After your initial phone contact with NFI, you will schedule a time to meet the resource coordinator at your home. You will be given an overview of NFI and the role of therapeutic foster parents. You will be asked about your experiences working with and raising children, your home and work life, and your motivation for becoming a therapeutic foster home. NFI will try to give you a realistic impression of how becoming a foster parent may negatively as well as positively impact your life. You will have the opportunity to ask questions.
At the interview, you may receive an application packet to fill out. If, after the interview, you wish to continue with the process, fill out the application completely, including four references, and return to NFI as soon as possible. A Vermont Criminal Investigation Check is standard procedure for everyone who works with our children. The VCIC is a registry that completes a background check on any criminal history or sexual abuse history of the applicant. The VCIC is to be signed by all people aged sixteen years and older who live in your home. After the VCIC is complete you will be asked to have a fingerprint check run.
Once your application has been reviewed, you will receive a call to discuss the next steps. If you are unsure about being a foster parent, please discuss your concerns during the telephone call. The resource coordinator will help you make an informed decision about how/if you would like to proceed. If you would like to proceed, a time will be set aside to come to the NFI office to meet with two of our case managers.
The resource coordinator will want to meet with everyone living in your home including your own children to answer any questions they may have.
We recognize that it may be a challenge to meet during the workweek, but it is necessary due to the resource coordinator’s travel and time constraints.
The Home Study
The home study is an in-depth psycho-social narrative concentrating on who you are now, how you were raised, parenting styles and strengths & weaknesses.
You will be asked about such things as:
- Personal and family background (childhood experiences, education, employment history, where you have lived within the past ten years)
- History of alcohol or drug abuse, any past criminal offenses.
- Family health
- Your financial situation (employment, income)
- Interests and activities of family members
- Family behavior (coping with stress, philosophy of discipline)
- What types of children you would like to have in your home
The resource coordinator will also look at your home to check for such things as:
- Where a foster child would sleep
- Non-locking bathroom and bedroom doors
- Working smoke detectors on all levels of the house
- Fire extinguisher in the kitchen
- Guns and ammunition removed or locked separately from each other
You will be asked to take necessary measures to meet regulations before a child is placed in your home.
At the close of the home visit, you and the resource coordinator will have a better idea about whether therapeutic foster care is right for your family. Once you have met NFI regulations, references have been checked, and everyone in your home has been cleared by the VCIC and fingerprints, you can begin planning on having a child placed in your home.
Foster parents must complete sixteen hours of training per year, including an orientation. Trainings are scheduled throughout the year and address various topics of concern to NFI foster parents. Trainings are typically scheduled September through June during the academic school year and during the day when children are in school.