Foster Care

A licensed foster parent provides temporary care to children whose families are unable to care for them. The Sarasota YMCA - Safe Children Coalition provides foster home licensing in Sarasota, Manatee & DeSoto counties. We provide training and support for our foster parents so they can provide excellent care to hurting children.

THE NEED
Foster Parents are needed for children of all ages - infants, toddlers, school aged & teens. Foster Parents provide abused or neglected children with stability and a place to heal until they can safely return to their parents. Our foster parents are a valuable member of a team that assists the child and parents to reunify as a stronger and healthier family.

QUALIFICATIONS TO FOSTER
Foster parenting is a position of public trust and a privilege, not a right or entitlement. We are careful to help families determine if foster parenting is a good fit for their family and likewise, if they will be a good fit for our fostering program.

We welcome diverse families from all walks of life to volunteer as a foster parent. We license single men and women, same gender couples, and those with or without religious affiliation.

At a minimum a foster parent must:

  • Be at least age 21; no upper age limit if healthy
  • Pass a full background screening for self and every person living in the home
  • Have stable housing and income without dependency on public assistance
  • Adequate and appropriate sleeping space for a child. Sharing a room with another child of the same gender is acceptable, if space permits.
  • Be motivated to have the child reunify with their family
  • Be an active partner with Safe Children Coalition in:
    •  Training and licensing as a foster parent
    • Commit to providing excellent care and advocacy of the child in your care. This includes participating in meetings and appointments for the child.

STEPS TO FOSTER PARENTING

1. Attend an Information Meeting  Learn about foster parenting from professionals who will give an overview of the child welfare system, the children who need foster care, and the supports available to foster parents. You will find answers to your questions and feel more confident moving forward in your fostering journey. Meeting are a no pressure environment where the goal is to inform and assist.

2. Complete a Family Profile Packet
At the end of the foster information meeting, you will be offered a family profile packet to take home and fill out. Returning this packet to our office will let our staff know that you would like to move forward towards becoming a foster parent. Licensing staff will review the packet and consider you for our training class.

3. Training
Foster parenting classes are by invitation to those who have attended an information meeting and submitted their family profile packet. Classes occur one weeknight per week for 3 hours for 10 weeks. We also offer a Saturday class option which runs 6 hour for 5 weeks.

4. Licensing
Working with a Licensing Specialist, families will submit the required licensing documents, complete their background screening and home assessment. Upon approval from Florida Department of Children and Families, you can begin accepting child placements in your newly licensed foster home.