Becoming an OCP Foster Parent: FAQs
The choice to foster a child is an important decision. At Oregon Community Programs, we take extra care to place the right child in the right homes and for the right reasons.
HOW IS OCP DIFFERENT?
You are never alone! We work hard to provide you with the special training, resources, and support necessary to meet the individual needs of the youth. This support is real and the staff is available to you 24/7/365. We know that our foster parents play an important role in the lives of foster children and are the key factor for successful treatment outcomes. Our approach is rooted in evidence-based treatments and prevention services and programs that are underscored by the knowledge that positive reinforcement and support lead to the most enduring, healthy outcomes for children. That is why we provide regular training and support for our foster families with training, consulting and outreach services – we work with you as a team. Our dedicated staff is here to support you and provide ongoing help whenever you need it. As time passes, you will find this is a relief, and that it truly takes a village if you are to succeed.
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.
WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS TO BE AN OCP FOSTER PARENT?
Foster parenting with OCP requires that you must pass a background check, commit to intensive training and agree to participate as a member of the child’s team. You must also have a flexible schedule, and provide children and youth with a safe, nurturing and loving environment during a very difficult time in the child’s life.
• 21 years of age or older
• Single, married or divorced
• Have adequate space for a child
• Have an income adequate for own family/to be financially stable
• Own or rent adequate housing
• Have adequate transportation for appointments and emergencies
• Good physical and mental health
• Ability to work as a team with agency social workers, child’s family, and other service providers
We welcome foster parent applicants of every race and ethnicity, culture, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, and age who meet our certification criteria.
WHAT IS NECESSARY TO BE CERTIFIED AS AN OCP FOSTER PARENT?
You and your partner and/or spouse must both be certified. It is required to pass a criminal history and background check, including fingerprints, and home study visit. Complete 33 hours of pre-service training provided by OCP. We guide you through the certification process and qualifications to become a licensed foster parent with OCP and the State of Oregon. You will need to attend training classes that teach you about foster parenting, expectations, working with the family of origin and more. This process can take 4 to 8 weeks.
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.
WHAT ROLE WILL I PLAY IN SELECTING A CHILD?
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.
DO I HAVE A SAY IN THE CHILD ASSIGNED TO MY HOME?
Yes. 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.
HOW LONG WILL A FOSTER CHILD BE IN MY CARE?
Typically, OCP foster children can be in your care from 9 to 12 months.
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.
IS THERE FINANCIAL SUPPORT FOR FOSTER PARENTS?
Yes. We know a child incurs an expense. You will be provided with a stipend to help you with groceries, clothing, and housing. OCP foster parents receive a generous monthly reimbursement when a child is in your care. The amount may vary, typically, you will receive up to $1,750 month.
WHAT IF I NEED A BREAK?
OCP offers respite care for all of our families and children. Respite is used when a foster family simply needs to take a break for a few days or if the foster family needs to be away for other reasons. Simply let your OCP Program Supervisor know in advance that you need personal time, and they will schedule respite for you.
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 a 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.
CAN I CARE FOR MORE THAN ONE FOSTER CHILD AT A TIME?
We do not typically place more than one child in a home at a time. We will make exceptions in some cases, but our general guideline is one foster child per home. This helps to avoid overwhelming a foster parent and allows for greater focus on the foster child.