Foster Homes

How many types of foster homes are there?

There are 5 types of foster homes you may be placed in.

  • Level 1- This is a home that is usually a relative or family friend that you already know. The state will give them the option to become licensed and they can receive more training and financial support for you. They would need to pass all licensing requirements to be approved. If they do not pass all requirements, that does not mean you will have to move if you are already living there, it just means they cannot be a licensed home, but you can still live there and they will stay your caregivers under what is called a “relative or non relative placement”
  • Level 2- This is a traditional foster home, where a family in the community will become trained and licensed to take children into their home that are removed from their family.
  • Level 3- These are safe foster homes for victims of human trafficking. These foster parents receive much more training and have more requirements to make sure they provide a home that will meet the needs of a youth that has been sexually exploited.
  • Level 4- Therapeutic foster homes A therapeutic foster parent will have more training to support your mental health needs. You will also have a therapist and psychiatrist (doctor who prescribes medication) that works with your foster parent and you to help support you.
  • Level 5- Medical Foster Homes- These foster homes are for youth who have medical needs that require daily treatment. These foster homes receive a lot of training on how to assist children with their medical needs.

There are different levels of foster homes, but some requirements are the same for every home and are listed below.

What will my foster parent be like?

Your foster parent must be stable, responsible, mature, and at least 21 years old. Your foster parent will be someone who goes through training to be allowed by the state to take kids into their home. They will have a background check, and someone will look at their home to make sure it meets the requirements of being a safe home for you.

TIP FROM SCRAPPY: If at any time you find your foster home does not meet the requirements explained in this section, or if you feel unsafe or unhappy in the home, be sure to inform a trusted adult right away.

What kind of information should the foster parent have about me?

The foster parent should have a record of information about your school, medical and mental health history, a list of medications you are taking, and they must have a document that allows them to take you to the doctor and be involved in your education.

What will the foster home be like?

The foster home will be a family home. The foster parent may have other children or pets. There could be two foster parents or a single foster parent. Foster parents have special rules to make sure you are safe and comfortable in their family home. Some of these rules are:

  • There must be enough space for you in the home
  • You must have space to store items such as clothing, hygiene products, or any other items you might have
  • There must be a door and a lock on all bathroom doors
  • The home must be clean
  • There must not be any smoke in the home, including any vapor smoke

Can my foster family discipline or punish me? What are they allowed to do as discipline?

Foster parents should only discipline you with kindness, consistency, and understanding. Foster parents should also only use positive methods of discipline including: praising you for good behavior, telling you when they are disappointed, taking away privileges, or grounding you. They can also send you to cool off or for a time-out the house or yard, send you away from doing a family activity, or redirect you.

 What are foster parents not allowed to do?

Foster parents must never do the following to punish you:

  • Subject you to cruel, severe, or unusual punishment
  • Use corporal (physical) punishment of any kind
  • Allow another child or adult to punish you that isn’t the foster parent;
  • Tease, threaten, or bully you, or make mean comments or let other children harass or bully you
  • Restrain or lock you in an enclosure, closet, room, bathroom, or any other place;
  • Threaten you with removal from the home, reporting you to the police, or preventing visitation with family
  • Withhold allowance, food, clothing, or shelter
  • Punish you in any way for bed wetting
  • Withhold food

What kinds of food will I get at my foster home?

All foster parents must provide nutritionally balanced meals and age appropriate snacks daily. Food must never be withheld as a punishment. The foster parent must also listen to your parent’s input about your diet needs, if you have any.

What if I have to eat only certain kinds of food, or if I am allergic to foods?

Your case manager should have provided information to your foster family if you have allergies or other special needs. Foster parents must provide for any special dietary needs of the children placed in their home.

Do I get my own bed and my own room?

Yes! All sleeping areas must be:

  • In bedrooms separate from public areas of the house (like a living room or kitchen)
  • There should be space that allows for walking, personal storage, and sleeping for the number of children sleeping in the room
  • You should have your own bed that is the right size for you                                                    
  • Your room must have a comfortable temperature (meaning it is not extremely hot or extremely cold)                                                                                                   
  • Your room must be clean and have lights
  • The foster parent must have a way to access all rooms, including yours, in the house

What sleeping arrangements are not allowed?

  • A coach, sofa, cot, or foldaway bed as a regular sleeping arrangement;
  • A bedroom that you can only get to by passing through another room;
  • Sharing a bed with someone else;
  • Sharing a room with the opposite sex unless it is to maintain a sibling group

Am I allowed to play in sports or other extracurricular activities?

Yes! You have the right to have the same opportunities as other friends your age under normalcy LINK

Can I go to a friend’s house? What about sleepovers?

Yes! You have the right to have the same opportunities as other kids your age. For example, your foster parent should not have to request a background check on your friend’s family before you have a sleepover just because you are in foster care. This is because your foster parent must act as a “reasonable and prudent parent,” and most parents do not run a background check of every family their child spends the night with. However, reasonable parents may choose to meet your friend’s parent before you spend the night to make sure they know where you are going.

Who will take me to the doctor if I am sick or for a checkup?

Your foster parent is responsible for taking you to all of your medical and mental health appointments

What is the difference between a traditional and therapeutic foster home?

A therapeutic foster parent will have more training to support your mental health needs. You will also have a therapist and psychiatrist (doctor who prescribes medication) that works with your foster parent and you to help support you.

The Law

Fl Stat Sec 409.175, Fl Admin Code 65C- 45.003, 45.010

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