or her as well meet the child's need for safety and wellbeing. Caseworkers spend time with children placed in foster care a minimum of every 30 days. Caseworkers also will have monthly contact with you and visit you in your home every 60 days.
Your certifier will be available to you for support and guidance. You will see your certifier regularly; time between visits will be no longer than every 180 days. They will invite you to training and share other training resources.
If you would like more information about foster parenting or adoption, call toll free 1-800-331-0503 or complete our online form and someone will contact you.