Frequently Asked Questions

Adoption

QWho can adopt?
AAdopting families must be residents of Forsyth County and can be older or younger, wealthy or of modest income, two-parent or single-parent, home owner or renter. The primary requirement for adoption is that you can provide a healthy, loving and nurturing home with adequate space for yourself and your child.Top
QHow long does it take to adopt?
AThe length of time varies for each individual situation. Average time to complete a home study is 3-6 months. The home study includes meeting with your assigned social worker (an average of 3-5 meetings) and attending MAPP/GPS. Once the home study is completed and you are approved by the Adoption Committee, the search for a child appropriate for your family begins. Depending on the type of child a family is looking for and the children currently available for adoption, the time it takes to match a child to a family can vary significantly from family to family.Top
QCan I adopt a child of a different race?
AYes. In the home study, you will learn about the needs of children who are placed with a family of a different race. Federal law (the Multiethnic Placement Act) forbids discrimination in the placement of children on the basis of ethnicity.Top
QWho are the children and where are they living now?
AOur agency does not often have infants available for adoption. Most of the children are school age and are currently living in foster homes all over the county, state, and nation. Many have brothers and sisters who need to be placed in an adoptive home together. Most all have "special needs," such as medical and behavior problems resulting from abuse and neglect.Top
QHow much background information will be shared with me?
AThe law requires that the agency provide specific information to the adopting parents at or before placement of the child. If known, they must provide the following:
  • Age of biological parents
  • Their race, nationality and ethnic background
  • General physical appearance of biological parents
  • Detailed medical histories of the child, biological parents, and their relatives
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QDo my child's birth parents have any legal rights?
AThey do not retain any legal rights; however, some children may have an emotional bond with their birth parents and should stay in contact with them.Top
QWhat information is available to adopted children who are curious about their background?
ANo identifying information can be shared. However, non-identifying information regarding a child's background and medical history can be shared.Top

