Fostering Success in Families
We understand the choice to foster a child is an important decision and at OCP, and we take extra time and care to make sure the decision is right for everyone involved.
This is an exciting time to be a part of the OCP team! Since 1983, we have provided supports and services to children and families in Lane County. Our foster care programs started more than 35 years ago and, over the course of time, we have served thousands of children; however, the demand for loving, nurturing homes like yours has never been greater!
Support is provided for our foster parents and children 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – if you need help, guidance, information, or just have questions about caring for the youth in your home, someone is always available. Because we specialize in treatment foster care, our foster parents are reimbursed at a higher rate than with typical foster care. OCP foster parents earn a tax-free reimbursement of up to $3,200 a month with added incentives and referral bonuses and are given monthly respite opportunities, holiday help, and access to free and discounted community resources.
Minimum Requirements for you to become a foster parent with OCP are:
- Aged 21 or older
- Provide adequate space with a separate bedroom for foster youth
- Pass a home and fire safety inspection
- Complete a criminal and child welfare background check
- Keep an emotionally and financially stable home
- Have a flexible schedule
- Be an accepting home for LGBTQIA+/marginalized youth*
- Live in Douglas, Lane, or Linn/Benton counties
*At OCP, our baseline criteria for certifying a household requires that the primary caretaker(s) are accepting of LGBTQIA+ and marginalized children. While this is our baseline, we seek to recruit and train to homes that are affirming. Affirming goes beyond acceptance, in that you are willing to support a child’s cultural, sexual, gender, spiritual, and/or religious identity and preferences by helping them with access to individual and community resources.
Learn more about the OCP difference, and how you can foster a child and find success for both of you.
The Certification process –
We let you go at your own pace, however typically the time it takes to get certified can range anywhere from 2 to 6 months. This includes the following:
- Initial screening to determine fitness
- A criminal and child welfare background check for all household members 18+
- Comprehensive paperwork and training materials completed via our online portal
- In-person or remote Treatment Foster Care training/orientation (33 hours)
- Attend weekly foster parent support meetings – at least 4 prior to placement – to meet and learn from current foster parents
- Home study interviews and questionnaires conducted in person and/or remotely
- A home and fire safety inspection
- Team lead orientation and training
During this process, we’ll get to know you, your home and lifestyle, and what motivates you in becoming a foster parent. We’ll find out what youth would be best served in your home – we pride ourselves in finding the best possible match! Once certified, you’ll be given placement proposals from our Program Managers, and it’s always up to you to say yes or no. We want what’s best for you and the youth!
We welcome foster parent applicants of every race and ethnicity, culture, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, and age who meet our certification criteria.
IS OCP PART OF DHS?
No, OCP is not part of DHS, but we do receive referrals statewide from juvenile departments and Oregon Youth Authority. DHS can also make a home visit while a child is in your care.
DOES A FOSTER CHILD NEED HIS/HER OWN ROOM?
You are required to provide the foster child with his/her own bedroom. A foster child with OCP may not share a room.
HOW ARE PLACEMENTS ASSIGNED?
We focus on finding a family for the child, rather than finding a child for a family. The child’s unique needs will be kept front and center, with the prospective family’s ability to care for that child being most important. You get a chance to learn about a prospective youth’s history and needs first and then decide if your family is a good fit. However, we ask that when you accept a placement that you be ready to commit for at least one year. This is in the best interest of the child. OCP treats foster parents as professionals, and as such, we believe in setting you up to succeed by providing all the information we have about your foster child. We believe in full disclosure, transparency, and the trust and partnerships that grow from that approach.
CAN A FOSTER CHILD BE PLACED IN MY HOME IF I HAVE MY OWN CHILDREN?
Yes. Many foster families have biological children. We typically do not place a foster child in a home where there are more than 4 children already in the home.
DO OCP FOSTER CHILDREN HAVE CONTACT WITH THEIR BIOLOGICAL PARENTS?
The goal for every OCP foster child is to establish a stable, permanent environment to stabilize and thrive. Even while in foster care, the goal for reunification with their biological family members is desired, if possible. Every case is different and OCP coordinates all visits between the foster child and biological family members if family reunification is needed. Foster parents typically have very limited contact with biological families.
WHY ARE THE CHILDREN YOU PLACE IN FOSTER CARE?
The reasons vary, but the children or their parents have typically been involved in the juvenile justice, child welfare, mental health and/or developmental disability service systems.
Love Comes in Many Forms
Just like kids, families come in many different forms: traditional two-parent families, single parents, same-sex couples, and retired and widowed people. We welcome people who don’t have children of their own, as well as those with their own (almost) full house.
We welcome foster parent applications from Oregon residents of all races and ethnicities, religious affiliations, sexual orientations, and ages who meet our certification criteria.
Children living in foster care may be infants, toddlers, preschoolers, grade-school age, or teenagers. They come from many types of backgrounds, cultures, and families. They are like other children, each with their own special personality, abilities, interests, and potential. OCP is committed to recruiting a diverse pool of foster families who can be strong role models for our clients and keep them connected with their cultural backgrounds.
Working with LGBTQ+ Youth
National research has shown that children and teens who identify as LGBTQ+ are over-represented in the foster care system. Young people who identify as LGBTQ+ enter foster care for many of the same reasons as a non-LGBTQ+ youth in care. However, many children and teens who are LGBTQ+ have the added layer of trauma that comes with being rejected or mistreated because of their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.
What does it mean that LGBTQ+ youth are “over-represented” in foster care? This means that the percentage of youth in foster care who are LGBTQ-identified is larger than the percentage of LGBTQ+ youth in the general youth population. LGBTQ+ youth in foster care also face disparities – differences in experiences in care or treatment by the system.
Like all young people, children and teens who identify as LGBTQ+ in foster care need the support of a nurturing family to help them grow into healthy adults. Foster parents can provide this support and safe, nurturing home where children and teens feel comfortable expressing themselves and to become the person they are meant to be.
OCP believes these risks can be mitigated by foster families who are willing to nurture and protect the health, safety, and well-being of these young people. It is essential to provide stable, supportive, and welcoming families for LGBTQ+ adolescents, where youth can develop the strength and self-confidence they need to become successful adults. Contact us to learn more.