In the state of Nebraska, there are approximately 5,358 children in foster care. Many of these children have experienced abuse, neglect or other family challenges and need a safe, loving home. You have an opportunity to show a child the love, support and care they deserve while growing emotionally, mentally and spiritually – and also teach life skills. Start your foster parenting journey and read this article to learn more about the steps to become a foster parent in Nebraska.
KVC Nebraska Foster Parent Recruitment Coordinator, Taylor Steiner, recruits, trains and supports foster families. Our foster families care for children until they can either safely return home or another permanency plan can be determined. The choice to become a foster parent/family is a big deal and life adjustment. And comes with a lot of questions. Below, Taylor provides answers to some of your frequently asked questions.
Help children and teens in your community. Learn more about becoming a foster parent today!
Q: Can I be a foster parent?
People from all different backgrounds and walks of life can foster or adoptive parents in the state of Nebraska. We have foster parents who are married, single, identify as LGBTQIA+, live in a house or apartment, have children of their own, or no children of their own. However, Nebraska has requirements for fostering a child or teen that must be met. You must:
- Be at least 21 years of age
- Be employed and/or have a reliable source of income
- Possess a valid driver’s license and a reliable form of transportation
- Undergo and pass a complete background check. This requirement applies to anyone living in your home over the age of 18. (NOTE: These household members are not required to take the training, only to undergo and pass a background check.)
- There must be one identified bedroom for children. A child can share a bedroom with your own children based on the age/sex of the child. However, having at least one open bedroom for foster youth is preferable. If you currently reside in a one-bedroom home or apartment, unfortunately, you wouldn’t qualify at this time.
- Complete foster care parent training
- Meet all licensing regulations required by the state of Nebraska
Q: What can I expect from the foster parent training?
In order to become a foster care parent, you must become TIPS-MAPP certified. That involves taking and completing a 10-week course. The classes meet in person once a week, from 6pm-9pm. All caregivers residing in the home (age 21 years and older) who will participate in the parenting and care of children are required to take TIPS-MAPP together. NOTE: Due to COVID-19, the classes are being held virtually. Sign up for a class by contacting me.
TIPS-MAPP stands for Trauma-Informed Partnering for Safety and Permanence-Model Approach to Partnerships in Parenting. This training course is free of charge and designed to help you build the strengths and skills necessary for parenting children who have experienced abuse and neglect and who may have behavioral, emotional, physical, or educational challenges. We’ll also teach you how to work in partnership with the child’s biological family and support the child returning safely home. These classes also provide a chance for you to learn together with other prospective foster families and build a support network.
Q: Do I need to be licensed?
You do in order to provide ongoing care for children in foster care. While taking the TIPS-MAPP training, you will also complete the paperwork for licensure. KVC will assign you a Licensing Specialist and they will:
- guide you through the licensing paperwork
- complete a walk-through of your home
- conduct a home study
Once those steps are complete, the Licensing Specialist will put together a portfolio for review and approval by the state. Once the state approves your license, you will be eligible to start supporting your first placement of a child or teen in need.
Q: Can I just take the training courses?
In order to start supporting youth in your home, you must complete the training course to become certified, and then complete licensing process as determined by the state of Nebraska.
Q: How often will I have to renew my license?
Your license lasts for two years and then it will be up for renewal.
Q: I am certified through another agency, but not licensed. What do I do?
If within the last year, you have completed the certification requirements through another agency, we can work with you to become licensed through KVC. You would also need to meet KVC’s criteria in order to be considered. Contact me with any questions.
Q: What age group is in most need of placement right now?
We are actively recruiting families to care for:
Some of our prospective families prefer younger children or infants, but the greatest need right now is for older children and sibling groups. I work with families to help determine if having an older child or children is suitable for their home dynamic.
Q: I’m certified, licensed and ready for my first placement. What more do I need to know?
Congratulations! We encourage you to read our blog post, “7 Questions Foster Parents Have About Their First Placement” to learn more. You can also ask your dedicated Foster Care Specialist about any additional questions.
Q: I have more questions.
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