FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
I am divorced. Can I still be a foster parent?
Yes, however, it is important that you have a good support system. If you are alone, it’s very helpful to have someone that can help you if your car breaks down, if you must work late or if you just can’t pick up the child as agreed upon or take them to an appointment.
I rent my home; can I foster?
Yes, it is okay to rent, but you must have enough room in the apartment to accommodate the children you will foster. Adding a child would not be feasible if you have a one-bedroom apartment.
I am retired. Can my wife and I still foster?
Yes, as long as you are mentally, physically, and financially fit and otherwise qualified to foster, this would not disqualify you.
I work. Can I foster?
Yes, as long as childcare needs are provided for.
I have two kids of my own, is that okay?
Yes, however, considering the specific issues of the potential placements and of your children, it may impact placements. For example, there are rules for how rooms can be shared. Also, if your kids have behavioral or medical challenges, placing additional children might be difficult due to the issues with your existing kiddos. Sometimes children cannot be placed with younger children, or when there is a large age gap.
Can I take the kids to my church?
As a rule, yes. However, we cannot force a child to engage in church-related expectations, such as praying, taking communion, baptism, etc. If your church has some potentially dangerous practices, we will probably ask that you do not take the kids. We must also respect the faith of the child placed in your home. If they profess a certain religion, you would be expected to take them to that faith’s services. (Such as taking a Catholic child to mass, a Jewish child to the local synagogue, etc.)
Can I give the kids chores?
Chores that are part of teaching structure and routine, such as making their bed, cleaning their play area, etc., are certainly appropriate. There may be some limits preventing potentially dangerous chores, such as operating equipment, climbing a ladder, etc. Foster kids are not placed to staff family businesses or to be used as laborers.
Will I be able to adopt the foster kids we have in our home?
It is important to remember that foster care is designed to be temporary. The children are returned home, or a permanent family is targeted based on their potential kinship relationship, their time in foster care, and their specific needs. With that said, foster parents are often an obvious consideration to adopt the children they have cared for. It is very common that when adoption decisions are made, the foster parents are considered.
I smoke, drink beer, and have guns. Do you have a problem with that?
Pennsylvania does not allow anyone to smoke in the car or at home while a foster child is present. This is non-negotiable; if you MUST smoke in the house, we cannot approve you. Alcoholic beverages must not be accessible in any fashion to the children, and we prefer that drinking not be done in the presence of a child to prevent them from being overly curious about experimenting. We certainly respect the right to bear arms; with foster kids in the home, there are rules about locking the guns, storing the ammunition, and preventing the kids from accessing the weapons. Certainly, no one wants to see a child harmed or to make a poor decision that ends with an injury. If you are willing to accept the safety requirements, then things are fine. The main issue is to prevent the children from being able to get to your tobacco, beer/liquor, or guns.
I filed for bankruptcy 15 years ago when my business failed. Will this prevent me from fostering?
Every foster parent must show they are financially stable at the time they are approved. If your bankruptcy is current or was filed in the last year or two, it may prevent you from being approved. The main issue is, how are your finances today? Did your credit and finances improve after the bankruptcy, or are you still having difficulty? In short, the answer is no, it will not impact you significantly, but more recent concerns may indicate that your financial habits have not changed.
I was arrested for a bar fight and DUI in college but have not been in trouble since. Is this something that prevents me from fostering?
If this happened last month, it surely indicates a problem with drinking and perhaps anger concerns. We reserve the right to have you address concerns professionally before being considered for approval. It is less of a problem if ten years have passed without new incidents. We may ask if you have done anything to address whatever issues had occurred in the past to make sure you are appropriately stable at this time.
We are currently with another agency; can we transfer to LifeSpan?
We do not recruit foster parents from other agencies as that is often bad practice. However, you may apply, and we will seek a reference from your current agency and others to see if it was a positive experience or if there are issues that need to be addressed.
Are there job openings at your agency?
At Lifespan Family Services of PA, we recognize the valuable role that caseworkers play in the lives of foster children and families. Although we may not currently have openings for caseworker positions, we are always eager to connect with individuals who are interested in making a difference in the lives of vulnerable children.
Caseworkers at our agency have a unique opportunity to positively impact the lives of children in foster care. They work closely with foster families, birth families, and various community resources to ensure the safety, well-being, and overall development of the children in our care.
While we may not have immediate openings, we encourage interested individuals to send us their resumes for future consideration. By doing so, you become part of our talent pool, and we can reach out to you when a position becomes available. We are committed to attracting dedicated professionals who are compassionate, empathetic, and possess excellent communication and problem-solving skills. A full job description can be found at the bottom of this page. If you feel you have the necessary qualifications and experience to be a caseworker, we would love to hear from you. Please send your resume and a cover letter outlining your interest in working with us to firstname.lastname@example.org.
At LifeSpan Family Services of PA, we value diversity and are an equal opportunity employer. We believe in fostering an inclusive and supportive work environment that encourages personal and professional growth. We offer competitive compensation packages and opportunities for professional development to our team members. Thank you for considering LifeSpan Family Services of PA as a potential employer.
LifeSpan Family Services Caseworker Job Description:
Placement of children (0-21 years of age), case planning, referral to services as needed Case documentation, arranging and monitoring visitation, providing community information/education Home visits to assess safety and needs of children and families Participate in court proceedings Implement coordinated interventions by linking with other agencies (e.g., mental health, school, and/or medical) and general welfare services Maintaining records of children and families, meeting state and agency regulations Works within the multidisciplinary team and takes part in associated meetings Develops an agency ISP (Individualized Service Plan) Provide a full range of emergency/temporary foster care services to foster parents and children (which includes training, crisis intervention services, placement and monitoring, and transporting) Occasional on-call hours as directed Interface with all providers for the purpose of planning meetings; developing ISP’s and other required documentation Prepare monthly progress reports and other reports required by the various counties and this agency Adhere to all program and agency policies and procedures governing the objectives of the agency and foster care program; performs other duties as mutually agreed upon.
Bachelor's degree in education, medicine, or a human services field; or A bachelor’s degree in another field; or an associate's degree with equivalent experience, namely a minimum of two years working full time with children TSS, or early childhood work experience is highly prized. Must have excellent written and verbal communication skills Must have excellent interpersonal skills and the ability to work with persons from various ethnic, cultural, and socioeconomic backgrounds. Must be able to use a computer to type reports and other required documentation
Must have a registered and insured vehicle in Pennsylvania Certificate of Insurance for the vehicle must be provided and updated as renewed to the agency Valid Pennsylvania Driver License Travel throughout our service area to county offices, courthouses, service providers, families, and medical, dental, vision, and mental health appointments Current Act 33 and State Police Clearances Maintain cell phone coverage On-call rotation Available to work a flexible schedule, including some limited evenings and weekends
BENEFITS AND COMPENSATION:
One week of paid vacation in the first year, 5 sick days, 10 paid holidays, medical benefits, 401k, AFLAC options, mileage reimbursement, Credit Union privileges, paid training/conferences, paid travel expenses, and mileage (benefits after 90-day probation). LifeSpan Family Services is a 501(c)(3) non-profit agency and is an Equal Opportunity Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, national origin or ancestry, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, disability, marital status, familial status, age (40 or over), or use of a guide or support animal because of blindness, deafness, or physical disability of any individual or independent contractor or because of the disability of an individual with whom the person is known to have an association or on any other basis prohibited by federal, state, or local law.