Access Family Services
Be a Therapeutic Foster Parent
Interested in fostering? Complete this form.
Learn more about our Autism Foster Care Pilot
Foster Parent Flyer [Download]
All children should have the chance to grow up in an environment that will help them develop into healthy adults. They need parents who can support their physical, mental and emotional development. They need to be free from physical and emotional harm. At Access Family Services, we are committed to finding and working with caring adults to support the safety and success of the children we serve.
Who can be a therapeutic foster parent?
We need dedicated, patient and flexible adults who are passionate about children and able to provide a child with a stable, caring and supportive environment. Foster parents must be at least 21 years old; have at minimum a high school diploma or GED; have a stable home and income; be willing to be finger printed and have a criminal records check; maintain a drug free environment; and complete all required training and be licensed by the state of North Carolina. A fancy home is not required. You may rent or own. We have worked successfully with single parents, married, same-sex, and domestic partner relationships. We have foster parents who work, who are not working, who are retired, who have high school educations, and who have advanced degrees. We welcome older parents who have finished raising their own children. We look for diversity across hobbies, interests, culture, race and ethnicity, because we believe in matching children to families who share commonalities. While child rearing experience is helpful, it is not necessary, because we provide you intensive training on working with young people with emotional and behavioral needs.
What values do we look for in our therapeutic foster parents?
- Individuals who will enjoy the challenge of working with children and youth with severe emotional and behavioral disturbances because they believe that with patient and structured intervention, children can learn useful strategies to overcome the undesirable symptoms often associated with childhood mental illness.
- Individuals who can give warmth and affection naturally to children in treatment with them and will share their extended family, friends, interests, hobbies and activities with the child to help the child develop and learn the value of an external support network.
- Individuals who can recognize the value of structure and consistency and they feel comfortable with confronting and counseling a child in their care when necessary to help the child learn to respect and accept rules and boundaries.
- Individuals who can find natural ways to complement and build the self-esteem of children and youth in their care;
- Individuals who will show a personal interest in the child in their home and find time each day to talk with the child, praise accomplishments and encourage continued progress.
What kind of commitment is necessary?
Access Family Services provides several levels of foster care, ranging from temporary to short term and long term family foster care, therapeutic foster care, and intensive treatment care. The physical and emotional well-being of our foster parents is important to us, so we work to accommodate your personal and family preferences. Our foster families are able to take breaks between children, ranging from days to months. We identify respite resources for each child, in order to provide foster parents with scheduled breaks on an intermittent basis, to include overnight and weekend breaks several times per quarter.
Pre-service training and licensing is required prior to serving a client. Our parents complete 36 hours of pre-service training and up to 18 additional hours to become treatment level providers (professional parents). Treatment parents serve children with diagnosed behavioral and emotional disorders.
Do Therapeutic Foster Parents have to be licensed?
Yes, North Carolina state law requires that all foster parents be licensed to care for children in their care. These licenses are issued by the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services. Access Family Services is a private child caring agency, licensed to work with potential foster parents to assist them with the licensing process and to provide supervision and support for the foster parents.
What kind of support will I be provided?
We are with you all the way. You will participate as a member of our professional treatment team in developing a plan to meet the child needs. You will have a treatment consultant who works directly with you on how to meet the child’s emotional, physical and behavioral needs. You will receive financial support, which is based on a daily rate of compensation to assist with room and board expenses and special needs. The rate of compensation will vary according to the child’s level of foster care.
Will the children have families and will I have contact with my foster child’s family?
Many of our children will have families, and in most cases, we will be working with the child’s family because most children want to go back home. A variety of circumstances may have contributed to a child being temporarily removed from the home of their parents, ranging from family illness, housing problems, mental illness, neglect, abuse, safety, or parenting issues. The reason doesn’t really matter, because we believe that all families are capable of change and children belong with their parents, if reunification can be done safely. Toward that end, we all work and interact with children’s parents to keep children connected with their families during placement.