- How do I get information about becoming a Foster parent in Suffolk County?
If you're interested in becoming a foster parent for one or more of Suffolk County's needy children, please contact the Resource Development Unit of the Suffolk County Child Placement Bureau at (631) 853 - KIDS.
- What are the requirements for being a Foster Parent?
Prospective foster parents must be over the age of twenty one (21) and may be single, married or in a relationship. Interested parties will be invited to an orientation at which time an application will be
provided along with an explanation on how to complete it. Once DSS receives a completed application, along with a physical completed by a medical professional, the applicant must be fingerprinted. Once cleared, the prospective foster parent will be invited to attend a 30-hour preparation course. During or shortly after this course, a home study will be conducted comprising of a social interview and a safety assessment of the home. Please note, supporting documents (birth certificates, driver's license, PSEGLong Island statement to name a few) will be requested. DSS does not charge a fee for any portion of this process.
- Do I have to make a lot of money to be a Foster Parent?
Foster parents must have sufficient regular income to sustain their own family without relying on the monthly foster care stipend. AFDC, temporary disability, student loans and unemployment compensation do not qualify as income.
Can Foster Parents work outside the home?
Yes. Suffolk County has working parents as well as stay-at-home parents who serve many types of children. Working parents must have some flexibility in their work schedule so that the foster children can be transported to scheduled visitations, appointments, etc. which typically occur during regular working hours. As a working foster parent you need to develop a child care plan that includes after-school care and care for school vacations and holidays.
- Can single people apply to be Foster parents?
Yes. We recognize that single parents can give high quality care to a child. Single parents do need to identify a back-up provider who can care for your foster children in their absence or illness.
What are the requirements for transporting children?
Foster parents are responsible for transporting foster children to school, doctor appointments, after-school activities, etc., just as they are for their own children. In addition, Suffolk County may need assistance from foster parents, in transporting the foster children to and from court-ordered visitations which may occur during working hours. All vehicles must be in good running order and there must be enough seats, seat belts, car seats and infant car seats available for the entire family.
Will I meet the child before he/she is placed in my home?
Suffolk County is usually working with tight time constraints and therefore "pre-placement visits" may not feasible. We will provide you with as much information as we receive about the child. We will also continue to share additional information as it is received. More often than not, you will need to be prepared to decide about fostering a particular child based solely on information we give to you over the phone.
Will I get to choose the age and/or sex of the child placed in my home?
As part of the application and home study you will identify the age and gender of child or children that you feel would be most appropriate for your home; however, the needs of the foster children of Suffolk County may require us to ask you to take children that may not be in the ranges you originally requested at the time of certification.
Once I am certified, how long will it take to get a foster child placed in my home?
The timing of placements depends on the circumstances of the foster children in Suffolk County. We match children to available homes based on the children’s needs. Placements may be made within a couple days of being licensed or may not occur for a period of time.
Can the foster child go to the school my children attend?
For continuity of educational services, Suffolk County strives to place foster children in foster homes that are in their originating school district. If this is not possible, Suffolk County will determine if keeping the foster child in their district of origin is in their best interests. Otherwise, the caseworker may enroll the foster child in the school district where the foster home is.
Is medical coverage provided to foster children?
Yes. Children placed in the custody of the Commissioner of the Suffolk County Department of Social
Services receive Medicaid which is arranged and processed by the caseworker.
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Guide and What to Expect Next Fostering or Adopting