Friday, January 2, 2015

All items must be completed prior to verification

Since we are having to officially go through the licensing process again, I figured I can share what it looks like. My agency calls it "verification". And yes, we are being RUSHED through because much of what we need still counts from when we were verified just two months ago and we're staying with the same agency. It really is just a formality. But my agency is required by all the rules and regulations to fill out all the paperwork again from scratch and to redo our home study.

I'm going to copy the checklist Rainbow gave me word for word so y'all can see everything foster parents are told from the beginning. She seems to think we will get through all this in only 16 more days. (I told you they're rushing us through! This took over 6 months the first time around.)
  1. Foster Parent Application
  2. Criminal Background Check for anyone over the age of 14 living in the home. In order to complete this check, we will need a copy of your driver's license and social security card. We will also need a background check for anyone over the age of 14 who visits the home more than twice a month. An individual who visits the home more than twice a month is considered a frequent visitor. You will need to include these visitors on the Frequent Visitors form. If you have lived outside the state of Texas in the past 5 years, you will need a background heck from that state as well. (All of our background checks are still valid. This is a time consuming part of the verification process that for us is already done.)
  3. The form, Disclosure of Family Violence (Form 2954) will be needed. If there have not been any incidents of family violence, you will write 'None' on the form. If you disclose that there has been family violence, you will need to fill out Form 2946, which will be given to you by the Foster Parent Recruiter.
  4. Foster Parent Questionnaire with Autobiography (one for each parent). (Thankfully Rainbow is using our original autobiography so we don't have to write a new one. The questionnaire is huge though and Mr. Amazing and I each have to fill one out.)
  5. We also have our foster parents do an online questionnaire called People Keys. When you have finished taking this online, let the Foster Prent Recruiter know and we will print out your results. (Rainbow marked through this requirement for us. I guess we don't have to do it.)
  6. Everyone living in the home that is over the age of 14 will need to obtain FBI Fingerprints. Frequent visitors that have lived outside the state of Texas in the past 5 years will also need FBI Fingerprints. *You will be reimbursed for this expense once you are verified. (Hmmmm....I have NEVER been reimbursed for our fingerprints and Herman just had his done last year when the age changed from 18 to 14. I'm a little miffed. It costs over $40 to get prints done.)
  7. All members of the household need to have TB tests. Foster Parents must also get a Statement of Health from their doctor. (I'm not looking forward to this. I just had my TB test this fall. I'm hoping I can get the results and that they'll count. Sadly, I think I have to take everyone else in to the doctor and pay a co-pay for a visit for each one. The place I used to take kids to that just did the test is no longer in business.)
  8. If you own a dog, cat, and/or ferret, they must have current vaccinations.
  9. You must schedule a Fire Inspection and Health Inspection for your home. Foster Parent Recruiter will assist if needed. You will need to purchase a 5lb ABC fire extinguisher and have it serviced by a professional. (We have a current fire inspection but Rainbow marked that our health inspection has to be redone.)
  10. A copy of diploma or G.E.D. is needed, however if neither can be provided, you must complete the Proficiency Exam.
  11. If you are currently married, a copy of your marriage license is needed. If you have been divorced, a copy of the divorce decree will be needed as well.
  12. The Foster Parent Recruiter will need to schedule an appointment to go to your home for an inspection. At this time, pictures will be taken of every room inside the home.
And now the forms that must be filled out. This list is long.
  • Foster Home Floor Plan & Evacuation Route
  • Foster Home Disaster Plan
  • Vehicle Inspection Form
  • Annual Driving Record Questionnaire
  • School District Information Sheet
  • Medical/Dental Provider Information Sheet
  • Safety Rules for Foster Family Members (signed by all household members)
  • Foster Parents and Child Placing Agency Rights & Responsibilities
  • Foster Home Agreement
  • Foster Home Acknowledgement Form
  • W9 for both parents
  • 5 Year Residency Form
  • Child Specification Checklist

Additional documents and forms that need to be turned in:
  • Copy of Birth Certificate or Passport
  • 2 consecutive itemized bank statements for the past two months and/or previous year's tax return
  • Copy of pay stubs (most recent)
  • Current automobile insurance
  • Copy of house rules, rewards, consequences, daily schedule (school days), daily summer schedule, rules of swimming pool (if applicable) (Rainbow is just using our old documents.)

