How old do you have to be to become a foster parent?
You must be 21 years old in order to become a foster parent.
Do you have to be married in order to become foster parents?
No, you do not have to be married. We work with single parents, same-sex couples, engaged couples, life-long couples, as well as married couples. 
What are the steps to becoming a foster parent?

1. Contact a homefinder (253-1396 or 253-1190). (No fees involved.)

2. Meet with a homefinder. (No fees involved.)

3. Take the mandatory foster parenting (MAPP/GPS II) classes. (No fees involved.)

4. Complete necessary paperwork and clearances. (There are no fees involved, with the exception of needing an up-to-date physical and Tuberculin Test. You are responsible for these.)

5. Complete a home inspection (There no fees involved to have the home inspection. If changes must be made to your home, you are responsible for those changes. A majority of the home inspection is fire safety-related.)

Is foster parenting a right?
No, foster parenting is not a right. There are times when the agency decides not to follow through with certifying a potential foster parent(s). This may be because clearances come back with concerns, a home does not meet agency standards, or it is         mutually agreed that foster parenting is not right for the potential foster parent at this time in his/her life. This does not necessarily happen often, and if there are concerns, we ask that the potential foster parent is honest from the beginning, as the agency will always be honest as well. 
What resources are available to foster parents?
Every child in care comes with a caseworker. The caseworker is a means of support for the child and his/her family, as well as the foster parents. Foster parents are also designated a homefinder, who certifies them and stays with them once they are a foster parent. A homefinder is strictly a support for the foster parent. They help to answer questions, are always willing to lend an ear, and provide trainings to help foster parents stay up-to-date on agency information. Trainings are also meant to educate foster parents on ways of helping the children in their home. Foster parents receive a monthly stipend, and support with counseling and/or services the child may need. 
Are foster parents responsible for medical coverage of children in care?
No. Children in care are covered under Medicaid or some other form of insurance
Do foster parents receive financial support?
Yes. When a child is placed in their home, foster parents receive a daily rate for the child and are paid on a monthly basis. There is also help with clothing. 
What does Cayuga County look for in a foster parent?
Although becoming a foster parent can be a process, the agency works closely with potential foster parents in order to learn about their personal life and home life. In  return, the agency staff remains “an open book,” and answers any questions the potential foster parents may have. It is our hope that foster parents will have a caring, nurturing nature, with the ability to care for children, as if they were their own. We also look for people who have the ability to empathize with birth parents, and are willing to help birth parents in working to get their children back into their home. 
Does Cayuga County have children in need of adoption?
At times, there are children in need of adoption. However, quite often, if a child is living in a foster home and becomes freed for adoption, their foster family will make the   educated decision to adopt him/her. Many parents begin as foster parents, and  transition to foster/adoptive parents. This does not mean you have to be willing to adopt once you become a foster parent. The agency has parents who decide solely to foster, some choose to become foster/adoptive, meaning they are open to both fostering and adopting, and then there are some parents who choose solely to be adoptive parents. The agency can help you with this decision when the time is necessary.
Is there a high need for foster parents
Yes. Unfortunately, there are many children in care, or who can potentially come into care at any moment. Homefinders do their best to match children to the right family. The agency is also in need of foster parents who are able to take in sibling groups (as we try to keep siblings together if possible), teenagers, and children with behavioral needs. The majority of our children entering care have mild to moderate needs. 
I still have questions, who can I contact?
You can always contact a homefinder to learn more. Homefinders are happy to answer any questions you may have, and are always willing to meet with you in person if you prefer. (Homefinder contact info: 253-1396 or 253-1190).