Note: This message is displayed if (1) your browser is not standards-compliant or (2) you have you disabled CSS. Read our Policies for more information.
2010 Tax Announcement
According to state policy, foster parents who have had placement of 10 children or more in one month will receive a 1099 as vendors this year. For more information please review this document from the National Foster Parent Association. Please note that DCS is unable to provide tax advice.
DCS Policy is available on-line and provides comprehensive information regarding child welfare practice. For questions or more information specific to your case please speak with your Licensing Worker.
Foster Family Resource Guide The purpose of this guide is to provide further insight into foster parenting.
Alternative In-Service Training hours are available to maintain licensure. The Department of Child Services (DCS) requires each person issued a license to operate a foster family home to complete 10 hours of In-Service Training annually following completion of their initial licensure. DCS requires each licensee who accepts children with special needs to complete 20 hours of In-Service Training annually. This includes the 10 hours to maintain licensure and 10 hours of specialized training to meet the child’s specific needs. DCS requires each licensee who operates a therapeutic foster family home to complete 20 hours of In-Service Training annually. This includes the 10 hours to maintain licensure and 10 hours of therapeutic training to meet the child’s specific needs. Please see the approved Alternative In-Service Training List for Foster, Relative and Adoptive Parents. Note that only 4 hours can be earned through the alternative list when 10 In-Service hours are required and only 8 hours can be earned when 20 In-Service hours are required.
Indiana Administrative Code (IAC) Title 465, Article 2, Rule 1, Licensing of Boarding Homes for Children.
Resource Parent Support Groups are available in some areas for foster parent and kinship caregivers who feel they need additional encouragement and support. Resource parenting is challenging work that involves devoted and enthusiastic caregivers. Foster children may have behavioral, medical, mental, or physical health issues as well as developmental delays and/or disabilities, and caring for this population requires a great deal of time and energy. Resource Parent Support Groups are available in your area and below are other resources for your support.
• National Foster Parent Association
• Fostering Families Today
The Legal Process Overview is a chart that describes what steps may be taken during a child welfare case. With this chart you can follow a case through the process, beginning with the time a family first has contact with DCS to closure of the case.
Case Planning occurs when families partner with DCS and service providers to identify goals for positive family change. Follow these links to learn more about service planning.
• The Child and Family Team Meeting (CFTM) and the Child and Family Team (CFT)
• The Case Plan
Face-to-Face Contact with your Family Case Manager (FCM)
FCM’s will have monthly face-to-face contact with all children under the care and supervision of the Department of Child Services (DCS), regardless of the type of placement. The FCM will see the foster family or kinship family on a regular basis. When the child, foster family, or kinship family is in crisis the FCM will make frequent visits. Face-to-face contact with the child’s parent/guardian/custodian will be made regularly and according to the minimum service level contact standards. In the event a child is placed out of state, DCS will see the child once every couple of months. DCS will request that the receiving state visit your child in person during the months DCS is not visiting. For questions specific to your case please speak with your Family Case Manager, and for more information read DCS policy for Minimum Contact.
Facilitating Visitation Between the Child and the Parent/Guardian/Custodian
A Child in out-of-home placement has the right to visit with his/her parent/guardian/custodian, sibling, family members and other individuals with whom the child has formed a significant relationship. Under no circumstance should a child be deprived of visitation as a form of discipline. Visitation allows the child an opportunity to reconnect relationships and allows for the parent/guardian/custodian to learn and practice new concepts of parenting. It is important for the kinship caregiver to discuss with the Family Case Manager (FCM) and/or therapist the child’s behavior both prior to and after visitation, as well as any other observations made concerning visitation. How involved the kinship caregiver is with visitation should be a mutual decision involving the kinship caregiver, the child’s therapist, CASA/GAL, and the FCM. Kinship Caregivers can support the child-parent relationship by preparing the child for visits and encouraging open expression of feelings about the visits. The number of visits per week may vary based on the situation that brought the child into care as well as the age of the child. Initially most visits are supervised in order for the Family Case Manager (FCM) to assess the parent/guardian/custodian’s strengths and needs regarding parenting and to ensure child safety. Supervision of visits may be provided by a variety of persons, including but not limited to the FCM, kinship caregiver, other relative, service provider, facility staff, Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA), Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) or another appropriate adult. The Department of Child Services (DCS) will develop a Visitation Plan for every child in placement soon after removal. Exceptions include if no contact has been ordered by the court, child safety is a concern or when parental rights have been terminated. The Visitation Plan may be reviewed or adjusted during a Child and Family Team Meeting (CFTM) or Case Plan Conference. Any person requesting visitation as well as any changes to visitation arrangements must be approved by DCS due to possible safety issues. Discuss the Visitation Plan with the child’s FCM so that you are aware of the expectations for scheduling and arrangements. Special visitation arrangements may be needed for families where domestic violence has been identified. For questions specific to your placement please speak with your FCM, and for more information read DCS policy for Developing the Visitation Plan, Implementing the Visitation Plan, Resource Parent(s) Role, and Parental Interaction and Involvement.
The Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) of 1978 created guidelines for use when Indian children are removed from their families. ICWA states that Indian children will be placed with an Indian family or in a resource or adoptive home that has the values of Indian culture. The tribe has jurisdiction in child custody cases that involve Indian children who live on reservations. DCS will make efforts to find out if a child of American Indian heritage falls under the jurisdiction of the ICWA. DCS will notify the Tribe/Nation if a child claims to be a member, or eligible for membership in the tribe. The parent or child claiming membership in an Indian tribe has the responsibility to show that the ICWA applies to the court proceedings. For more information about DCS policies in response to the ICWA, speak with your Family Case Manager. Below are some additional resources for your review.
• National Tribal Justice Resource Center
• National Indian Child Welfare Association
The Multiethnic Placement Act (MEPA) was passed in 1994 and was improved in 1996 by the Removal of Barriers to Interethnic Adoption Provisions (IEP). The MEPA-IEP does not allow the delay or denial of foster placements and adoptions based on the race, color or national origin of the child, foster parent, or kinship caregiver. States are required to recruit foster and adoptive families who are ethnically and racially diverse. DCS will decide if the child’s special needs can be met without making the placement decision based on race or ethnicity. For more information about DCS policies in response to the MEPA, speak with your Family Case Manager. Below are some additional resources for your review.
• Administration for Children and Families
• Child Welfare Information Gateway
• Indiana 2-1-1 Call 2-1-1 for information and referrals to human services including food, shelter, employment, counseling, and much more.
• Nineline Call 1 (800) 999-9999 for support and crisis intervention if you are caring for a teen faced with life changing issues. This line provides answers to tough questions about family, relationships, health, suicide, abuse, drugs and alcohol, sex and running away.
• Indiana Family Helpline Call 1 (800) 433-0746 for more information and referral for maternal and child health, WIC, dental providers, and more. Bilingual communication specialists are on staff.
• Careline/Parent Stress Line, Call 1 (800) 244-5373 if you are having trouble finding the fun in parenting.
• Toll Free Crisis Hotline Numbers
Casey Family Programs has developed the Casey Foster Applicant Inventory (CFAI) and the Casey Home Assessment Protocol (CHAP), to assess the characteristics of caregivers. These assessments can identify a caregiver’s strengths as well as areas in which they need development and support. While intended for use by licensed foster parents, these assessments are available for use by anyone providing care to foster children. The goal of both assessments is to help provide quality care to foster children, and you may choose to share the results with your Family Case Manager.
Resources are available in the community for foster parents to access, such as mental health services, emotional support, financial resources and other social services. Review the following sites based on your particular need. Some sites are search engines allowing for the location of a variety of resources. To obtain additional information regarding resources for your area please speak with your Family Case Manager.
• Child Support Services
• Central Indiana Human Services Database
• Crimes Against Children Research Center
• Foster Parent College Training opportunities, free newsletters, and inexpensive resources
• SAMHSA’S National Mental Health Information Center
• Connect For Kids, Issues affecting children, families, and communities
• State of Indiana Family and Health, Resources for families, children, and older adults
• VINELink, Track information about criminal cases and the custody status of offenders
• Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA)
• Prevent Child Abuse America
• The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy
• Healthy Foster Care America, American Academy of Pediatrics tools, information, facts, and figures on the health care of children and teens in foster care
• About Special Kids (ASK), Visit their website or call 1 (800) 964-4746 to access information and resources for children with special needs
• Sunny Start
• Indiana Protection and Advocacy Services, Empowerment and advocacy for the rights of individuals with disabilities.
Is Your Child Thinking About College? Learn more about how to choose and prepare for an education, as well as available scholarships, grants and financial aid.
Educational Resources are available to provide information about academic standards and laws, Indiana school performance, special education and advocacy, and much more.
• Indiana Department of Education
• Wrightslaw, Special Education Advocacy
Safety Information: Review the following sites to obtain facts and tips for staying safe as well as information on fire safety, water safety, car safety, emergency and disaster response and preparedness, First Aid/CPR/AED, toy information and recalls. To obtain free or discounted smoke and fire alarms contact your local fire department.
• American Red Cross
• Safe Kids Worldwide
• 911 for Kids
• Harborview Injury Prevention and Resource Center
• ThinkFirst National Injury Prevention Center
• US Fire Administration (USFA)
• Home Safety Council
• Fire Escape Planner
Internet Safety: Search for internet safety products, get tips on how to teach your child to stay safe when using technology and learn more about the risks children face, cyberbulling and how to spot online trouble.
• Wired Kids Inc.
• US Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation
• iKeepSafe.org, Parent resource center
• National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, NetSmartz workshop
• StaySafeOnline.org National Cyber Security Alliance
• SafeKids.com Internet Safety and Civility, Guidelines for preteens
Social networking and internet usage policy for resource parents and children under the care and supervision of DCS.
• IF THE VICTIM HAS COLLAPSED OR IS NOT BREATHING, CALL 911
• Indiana Poison Center If you have a poison emergency, call 1 (800) 222-1222. If you have questions about poisons or poison prevention, call the toll free number or visit the website.
• National Capital Poison Center, Poison information
Bullying is a growing concern and can impact a child’s physical, social and emotional well-being. Learn now to spot if your child is being bullied or is bullying others. Get tips on how to stop bullying through prevention and intervention.
• Eyes on Bullying
• Olweus Bullying Prevention, Toolkit for parents
• Bully Police USA
• National Crime Prevention Council