Humanity, Balance, Honesty, Inclusion, Teamwork

Getting Started

Fostering can be the most rewarding and most challenging work that you ever do.  

 

It is important to have the support of your family (living inside and outside of your home) and to discuss the changes that could happen when a child or youth experiencing trauma, grief and loss, and with whom you have no history, moves into your home. Most children are in foster care for a short time, with the majority of children returning to their family of origin. A foster home can be an important haven, keeping children safe, helping them cope with their grief and loss and helping to prepare them for the eventual return to their family.

 

After deciding you'd like to foster and attending an orientation meeting, you must apply and complete required training.  A caseworker will conduct a home study to determine whether you're ready to foster, evaluating factors such as your social life, daily routine, and living environment. The county will perform a variety of background checks.

 

A study from the Harvard Kennedy School's Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy found that, in many states, fewer than half of prospective foster parent applicants get as far as completing a home study. This is not a bad thing in any way,  as it is so important for foster parents to be 100 percent sure of their path.

 

Each foster care applicant certified by the Mesa County Department of Human Services (MCDHS) is required to complete 27 hours of pre-certification training. Topics taught include a general overview of foster care, administrative and legal issues, why children get placed in out-of-home care, parenting and family dynamics, key concepts of child growth and development, importance of the team approach, individual differences, such as ethnicity and culture, discipline, effects of fostering on the foster family, working with the biological family, as well as a number of other topics. This informative training gives foster parents the essential tools to care for foster children. In addition to this pre-certification training, each applicant is also required to be CPR and First Aid certified. Foster parents are also required to obtain ongoing training.

 

 

These are the basic steps to becoming a Foster Care Parent in Mesa County:

 

  • Make the intial phone call to (970 248-2494)

  • Schedule a *home visit with a Foster Care Caseworker

  • Attend Building Bridges, our 8 week training class series for Foster Care Parents

  • Complete a home study to help us learn more about your personal and family background

  • Complete CPR/First Aid training

  • Complete and/or provide the required documents.

  • The entire process takes approximately 2 to 3 months to complete.

 

*A large portion of the certification process is the home study, which is our attempt to get a good understanding of who you are.  

 

The home study consists of the following:

  • Completion of Questionnaire I (all adults in the household)

  • Completion of Questionnaire II (all adults in the household)

  • Background checks on any individual over the age of 18 living in the home

  • Interviews with all adults living in your home.  If applicants are a couple, they will be interviewed individually and together

  • Individual interviews with all of your children, age appropriate, whether currently living in your home or independently

  • A safety inspection of your residence

  • At least three separate visits in your home

  • Information gathered during the home study is not confidential and will be included in the final written report, which will be read by the supervisor of the Resource Team.  This report could be released to the Court if requested. 

 

Can we answer your questions and help you to find out more about becoming a Foster Care Parent?

Mesa County Dept. of Human Services

510 29 1/2 Road  Grand Junction, CO 81502-5001

 

© 2018 Foster Care of Mesa County