Maryland resource parents have the responsibility of ensuring that foster youth placed in their care are treated with respect and dignity. Resource parents are expected to complete 27 hours of licensing training along with 10 hours of annual training to ensure that they remain competent and up-to-date with the most recent knowledge and skills available to care for children placed in their home. In addition to the required trainings, special workshops and seminars are available throughout the year by the Local Departments of Social Services, the Maryland Resource Parent Association, and the University Of Maryland School Of Social Work. Resource parents are expected to be able to provide basic food, clothing, and shelter for the children in their care as well as ensure that they have regular comprehensive mental, physical, and dental care. Parents should provide parental supervision and guidance that is appropriate to the child’s age and developmental level.
Resource Parent Rights
Resource parents have the right to be dually informed about the known history of the youth placed in their care. Caseworkers are encouraged to provide as much information as possible to ensure that resource parents are comfortable with accepting a youth in their home. Parents should be included in court hearings, review board hearings, case planning as well as family involvement meetings that concern the permanency planning for children. Although resource parents do have a right to privacy and some information can remain confidential, resource parents must work with birth families especially around issues of visitation. The Department of Human Resources has a resource parent ombudsman whose role is to liaison between resource parents and the local department. The Maryland Resource Parent Association is also available to support public resource parents in a variety of ways.
Resource Parent Role
The resource parent is a valued member and partner of the local department of social services. Resource parents are expected to act as an advocate and support system to the youth placed in their care. The ability to develop relationships with caseworkers, community members, school personnel, medical professionals, and family and friends of youth is vital in foster parenting. Resource parents are strongly encouraged to become an active member of their local department association as well as partner with other resource parents in their community. It is also recommended that resource parents become familiar with support groups. Listed below are some examples of resources.
In addition, some of the agencies regularly hold workshops and neighborhood groups for foster parents to become acquainted with each other and to provide a forum for sharing experiences. It is important to note that Maryland regulations state: any specific information that a foster parent has about a foster child or that child’s birth family is to be kept confidential and cannot be anyone. A resource home worker visits each resource parent regularly to assist in obtaining and/or needed services. Most of the local departments provide a 24-hour emergency phone number for resource parents as a means of being accessible and proving support.
Are you foster parent material?
There are some questions you should consider before you decide whether or not you want to be a foster parent. Taking a child into your home is a very important decision, and the following questions are designed to help you make a decision that is right for you
How will my lifestyle change if I become a foster parent?
What goals do I have for my life? What is important to me?
Do I have the time and energy to care for a foster child?
What age child will realistically be best for my family?
Am I ready to give up some of my freedom, or arrange my lifestyle to include a child?
Will I be willing to spend my time at home more and socialize less?
Can I afford my own expenses, knowing that compensation for having a foster child will be only enough for the child’s needs?
How will a child fit into my neighborhood?
How will being a foster parent change how I want to grow and develop?
How much time am I willing to commit to a child?
Am I willing and able to take a child to counseling sessions, doctor’s appointments, court hearings and other regular appointments?
Am I willing to attend counseling sessions with the child?
How can I benefit from being a foster parent?
Do I like doing things with children?
Do I like activities that children could do also?
Do I want a child to be “Like me?” Should he/she call me Mom or Dad?
How will I view a child’s different values and ideas? Will I attempt to get the child to accept my values?
Do I want a boy or girl foster child?
Do I want one, or more?
How about siblings or teenagers?
Do I want acceptance or gratitude from a foster child?
Why do I really want to take a foster child into my home?