Foster Care

Being Needed and Meeting Needs

You’ve got questions, we know. And we’re here to help you find the answers you’re looking for.
Foster care is something most of us have heard of, but what exactly is it? This page gives you a brief introduction to foster care, the people and how it works. Damar Foster Care Services depends on people like you. People who are searching for answers, searching for a higher calling. Be that person and make the difference.

Foster care is a state-managed child welfare system that provides out-of-home placement for children who have been removed from their original home due to neglect, abuse, delinquency or abandonment. These children are placed in the homes of licensed foster parents until reunification occurs or a permanent placement can be made.

Children enter foster care when a birth parent or legal guardian unable or unwilling to provide safety and care for a child. Children are removed due to the risk or actual occurrence of neglect or harm. In such cases and when possible, every effort is made to place children in close proximity to their families, school districts and their communities.

Indiana policy requires that each child is placed in the least restrictive, most family-like setting that is able to meet his/her needs. Children are most often referred for foster home placement by the Indiana Department of Child. Damar Foster Care Services and the referring agency will identify the best foster home placement option for the child, considering the child’s needs and proximity to the child’s essential connections. Children can be placed in foster care following an emergency removal or through a planned transition.
Children can be placed in a licensed foster home, group home or child-caring institution, or other court-approved facility. They can also be placed in the care of approved family members and non-relatives with strong family ties, referred to as “kinship care”. Approved caregivers can become licensed foster parents to receive foster care funding (per diem). Approved caregivers who become licensed are not required to care for additional children.
A foster child is a child who has been declared a Child In Need of Services (CHINS) by a judge following the state’s substantiation of abuse or neglect. Some children remain with their birth families following adjudication while others who are at risk of further trauma are removed from their home and placed in foster care (or into a court-approved facility).

Foster children represent all genders, ages, ethnicities, cultures and religions. Some may have special medical, developmental, physical, behavioral or mental health needs. All foster children have been affected in some way by their experiences and by the separation from their family. Many foster children exhibit stress and worry in their behavior which occurs as a result of a child’s experiences.

Many children in foster care are struggling to cope with grief and loss experienced from being separated from their families as well as from trauma experienced in their pasts. Foster children typically need extra support, patience, understanding and guidance from their foster family.

A foster parent is a trained and licensed adult who provides loving support, guidance, safety, and stability to a child or children in the foster care system. Acting in the best interest of children, foster parents work closely and actively with numerous child welfare professionals. These professionals include Case Managers, child advocates appointed by the court, social workers, psychologists, physicians, education professionals, or other individuals identified as needed. These individuals work to achieve the ultimate goal of family reunification or other permanent placement.

Like the children they help to nurture, foster parents represent all genders, ages, ethnicities, cultures and religions. They can be single, coupled or married; stay at home or maintain a job; rent or own their home; or have children of any age or none at all.

However, they must be financially and emotionally stable, responsible and willing to work as a member of a team.

Foster parenting is a very rewarding experience, but it requires sacrifice and commitment. Foster children come from various backgrounds, abusive or neglectful environments, poverty, or other stressful situations, and many of them may have emotional and behavioral challenges that require counseling or other support. In addition to having adequate time and financial resources to support a child, prospective foster parents are encouraged to realistically consider the emotional impact of helping a child.

Learn all that you can about foster parenting. If possible, talk to skilled foster parents about their experiences. You should also consider scheduling a Damar Foster Care Services orientation meeting to learn more about the foster parent licensing process and the needs of children in care. If you have any questions or want to schedule a foster parent orientation meeting, contact Guenevere Kalal, Director of Damar Foster Care Services, at 317-813-4720or gueneverek@damar.org.

Ever thought about what life as a foster parent is really like? You’re probably wondering about how to balance career and family life and about the specifics of your duties and day-to-day life as a foster parent. Foster parenting can be one of the most rewarding steps you take. As a foster parent, you’ll make a lasting impact in a child’s life.

