Saturday, January 3, 2015

Foster Parent Questionnaire

Most people seem to know that foster parents have to go through a home study prior to being approved to do foster care. But people that haven't done one don't know exactly what kinds of questions get asked.

Today's post is a copy, word for word, of the questionnaire that Mr. Amazing and I each have to fill out. This supplements the interview portion of the home study. Rainbow can't use our old answers from the first time we got licensed because the form has changed several times since then.

A. GENERAL INFORMATION
1. Have you been single/married/divorced for at least one year? Check all that applied:
Date of Marriage:
Date of Divorce:
Widowed Date:
Never been married
2. Describe yourself (hair, eyes, height, weight, personality).
3. Describe your spouse's personality.
4. In order to make a potential placement feel more at ease with your family, it would be helpful if he/she got to know you before placement. The following and any other information that will help him/her get acquainted with you before meeting you, along with a family picture if you have one, would be very helpful in facilitating a comfortable placement.
5. Write a brief description of your house and family including:
a. description of house (size, rooms, sleeping quarters, etc.)
b. description of community (rural, urban, farm, etc.)
c. size of family (number of children, ages, etc.)
d. description of children (personality, appearance, etc.)
e. description of pets, if any
6. What are interests/hobbies you share with your spouse (be specific)?
7. What type of goals do you work toward in your marriage?
8. How are important decisions made in your family?
9. How do you handle conflict in your marriage/family?
10. How do you discipline children?
11. Do you both wish to foster a child?
12. How do your children feel about having foster children in the home? What comments/questions have they expressed about fostering?
13. What abilities and experiences do you have which will enable you to parent foster children?
14. List other experiences you have had working with children.
15. Are you taking any kind of prescription medicine? If yes, please list.

B. ATTITUDES TOWARD SEXUAL ISSUES
As you have heard in our training, some of the children we place have been sexually abused. Often we may not know this at the time of the placement and you, the foster parent, will be the one the child may reveal this to. We can't talk about sexual abuse without talking about sex, and you cannot know whether you will be able to handle a child who has been abused without being in touch with your deepest feelings and experiences with sex.
We would like you to answer the following questions as fully as you can, use them to help you, and us, to assess realistically what having such a child in your home can mean to you, your spouse and your present children. If you feel uncomfortable about completing a section of this questionnaire, leave it blank and you can discuss it further with the intake Director at the time of the home visit.
1. Growing up, did anyone ever touch you in a way that made you feel uncomfortable?
If yes, did you tell anyone?
Were you believed?
How did this experience affect you?
2. How would you respond to a child who confides in you for the first time that he/she has been sexually abused?
a. What kind of feeling would you have about the abuser?
b. What kind of feelings would you imagine that the child would have towards an abuser?
3. Do you feel that masturbation is normal?
Why or why not?
4. Many sexually abused children masturbate excessively and in public. How would you respond to this behavior in a child?
5. Was sex talked about in your family?
a. What feelings or messages about sex were given out?
b. Who do you think should provide sex education to children, and at what age should it begin?
6. How would you advise an adolescent who seems to be interested in becoming sexually active or who is already sexually active?
7. How do you feel about birth control for adolescents?
8. What would you do if a foster child made sexual advances to you or to a member of your family or to another child?
9. Do you walk around the home in your underwear?
10. Do you walk around in the nude at home?
11. Do you keep bathroom doors closed during use?
12. Do you keep bedroom doors closed?
13. How would you handle your privacy and the child's need for privacy once a child is placed?
14. How would you respond to a child if you discovered that he or she was involved in homosexual activities?
15. If your foster child has been sexually abused (keeping in mind that we don't always know and most of our children have been), how much would you tell your children, extended family or others?

C. FOR SINGLE PARENTS
1. Do you have a significant/intimate relationship with another or others?
2. How will having a foster child affect the above relationship?
3. Would you live a child along with your partner? Explain:

D. AUTOBIOGRAPHY
Part of your home study to become a foster family is for you to write your autobiography. This helps us to get to know you better before we come to your home for interviews. Please follow the guidelines listed below.
1. Personal information including:
- significant events in your life
- how they affected you
- how do you feel about them now
2. Describe your spiritual life.
3. Address the following questions:
Since I am already a parent or since I have never been a parent....
- why do I really want to do foster parenting?
- how does this fit into my (our) life?
4. Please write at least four pages (not more than 10 pages) and remember to answer in detail and freely express your feelings.
5. Provide a list of all your previous employers back to age 21, along with length of stays and reasons for leaving.

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I'm going to type our answers up for this so it goes faster. After being married for 21 years, so many of the questions will have the exact same answers from both of us. By typing the answers, I can copy and paste the ones that are identical.

I literally asked Rainbow if anyone really reads these. I asked if Mr. Amazing's answers have to be "original".

Rainbow answered that it's OK for me to fill out his questionnaire and to just have him sign it.

I do hope she's being this lax simply because this home study is merely a formality. After all, we've been fostering down here for over four years and our home has only been closed for 2 months.

We only have a few things left to do. Rainbow says she'll contact me Monday to schedule her first home visit. Hopefully my house will be clean enough before she comes. I never clean for social workers...ever. But there's something a little unnerving about having a photo taken in every room of a messy house saved in my home study forever.

5 comments:

G said...

First of all, I'm so excited to hear you're back in the game, so to speak. You're fabulous.

Secondly, that verbiage about using the home study information to help the child feel more comfortable with the placement? Seriously? They make it sound as if the caseworker pulls this file and reviews it with the child before coming to you? Ha!

Cherub Mamma said...

I know @G! Isn't that the truth?! NONE of my kids have ever even been to the agency prior to placement. They have all come straight from the CPS office. Maaaayyybbbeeeee if a child was moving from one foster family to another....maybe then someone at the agency would dig out this file. But I highly, highly doubt it.

If I'm being honest, I don't think they even read the form we fill out about what kids we will take and what ones we won't because I've had calls for kids that are expressly on the "NO" list.

Nicole said...

Our foster parent questions were very similar but I don't think it included the sexual abuse part. And I agree that they'll call you for just about any situation, not just the ones you've indicated you are comfortable with taking. but you are allowed to say no :)

Anonymous said...

I am literally laughing only because...we just had the discussion that our adopted daughter and our foster daughter we plan to adopt...neither one would be with us if they actually used the survey! Glad they don't! LOL! And, so glad you are "back at it."
Mama C.

Annie said...

I wonder if anyone has EVER let a "potential placement" "get to know" their foster family ahead of time. Maybe in a perfect world, but foster care is far from that!