When we started fostering in South Carolina many years ago the number of minor children allowed in the home was 5. I was told that at one time it was 6 but a child died in a home with 6 children so the number was lowered to 5. We stopped fostering because we were at the maximum allowed number of minor children.
A few weeks ago I ran into a social worker at our local sno cone place. She asked us to start fostering again. I said we couldn't, she told me that the number of children allowed had changed. It changed to 8! Last week I ran into a foster parent, she asked us to come back, she said that the need was so great. Then we suddenly were drawn back into the DSS circle in other ways.
Last Tuesday I found myself asking my husband how he would feel about getting back into faster care. Surprisingly, he said yes. I made a call to Heartfelt Calling and within minutes was signed up for fingerprinting and classes. We have to start all over again. Looking for letters of references, physicals, paperwork, training, fingerprinting, inspections. Whew, so much.
Wednesday I missed a call from Columbia DSS. We played phone tag for a few days and now are set for our first social worker visit on Monday. At this time we are scheduled for fingerprinting on Friday, training on November 12 and 19th, first social worker visit on Monday. We have filled out our financial paperwork and are looking for our old biographies to see if we can update them.
When we left foster care it was not unusual for the process to take a year. It was a huge problem. Now they have regionalized things and it is supposed to go quicker, we were told 120 days. That is good, it takes us past Christmas, our cruise and pretty close to Benjamin's third birthday.
We are putting our maximum number of kids at 2 (sibling group) and our maximum age will be 8. We know that they will call us for all ages. However, with our group of 10-13 year olds we don't need to have more kids that age in the pack! We also don't want to do older because you don't know what behaviors a teenager will have and we have some very impressionable kids. So I am working on no, no, not in our age range.
We feel that we can manage that. I do worry how it will impact my business a bit but time will tell.
I have to say that the number 8 does worry me. I know that the state raised the number of kids allowed because of the shortage of foster homes and the pressure to stop putting kids into hotels. However, 8 can be a lot for some people especially if they take in more than one sibling group. I see a recipe for disaster. I looked at other states and there were a few that allowed 8 or 9, most were a 5 or 6. Any fosters out there? How many does your state allow?