Foster Care

QWhat is foster care?
AFoster care provides children with a short-term or long-term home and a supportive, stable family environment when they can't live with their birth parents. Typically, foster parents care for their children in foster care until they're reunited with their birth families, or are legally available for adoption. Top
QWhat are the requirements for becoming a foster parent?
AGo to General Requirements for detailed information.Top
QWhat if my foster child gets sick?
AMedical and dental coverage is provided for all children in foster care through Medicaid. Top
QDo foster parents have to stay at home?
ANo. It is the responsibility of working parents to make appropriate child care arrangements for their children in foster care. However, the agency will be responsible for payment to the child care facility.Top
QWhere do the children who need foster care come from?
ASometimes, as a result of abuse, neglect, abandonment, or death in a family, courts decide that children must be temporarily separated from their families. These children come from all cultural and economic backgrounds.Top
QHow does a child enter foster care?
AWhen reasonable efforts to keep a child in his or her own home are unsuccessful, the juvenile court may award custody of the child to the department of social services. In cases where an emergency arises when the court is not in session a child protective services social worker may assume custody of a child and place him or her in a foster home. Either way, the social worker must prove to the juvenile court that "no less drastic alternative than removal of the child from his or her home exists" to protect the child. It is therefore typically in the most serious cases of abuse or neglect that a child is placed in foster care.Top
QWho are the children in foster care?
AChildren who are temporarily separated from their families due to abuse or neglect and who enter the foster care system include:
  • school aged children who need extra help in getting along with others, school work, and feeling good about themselves;
  • infants who have special feeding and medical problems;
  • brothers and sisters who should stay together;
  • children with developmental or physical disabilities;
  • children with emotional problems;
  • children who need families that are sensitive to and respectful of their culture;
  • teenagers who have not experienced positive family life and now need extra patience and commitment.
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QHow long will a foster child stay with us?
AFoster care is intended to be a temporary placement for the child. Reunification of the family is the primary goal. The majority of children in foster care are reunited with their parents or primary caretaker. If that's not feasible, workers try to place the child in a permanent adoptive home as soon as possible. Each case is unique; you could keep a child for a few months or even a year.Top
QWhat type of support is available to the foster family?
ASupport comes in many forms:
  • Your licensing social worker provides needed support.
  • A social worker works with you in regards to each foster child placed in your home.
  • All new foster families are assigned a "Buddy" who is an experienced foster parent. Your Buddy is a valuable resource who speaks from the voice of experience.
  • Respite services are provided. Respite is when foster parents need a break from the care of the children placed in foster care. This break could be for the weekend or for a week.
  • The agency pays a daily rate for each foster child in your home and medical and dental needs.
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QWhat are the rewards of becoming a foster family?
A Foster families can expect many rewards:
  • a sense of accomplishment
  • the chance to help children feel good about themselves
  • pride in doing a meaningful and important job;
  • challenging experiences;
  • the opportunity to meet and work with new people;
  • a chance to use special talents and knowledge;
  • the opportunity to make a lifetime of difference for a child.
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QCan I choose the age and sex of the child that I would like?
AYes. Children in foster care range in age from infancy through adolescence (0-18 years old). Foster families inform the agency of their desired age group and sex of the child. It should be noted that our agency is in need of families who will foster children ages 7 years and up and especially teenagers.Top
QMay a single person become a foster parent?
AYes. There are no regulatory requirements governing marriage as a prerequisite to foster parenting.Top
QIs there really a need for foster parents?
AYes. The agency always tries to place children in foster care in their home school district and in foster homes which are best suited to meet their particular needs. This cannot be achieved unless a sufficient number of foster parents are available. It should be noted that our agency is in need of families who will foster children ages 7 years and up and especially teenagers.Top
QWe don’t have any experience with parenting. Is that a problem?
AWhile experience working with children may be an asset, it is not required. As important as actual parenting experience, is the willingness of a foster family to develop the skills necessary to meet the needs of children who have been through abuse or neglect in their young lives.Top
QHow do I know if I'd be a good foster parent?
AFoster parenting requires a lot of patience, compassion and skill. Foster parents understand that the children that come to them are hurting and that it takes a long time to reduce that pain and change the resulting behaviors. You have to be 21 years old, be of good moral character, be in good health, have an adequate income, and meet other basic standards. Go to General Requirements for detailed information.Top
QWhat do you mean by "motivation" for wanting to foster parent?
ATypically, people who wish to become foster parent are individuals with big hearts who genuinely love children. Unfortunately, this is often not enough to be a successful foster parent. Children who enter foster care probably have been seriously abused and/or neglected. As a result, children in foster care need a person or family who is able and willing to deal with the behaviors they often develop in response to this abuse/neglect. If a person has unresolved losses in their own life, it will be difficult, if not impossible, to parent in an objective way. Sometimes the foster child will trigger painful memories in the adult with unresolved issues. This does not mean you will be unable to serve children in some way, but it may mean that providing 24-hour parenting will not be helpful for you or the child at this time. Your local department of social services foster parent trainer/recruiter should be able to speak with you further about this.Top
QAre foster parents paid to care for the children placed in their homes?
ANo, however foster parents do receive a "reimbursement" to offset the costs of a child’s room, board, clothing and related expenses.Top
QOur family lives on a modest income. Would that interfere with our opportunity to be foster parents?
AFinancial wealth is not a requirement to become a foster parent. You do need to have enough income so the expenses of fostering are not a financial hardship for the child or your family.Top
QDo I have to be a homeowner to be a foster parent?
ANo. Foster parents can be homeowners or renters, but the setting where a foster child will live must be safe.Top
QDo foster parents have full responsibility for children in foster care in their home?
AThe Agency shares responsibility with them. The parents are responsible for the day-to-day care of the child, while DSS carries overall responsibility for decisions about the child.Top
QWould I have to take every child referred for my home, or do I have a say in which children I would like to accept?
AWe strongly encourage the foster family to voice their opinions and concerns regarding a prospective foster child. There needs to be “good match” between the child and foster family. The licensing SW will provide the foster family with information about the child related to the child’s history, current needs, behaviors and emotional status, prior to the time of placement. If a family does not feel comfortable accepting the child into their home, they are encouraged to discuss their concerns openly with staff. Foster families have the right to reject a possible placement. Families are in no way penalized for denying placements. Refusing a placement will not result in DSS withholding future referrals from the home. Voicing your concerns about the placement before it occurs will help reduce the risk of the placement disrupting in the future, resulting in another move for the child. We will call you again and again and againTop
QWill I be told why a child is in care?
AYes. The social worker will give you with information regarding the basic reason for placement and any specific needs, allergies, health problems, or behaviors that the child has. Sometimes, the case worker does not know all of these. Keeping accurate records can help the child if he or she is ever in care again.Top
QWhat training is available for foster parents?
AThere are numerous training opportunities for foster parents. New foster parents must undergo 30hours of pre-service training called Model Approach to Partnership in Parenting/Group Preparation and Selection (MAPP/GPS) in order to be licensed. In addition, continuing foster parents are required to attend or participate in ten hours of training per year. Some of the annual training for established foster parents can include reading books or watching training videos, attending a CPR class or other applicable instruction, and attending a foster care panel or foster parent conference. Training through your local child placement office is usually free and plentiful, covering a large range of subjects like behavioral problems, grief, first aid, and ADHD. You will also receive a monthly training reading that has a test at the end. Top
QHow do I become a foster parent?
AThe first step is to call 703-3500, option 2. Your initial questions will be answered and you may be invited to an orientation to help you decide if foster parenting is right for you.Top
QWhat type of information is typically covered in pre-service training?
AGo to MAPP/GPS for detailed information.Top
QWhat types of foster homes are most needed?
AForsyth County DSS needs individuals and families willing to foster children of all ages and who may exhibit a variety of problems. Our greatest need is for families to be foster parents to children ages 7 and up. Children in foster care vary in age from newborn babies to teens. We NEED FAMILIES with a desire to parent teens or sibling groups. Very often, teens are the "forgotten children" - but families who have committed to fostering teens have found it to be an extremely rewarding experience. It is truly satisfying to make a difference in the life of an adolescent who is about to enter young adulthood and who may have never received guidance and caring. Likewise, opening your home to sibling groups so that further loss may be avoided is a true gift. Children who enter foster care may have a variety of special needs. They may have medical or psychological problems such as HIV/AIDS, fetal alcohol syndrome, mental retardation, attention deficit disorder (ADD/ADHD), or essentially any problem that may befall children. We attempt to match a child coming into foster care with a foster home based on the strengths and needs of both. Top