G.A. Family Services Foster Care
Every day, children throughout the country, state, and our neighborhoods in Western New York are in need of foster care through no fault of their own. Given the shortage of foster homes nationwide, it is vital that we support our community’s effort by finding safe, stable, and loving homes to help these children cope and heal from their often times traumatic life circumstances.
With G.A. Family Service’s Foster Care Program, we promise that we will work together with you and your family to make fostering the most rewarding experience possible.
As a Foster Parent, you provide a life changing measure of support by assisting families who are hurting to meet the needs of children in times of crisis and disruption. Foster parents are needed to care for teenagers, sibling groups, and children impacted by trauma.
Are you interested in making a difference in the life of a child? Continue reading below to see if becoming a foster parent may be right for you!
“Foster Parents are valued members of our multi-disciplinary team and are honored for their role in the success of our program and desire to make a difference in the life of a child.”
Foster Parents also receive the following benefits:
- Certification status as a foster parent, therapeutic foster parent, and/or respite parent.
- 24/7 support from credentialed clinical, administrative and on-call staff.
- Intensive specialized training all year round.
- Generous financial reimbursement to provide for the needs of the children placed in your home.
- Clinical, behavioral, and emotional support to help foster healing and promote well-being.
- Medical support provided by a Registered Nurse to help ensure preventive care, specialty care and support you when you need it most.
- Attendance at Foster Parent Recognition Events and Celebrations including Foster Parent Banquet, Annual Summer Picnic, Annual Holiday Party, Adoption Ceremony, etc.
- Recruitment Rewards are offered to thank families who help us recruit new resources.
We realize you have a choice and are confident you will find G.A. the leader in providing foster care services across Western New York. Our experience in caring for children, families and each other is solution-focused, trauma-informed and driven by our mission to help families achieve their goals and independence.
Collaborative support and intensive training serves are the hallmark of our Foster Care Program. We commit to being by your side every step of the way in the certification process.
Our Certification Process
Step 1 – The Application Process
The application process to become a New York State certified foster parent requires several steps before approval and certification can occur. The first step towards certification involves completion and submission of your foster care application to the G.A. Foster Care Program.
Step 2 – Home Study
The second step towards certification is completion of the home study process. G.A. Family Services staff will meet with you and your family to develop our working partnership. During this time you will provide background clearances and information that will further assist us in the development of your written homestudy.
We will also explore your strengths and needs in order to further determine your eligibility for certification and placement of a child or children in your home. In addition the homestudy process will help you determine the types of placements that would be the best match for you and your family while supporting your skills in meeting the child’s needs.
Step 3 – MAPP/GPS and Decision Making
Finally prospective foster families are expected to participate in an eleven session mutual selection training program. This program titled Model Approach to Partnership in Parenting: Group Preparation and Selection Process (MAPP/GPS) is offered in a group format, allowing parents to share ideas, learn together and build supportive relationships.
The sessions are designed to help you prepare for foster parenting by enhancing your ability to partner with birth families and meet the needs of children living in your home. Our best hope is that this program will assist you with assessing your own strengths and needs as a potential foster parent for children in care.
Step 4 – Certification and Licensure
Upon successful completion of the certification process your family will be eligible to accept placements in your foster home.
Frequently Asked Questions
Eligible foster parent should meet the following:
- must be at least 21 years of age
- can be single, married, living with a partner, divorced, or widowed
- can be working or stay-at-home parents
- must meet all G.A. and New York State Safety Standards and Screenings
- must have reliable and suitable transportation for children
- must successfully complete the application and certification process
- must offer a safe and loving home
- will work in partnership with G.A. staff
We realize you have a choice in foster care agencies and we are confident you will find G.A. Family Services the leader in providing foster care services across Western New York. Our experience in caring for children, families, and each other is solution-focused, trauma-informed, and driven by our mission to help families achieve their goals.
G.A. Family Services is looking for families who possess strong communication skills, who are reliable and understand the invaluable impact they make on the next generation. In addition, families who are dependable, patient, and willing to learn new strategies to assist children with various needs are very successful when fostering children. The greatest need in the region is for families that will work with youth that are part of sibling groups, and for older youth and teenagers that need structured and kind homes.
G.A. Family Services foster parents can own or lease their home or apartment. Families must ensure their home has adequate room. Foster children of the same sex can share a bedroom with other children in the home. The bedroom must provide ample space for a foster child, including a separate bed and dresser for the child, a door for privacy, and a window to allow for escape in case of emergency. The expectations around fire and safety standards will be explained to you when visiting the home.
Upon completion of the pre-certification program families are expected to attend additional trainings each year. G.A. Family Services offers in house monthly training as well as additional opportunities to enhance your skill development to meet the needs of the children in your home.
Children placed in foster care range in age from birth to 21. These children come to require foster care support due to the challenges in their family of origin and their inability to safely remain in their home. Children placed in foster care have experienced trauma in the form of abuse and neglect. These children are amazingly resilient and will be a positive addition to your family. GA also works with many relative (kinship) foster homes, when relatives of a child in need of a placement becomes a foster parent to provide permanency for youth. There are many youth in GA relative foster homes with grandparents, aunts, uncles, and fictive kin (family friends).
Children placed in your home may come from your community, as well as other areas in Western New York. Children being placed in the foster home may be moving from their family of origin, a relative home, another foster home, or a group care setting.
In most cases children come into foster care on an emergency basis, which does not allow for an opportunity to meet prior to the child coming to live with you. We will always share any information we receive about the child to assist you in determining if he/she is a good match for your family. In those circumstances where opportunity allows, we will schedule visits with the child and your family prior to placement.
The amount of time a child will remain in your home is dependent upon the circumstances involved in placement, the needs of the child, and the needs for their family of origin. Some children are returned home or discharged to family members quickly, while other children may remain in your home for over a year. Children who are not able to be returned to their birth families may become eligible for adoption and your family could have the opportunity to adopt.
Your assistance in supporting family connections for the child in your home is a vital part of your foster parent role. A supportive relationship between the foster parent and members of the child’s family will provide a foundation for the child to thrive through the unified efforts of the most important adults in their lives.
Children are encouraged to be in contact with their families of origin, which could include regularly scheduled visitation, phone calls, and community appointments. Supportive contact with families is essential to maintain the connections that encourage reunification.
In the event that is it decided that a child is unable to safely return to their family of origin, they may become legally freed for adoption. During this process you will be encouraged to consider your role in adoption and will have opportunity to do so.
G.A. Family Services offers extensive support on an ongoing basis, as well as during times of additional need. Families will each work with a skilled case worker who will meet regularly with you to provide oversight and service planning. G.A. Family Services Registered Nurse and Clinical Team will provide ongoing assessment of the needs for specialized services and then coordinate and monitor progress. These services may include, but are not limited to, skill building, mental health counseling, psychiatry, psychology, as well as medical and school based advocacy to support the ongoing needs. G.A. Family Services provides emergency on-call services to support and assist you after normal business hours if an emergency situation arises.
Foster families are expected to have sufficient income to meet their family needs. Financial support may be available to assist you with day care or after school programming for parents working outside of the home. Compensation is provided to offset your increased cost of food, transportation, and activities, but is not to be considered income.