The application. It's only four pages long and much of it doesn't apply to me since I have no spouse or children. I have to find three local references, which is tough since I mostly associate just with coworkers. It's hard to get close enough to people during work to have them vouch for you. I'll figure something out, somehow. The rest of it is pretty routine. Current and previous addresses and employers, education, family background, health, etc. There are a couple of specific questions about my history with children in general and fostering in particular as well as preferences about the children I will be caring for.
Medical Info Form. I have to take this in to the doctor and have him verify that I'm in general good health and not suffering with TB. It also asks some specific questions about mental health and fertility. I'm a little worried about this part. What if they figure out I'm crazy?
Financial Statement. This is mostly to make sure you can pay your bills and take care of the child. As they said tonight, even though you do get a stipend to help cover costs, it's not as if they show up with the child on one hand and a check in the other. They just want to make sure that you have enough resources to manage. I should be fine with this part.
Pet Information. They only gave me enough spaces for two pets. Should I be worried? They ask if the pet is good with children. Harley loves our neighbor's kids and has gotten along well with every child who has been around long enough for him to get to know. Scooter loves everyone and Pixie will be terrified for a day or two and then she'll fall in love and won't want to leave them alone. At least, that's what has happened before. My biggest concern is the initial barking and fuss they make when someone first enters the home. They are a little rude about that. I need to work on it.
Consent Forms. These just give the MVA and other agencies permission to release your records to Social Services. I have absolutely no problem with that. Other than a couple of traffic tickets, I have nothing to hide.
Disclosure Form. This just says that I've never been charged with any form of child abuse, endangerment, drugs, etc. No problem, I'm not that kind of gal.
Checklist. Just some things to take care of before the initial inspection:
- Handrails on staircases with 3 or more steps. Check
- Balcony, porch, etc. over 4 feet must have a rail. Check
- All toxins out of reach. Check
- No loaded guns. Check
- Sleeping places - 50 sq ft per child if sharing a room or 70 sq ft per room if not sharing. That might be a problem because the "girls' room" is only about 95 sq ft. I can move things around and put them in the library and shift the books to the pink room instead, if necessary.
- Drinkable water supply. Check
- Pets must have current rabies shots. Check
- Working refrigerator. Check
- House must be clean and safe. Does mostly clean count?
CPR Certification. I will have to find a class for this.
Fire Inspection. I know I need to get smoke alarms for every floor and one for each bedroom. I also need a fire extinguisher for the kitchen. I might also need to do something with the maze of cords around my computer and TV. Other than that, I think I'm ok.
There is a lot to do and a lot to think about. I guess I need to figure out when I want a child in my home. Once I start this process, they are committed to approving or not approving me in 120 days. I need to be sure I'm ready to move forward before I submit my application.
I want to move forward, but I do have a few things I need to take care of first. Like figuring out if I'm really a good choice for a foster parent. What in the world am I thinking??