Foster Parent Rights: What Changes After 6 Months

foster parent rights after 6 months

As a foster parent, the first six months with a new child joining your family can be filled with transitions and uncertainty. Both the child and foster family are still getting to know one another. However, after half a year together, relationships start to solidify and the foster family takes on more responsibility. So what exactly changes from a legal perspective once a foster child has been with a family for more than six months?

Who Can Answer Questions About Rights?

My name is Alder Hiel , and I’m a foster parent writing from experience. I’ve learned a lot about navigating the foster system through training, working with case workers, and talking to other foster families. While I’m not a legal expert, I can share general knowledge about some of the common foster parent rights that kick in after the initial six-month period.

As always, the best person to answer specific questions about your rights and responsibilities is your family’s designated case worker. Don’t hesitate to reach out to them. It’s their job to provide guidance – take advantage of it!

More Participation in Decision Making

One big change is that foster parents typically gain more say over key decisions affecting the foster child after 180 days together. For example, you may be brought in to provide input when the social services department is deciding next steps related to family visitation schedules.

Foster parents also tend to have a larger role in discussions about medical care, educational plans and services, and other areas that shape the child’s well-being after the half-year mark.

Of course, the county ultimately makes final decisions based on policies and the best interest of the child. But foster families do tend to earn a seat at the table when the working relationship has had six months to develop.

Potential Funding Changes

Along with more participation can come changes to the financial assistance provided to the foster family. In particular, the basic board payment – money given to cover room and board costs for the child – may increase after six months.

There is also funding provided specifically for clothes, school expenses, birthday gifts, etc. This ancillary care funding tends to go up thanks to recognition that a family has moved past the initial transition phase and now has increased day-to-day costs.

Additionally, some travel reimbursements only kick in after 180 days. For example, if the foster parents need to drive the child a long distance for family visits or health appointments, extra compensation may now be available.

Questions to Ask Your Case Worker

It’s smart to schedule a discussion with your case worker as you approach the six-month milestone with your foster child. Key things to cover include:

  • Will my board payment increase? And will ancillary care funding go up?
  • How will I now participate in ongoing decision making about medical care, school choice, etc?
  • Are there any child-specific considerations that impact rights or funding at this point?
  • Do I need to complete any new paperwork or sign updated agreements?

Don’t be afraid to speak up on behalf of your family’s needs. And remember that policies vary quite a bit depending on your state, county, and individual situation. So personalizing the conversation is crucial.

A Rewarding Yet Complex Role

Stepping up as a foster parent means welcoming incredible children into your home during a turbulent time. It’s demanding yet rewarding. And the ever-changing policies and rules definitely create headaches sometimes! But going in informed makes a huge difference.

I know the red tape seems endless. But stay focused on connecting with your foster child each day. Keep learning about your rights at key milestones. And lean on other foster families, plus your case worker, for support during this journey. You’ve got this!

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Alder Hiel Kidzoot Team

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