Q: Who are the youth in treatment foster care?
A: Youth in foster care are from your neighborhood! They are youth who want to remain attached to their families despite their experiences. They are youth whose families need the help of your family.
Youth in treatment foster care are often teenagers. They come from many types of backgrounds and families. Some have been exposed to abuse, neglect, domestic violence, or substance abuse. Many are insecure, frightened, confused, and often angry about what is happening to them. Based on their specific life experiences, these youth often present challenging behaviors. Most referrals we receive are for youth over the age of 13. We do receive referrals for younger youth but not as frequently and often come in as sibling sets.
Q: Are there ever newborns and babies in treatment foster care?
A: Yes. Sadly, as Maryland is in the grips of an opioid epidemic, the number of babies born dependent on heroin and other opiates continues to climb, as well. It used to be said that these babies were born addicted to drugs, but the correct medical term is Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS). Infants born dependent on methadone or other opiates may have mild or severe withdrawal symptoms depending on the length of time and amount drugs the mother used. Symptoms may appear in the first 24 hours and up to 72 hours after birth. Regardless of the severity of dependence, the majority of babies will suffer some withdrawal. Babies with NAS typically have a small head circumference and low birth weight. They’re often premature. They are irritable and jittery. Their cry is high-pitched. They may sweat and have a fever. They are prone to tremors and seizures. They have eating problems, vomiting and diarrhea. They don’t sleep well. They may have increased muscle tone (stiff limbs).They develop more slowly and are at higher risk for birth defects. Babies with severe symptoms need a stay-at-home caregiver for as much as six months.
Q: What is the normal length of stay?
A: The amount of time a youth will stay in your home depends on the particular youth and the biological family’s situation. Every effort is made to reunite parents with youth; sometimes a youth may live with you for a few days, several months or even a few years. Many foster parents grow close to their foster youth and it can be difficult when they leave. Foster parents can adopt their foster youth sometimes.
Q: Can a foster youth share a bedroom with my youth?
A: No. They must have a separate bedroom of their own, and the foster youth must have storage for his/her personal belongings. Also, adults cannot move out of their bedroom to sleep on a couch or elsewhere to make room for a foster youth.
Q: Does a foster parent choose a youth to be placed in their home?
A: Yes, a foster parent has the ability to accept or reject a possible placement when the WIN staff contacts them. However we never have: youth waiting to be placed; a waitlist of youth to “choose from”; notice of when we will be getting youth; or events that provide foster parents the option to “view” or “pick” youth.
Q: How long does the process take to become a foster parent?
A: The process is dependent on how quickly you complete your application and all that is required of you. Please note that once you enter the application process, you have 120 days to become fully certified (this includes 2-4 visits for a home study.)
Q: What is the stipend and what does it cover?
A: WIN foster parents earn $49.08 each night. This is a tax free stipend that is paid monthly (30-45 days after the month of service.) Please know that the monthly stipend includes monthly allowance, food and clothing for each youth you foster.
Q: What will make me ineligible to become a foster parent?
A: I CAN'T become a foster parent if…
• I am under 25 years of old
• I have been convicted of a felony or charged with physical assault, battery, or a drug related offense in the last 5 years
• I have someone living in my home that has been convicted of a felony or charged with assault, battery, or a drug related offense in the last 5 years
• I have or a member of my household has a positive drug test
• I operate a day care or assisted living business inside my home
• I or my spouse currently is in arrears with child support payments
• I work or someone in my home works for a local child welfare services department, the Department of Juvenile Justice, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Department of Education, Interagency Rates, Governor’s Office of Children, Youth, and Families, and SSA or DHR
• I plan to have my foster child sleep in a bedroom that is on a different floor than my own
• I cannot ensure my foster child’s safe transportation to and from school, appointments, and social engagements
• I am unable to cope with stress and change in a healthy way