Foster Care

Parent Guide

Damar has spent 50 years helping thousands of children with special needs, many in our foster care system. We’re industry experts in trauma-informed care, autism and other developmental and behavioral disabilities.

This history of expertise means that our foster care program is filled with top-notch professionals who value the importance of children living in a loving, safe, nurturing home. We are dedicated to achieving the best permanent placement for the children in our community.

If you’ve found this website, you’re already on the path. Foster parents come from diverse backgrounds and encompass all genders, religions, cultures and ethnicities. While the minimum age is 21, foster parents can be single, married, coupled, homeowners, renters, young or simply young at heart. They may already be parents to other children – or may never have had kids.

The one thing they all have in common, though, is the desire to help children and youth in need. As a foster parent, you serve a child as a caregiver, mentor, protector and advocate until the child can reunite with the birth family or be placed in a permanent home.

In order to be a good foster parent, you must have the capacity to love a child who didn’t ask to be put in the situation they are in. Beyond that, foster parents are ordinary people like you who want to do their part to help children in our community develop into happy, healthy, confident individuals.

To help you determine if foster parenting is right for you, consider this:

  • Can you care for a child’s physical, emotional, developmental and mental needs?
  • How could you help a child learn how to trust an adult and feel safe in a home environment?
  • What would it feel like to help a child believe in himself and feel confident again?
  • What in your own life could you draw upon to help a child learn strength, courage and life skills?
  • Are you prepared to make a difference?

Is foster parenting for you? We hope so!

Damar foster parents:

  • Have a commitment to help a child and family through a difficult situation by providing patience, guidance and understanding.
  • Are capable of modeling and praising appropriate behavior and providing the child with enriching experiences.
  • Are accepting of the temporary nature of foster care and can help a child transition back to his or her family, or more on to permanent adoptive placement.
  • Work cooperatively with Damar Foster Care Services for the good of the child by adhering to all rules and regulations.
  • Have skills and stamina to manage emotional and behavioral needs of the youth in their care.
  • Have a good understanding of the needs of children who have been through traumatic experiences.
  • Are respectful and demonstrate acceptance toward the birth parents of the children in their care.
  • Are able to maintain confidentiality.
  • Can demonstrate positive life skills and healthy lifestyle choices.
  • Possess a willingness to work with others in achieving a foster child’s permanency plan.

Damar Foster Care Services participates in the Structured Analysis Family Evaluation (SAFE) home study process. This means that we spend more time in the homes and with family/household members in order to evaluate and license the home environment.

At a minimum, individuals, couples and partners in Indiana must meet the following requirements to become foster parents:

  • All members of the household must pass several criminal background checks and have no substantiated record of abusing or neglecting children.
  • Possess a vehicle, a valid driver’s license and documentation of valid automobile insurance coverage and cooperate in providing transportation to family visits, medical appointments and the child’s daily activities.
  • Have a household income that supports the family and additional foster child without being dependent on the foster care per diem reimbursement.
  • Live in a home that can meet basic fire, safety and sanitary standards, with enough bedroom space for a child and the child’s personal belongings.
  • All household members must provide a physician’s statement verifying they are free from any mental or physical condition that would hinder their ability to care for a child.
  • Be at least 21 years old, able to provide personal references and able to work in partnership with Damar Foster Care Services’ staff to provide for the child’s needs – emotionally, physically and developmentally.
  • Be able and willing to complete free Resource and Adoptive Parent Training (RAPT), CPR, First Aid and Universal Precautions training and complete ongoing annual training requirements.
  • Adhere to all foster care rules and regulations as outlined by the Indiana Department of Child Services, as well as Damar Foster Care Services.

We’re proud of our many remarkable foster care families. For years, we have devoted ourselves to supporting the most vulnerable children in our community by placing them in safe and loving foster home environments. As such, Damar Foster Care Services is a fully-licensed and accredited not-for-profit child placement agency. In short, we recruit and prepare foster parents for their journey, then support them throughout their tenure.

Our commitment is simple – we will be with you every step of the way. The Damar Foster Care Services team provides you with resources, information and encouragement while you discern if being a foster parent is your calling. As you complete the application process, we’ll be there to answer any questions. And, throughout the time a child is placed in your home, we are only a phone call away.

Our continuum of comprehensive foster care services includes:

  • Specialized training and education
  • Licensing support
  • Professional case management, consultation and assessment
  • Treatment planning
  • Sibling and special needs placement
  • Support groups
  • 24-hour crisis intervention
  • Financial reimbursement
  • Respite
  • Child/family advocacy and reunification
  • Kinship care and pre-adoption services

While foster parents must be able to support themselves and the foster child, we provide a per diem reimbursement for the child’s “out of pocket” expenses. Those expenses may include:

  • Food
  • Clothing
  • Shelter
  • Personal hygiene items
  • Travel for visitation and other mileage
  • School supplies
  • Childcare
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Daily expenses and incidentals