Foster parents usually work outside the home. However, if a foster child requires day care, the foster parents is typically responsible for that expense. Foster parents must exhibit financial stability and be able to maintain household and family expenses. Foster parents usually need not make a set minimum income nor own a large home.
Yes. However, keep in mind that there are many children needing foster care, and through experience and training, you may discover that you are most effective in caring for a specific age group or a range of ages. Foster families are needed for children of all ages, including teens, sibling groups and children with special medical, developmental, behavioral and mental health needs.
Each foster home and child is assigned a Foster Care Case Manager from the Damar Foster Care Services, who is responsible for providing regular, ongoing support. Supportive services (respite care, training, crisis intervention, etc.) are provided by the licensing agency. Support is also available through state and local associations.
Respite care is the provision of short-term, temporary relief of duty for foster parents. This “break” can last for just a day, a weekend, a week or longer. Damar Foster Care Services assists its licensed foster families with obtaining respite care.

If you are a foster parent or kinship caregiver, your first step should be to check with your foster care case manager to find out what types of respite are available to you.

Each child’s length of stay is determined by their family case plan and can be short-term or for an extended time. When possible, the initial goal for foster children is the prompt reunification with their birth parents. Biological families are given adequate time to meet identified needs. When reunification cannot occur, permanency placement plans can change to include kinship care, adoption, guardianship or preparation for independent living (for older youth transitioning to adulthood).
It is most common for children placed in foster care to be insured by Medicaid.
You don’t have to do it alone. Becoming a foster parent is a journey, and Damar Foster Care Services helps you at every step. We’re here to answer your questions and support you through the process of becoming a foster parent. Damar Foster Care Services helps you navigate the requirements and training that help make truly extraordinary foster parents. If you have questions throughout the process, we’re here to help.

Foster care regulations vary from state to state, but to meet the basic requirements in Indiana and of Damar Foster care Services, you must be:

  • 21 years of age or older
  • Able to provide a safe, stable and nurturing home environment
  • Able to pass a physical examination.
  • Able to pass a criminal and Child Protective Services (CPS) background check
  • Able to provide character references
  • Have a regular source of income and be financially stable
  • Willing to participate in mandatory foster parent training
  • Willing to participate in the SAFE home study process
  • Pass a home safety inspection

Foster parents share an important commonality: They all want to help children in need. For more information about foster parent requirements, contact Guenevere Kalal, Damar Foster Care Services, at 317.813.4720 or gueneverek@damar.org

If you think that foster parenting is right for you and feel that you can meet the basic requirements, it’s time to begin the application process. If you have questions or would like to talk to a Damar Foster Care Services representative, contact Guenevere Kalal, Director of Damar Foster Care Services, at 317.813.4720 or gueneverek@damar.org.
The licensing process can be as short as 3 months or as long as 1 year. It largely depends on how long it takes for foster parents to fulfill all licensing requirement, including application paperwork and the Resource and Adoptive Parent Training (RAPT). Other factors, such as the SAFE (Structured Analysis Family Evaluation) home study process, completion of background checks, and reference checks influence the licensing timeframe.
Training requirements for foster parenting vary from state to state. Most states require both pre-service training (before you become a foster parent) and in-service training (after you become a foster parent) to maintain your license.

Damar Foster Care Services requires/provides 20 hours of pre-service training to individuals seeking foster home licensing. An additional 6 hours of adoption-specific training is required for parents and families seeking to adopt a child through foster care. Damar Foster Care Services also provides the required CPR, First Aid and Universal Precautions training/certification to individuals going through the licensing process and ongoing to licensed foster parents. Each foster parent is required to maintain annual ongoing training to maintain a foster home license.

Foster parents do not get paid for the job of caring for children, but rather they receive a reimbursement (per diem) that is intended to provide for the needs (e.g., food, clothing, school supplies, daycare, extracurricular activities, etc.) of the children in their care. Each state, including Indiana, sets its own rates for reimbursement based on each child’s age and level of supervision and need. Damar Foster Care Services can provide you with current information regarding Indiana’s reimbursement rates.
Yes. Married couples or two individuals who wish to share the responsibilities of foster parents must apply jointly. Both individuals are required to meet the state licensing requirements, and the stability of the relationship and commitment to parent jointly will be assessed.
Yes. Individuals (single, divorced or widowed), couples and partners can become licensed foster parents.