And the trainings:
  • Group Study Process (GSP) 1, 2, 3 (Rainbow has to officially "go over" this with us. We've done this before though so it will just be a formality.)
  • Behavior Intervention (BI) 1, 2, 3, 4 (Rainbow has to officially "go over" this with us as well. Texas requires that you do these trainings all the bloody time. After going through all four prior to verification, I think you do two of them every other year, rotating between the four...but I don't remember for sure. I just go through the motions with the trainings because when they're required of current foster parents, the trainers just rush through things. I have always hated the trainings that Texas requires. They are too simple and no one takes them seriously after you've done them once. Foster parents would benefit from NEW trainings that cover the realities of parenting kids from the hurt places. But those trainings aren't available where I live and my agency makes up most required training hours by making us repeat things yearly.)
  • CPR & First Aid ($50 per parent will be reimbursed once verified) (We are current with this.)
  • Psychotropic Medication Training (Our old training still counts.)
  • Trauma Training (Our old training still counts.)
  • Critical Incident Reporting (Rainbow will do this with us at home.)
  • Indian Child Welfare Act (Rainbow will do this with us at home.)
  • Home Study Interviews (Rainbow will do this with us at home.)

Incentive: if your home is verified within 60 days of GSP, we will give you $100! (I think this is new too and I seriously wonder if we qualify. I would think that because we are getting verified all over again that we will. I'm not exactly sure how I feel about it. On one hand, getting reimbursed for some of the expenses is nice. On the other, our agency hardly reimburses for anything so I wonder if it's giving people the wrong impression about fostering.)


Alethea said...

Dang that "frequent visitor" requirement is harsh. Luckily we don't have that in my state! We have many friends who visit more than once a month, always when adults are home, and they totally help us keep our sanity. It would be a huge pain to demand that they all take the time and expense to do background checks or stop dropping by.

Cherub Mamma said...

The frequent visitor requirement is totally TOO harsh!! Technically it even applies to someone like a contractor that you would hire to repair or remodel something in your home.

I don't have a lot of friends that stop by. But I don't make the ones that do go through the background check. Right or wrong, the only way we can get busted is if one of our friends is over to the house AND someone from CPS licensing comes at the exact same time. The odds of that happening are so small that it's not worth requiring anyone I know to go get their fingerprints done. Even then, someone would have to have reason to believe that this person comes over more than twice a month.

And the State is much more lenient for people under 18 so none of Herman's friends are listed as frequent visitors either. IMO the State trumps my agency when it comes to this rule.

We had NOTHING like this when we were licensed in Iowa.

The Frequent Visitor rule is one thing that really does make me angry.

In my opinion I think we SHOULD be vetted VERY thoroughly PRIOR to becoming a foster parent. And check up on us. Please do. But I also think we should be trusted as well. Requiring everyone I come into contact with to get their fingerprints done is nothing but an expensive rule that does NOT protect children.

Foster Mom - R said...

Ugh! We just did our renewal paperwork (every 4 years) and I while not as extensive the TB test is a Pain. It's not even required but it's on the form so our doc required one.

aka. Mimi said...

The "frequent visitor" thing is ridiculous. As far as CPS and my agency knew, I had NO friends. Lol. And as a single foster mom, it definitely puts a damper on dating! Hi, Mr. New Possible Romantic Suitor. I'm going to need you to fill out this form giving me ALL of your personal information and run down to the fingerprinting place before I can date you. Don't worry! I'm not going to steal your identity or anything!" I can just see me asking the apartment maintenance men to give me their SS#s! I don't think the state thought that one through very well.

Cherub Mamma said...

Yup. My Frequent Visitor form is blank. I told Rainbow to leave it that way. Said I'm a loser. LOL