Why does the State of Connecticut need foster homes?
At any given time, approximately 2,000 children need a secure home to live in while parents work on creating a stable home to which children can return. Social pressures and stress can create unhealthy situations in natural parent homes and children occasionally need to be removed to a safer home temporarily.
Do the children’s parents visit in the foster home?
Yes, it is preferred but only in cases where there is no safety concern. The goal of foster care is to help the child accept his situation and handle it the best way possible. We hope that children can return to the natural parent’s home as soon as possible and this means that the children need to maintain a relationship with his parents.
Does the state pay foster parents?
Foster parents receive a Foster Care Reimbursement per Diem stipend for the care of children. The payment reimbursement structure is based on the USDA expenditures for care of a child in the Urban Northeast; and includes costs for food, clothing, shelter, childcare, education and transportation. Children are also eligible for subsidized health and dental insurance through the Connecticut Husky (Healthcare for UninSured Kids and Youth) Managed Care Program. Your pediatrician or dentist can see children, providing they accept the Connecticut HUSKY plan.
Do I need to have an empty bedroom to take a foster child?
No. You only need to have an available twin bed in a child’s bedroom with children of the same sex. An available double bed can be used for one child or siblings of the same sex. Cribs can be placed in any bedroom. Children under 5 years of age must sleep on the same floor as parents.
Is there an age requirement for adoptive parents?
You must be at least 21 years old. It is difficult to generalize about upper age limits for adoptive parents, since agencies have differing policies.
Can single parents adopt?
Yes, adoption by single parents as well as same sex couples is permissible and encouraged.
How long does it take to adopt a waiting child?
The timeframe varies given the criteria you prefer and the needs and availability of waiting children. After placement, the average length of time from placement to finalization is a year. Connecticut agencies are making a concerted effort to shorten the timeframe.
Can I adopt if I already have a child or children?
Yes, you can. Families who have parenting experience are a great resource for waiting children. Some families adopt children while their biological children are still in the home. Many families who have grown children may experience the “empty nest” feeling and will become adoptive parents, most often adopting an older child or sibling group. Connecticut agencies’ regulations allow up to six children under the age of 18 years in a home. This includes your own children, adopted children and day care children.
Is there an income requirement for adoptive families?
You must have a stable source of verifiable income, sufficient to meet the needs of your family. You cannot rely on the foster care reimbursement as a source of income.
Must an adoptive parent be a homeowner?
No, nor must you provide a separate room within your home for each child. You can own or rent your home or apartment or live in public housing. Any living situation must be a safe and suitable environment for the child. Families seeking to parent a child who is physically challenged must have appropriate home accommodations suitable to meet his or her needs. All families must meet regulatory standards related to their living unit.
Are there certain health requirements for adoptive parents?
Agencies will require a physical examination report from a doctor for the primary caretakers and all members of the household. This does not mean that you must be in perfect physical condition. Foster and adoptive families must be physically and mentally capable of providing care to a child and free from communicable disease.
What children are waiting for adoption through the State of Connecticut?
Children of all ages with various physical and emotional disabilities are waiting. Brothers and sisters need families willing to adopt them together. The majority of our children are over five years old, but the 0-5 population also indicates a strong need for permanent homes. Children of color of all ages need adoptive family resources.
How much does it cost to adopt?
There are no fees involved in adopting through the State of Connecticut.
Are there subsidies available for adoptive families?
Yes, any family adopting a special needs child in Connecticut may be eligible to receive a medical and/or financial subsidy for their child. Children who have special needs include children with physical, intellectual or emotional disabilities, sibling groups, older children, children with complex medical needs and children of color of all ages.
Does a recent marriage, divorce, birth of a child, death of a child or other major change in the family affect the application process?
Yes, any major life change will be assessed on an individual basis, but generally a one-year wait is encouraged.
What is meant by “special needs adoption”? Clarify difference/definition between uses of this term relating to children waiting to be adopted versus a more technical term used in eligibility for an adoption subsidy.
A Special Needs Child is defined in CONN. GEN. STAT. 17a-116 as a child who is difficult to place in adoption because of one or more conditions including, but not limited to:
- Physical or mental disability
- Serious emotional maladjustment
- A recognized high risk of physical or mental disability
- Age, racial or ethnic factors which present a barrier to adoption
- Is a member of a sibling group, which should be placed together
- The child and the prospective adoptive parents have established significant emotional ties while the child was in care as the family’s foster child.
Legal Risk Adoption placements allow children whose parental rights have not been terminated to be placed into a pre-adoptive home. Although it may be the permanency plan to have this child adopted, the child is not free for adoption until the court rules in favor of the termination of parental rights. Connecticut agencies offer support to the pre-adoptive family during this time but cannot guarantee the outcome of the court proceedings. Connecticut agencies make every effort to place children into a permanent home once adoption is the goal, even if there are pending court proceedings. We believe that we should help lessen trauma and reduce moves for the child. Sometimes a biological parent may still have visitation rights to the child. The pre-adoptive family would need to work with the court orders and the social workers in meeting legal obligations. The largest challenge of legal risk placements is the uncertainty for the pre-adoptive family.
Private foster care agencies in CT have contracts to provide foster homes for children ages 8-17 with more acute needs. These foster care programs are called treatment level foster care and are designed for children who have extraordinary psychological and/or special medical needs. A higher rate of monthly reimbursement is provided to these foster parents since the care, expectations and training exceed the expectations of general foster care home providers. FAM partners provide additional training and support to families who choose to provide either of these levels of care. Please visit their websites or contact FAM for additional information.