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How many children can one family foster?

There are limits to the number of unrelated children you can care for, based on age. Agencies that work with foster parents can explain the guidelines.

What are foster children like?

All have weathered family crises, some more serious than others, and vary when it comes to resiliency, as well as emotional, physical and mental well-being. “There are good kids who come out of the foster care system. We have kids in college and we have college graduates,” said Michelle Federowicz of Gateway-Longview.

What is foster parent training like?

Prospective foster parents are required to go through Model Approach to Partnerships and Parenting Group Preparation Selection (MAPP/GPS), a three- to six-month process that involves 30-plus hours of training, along with several interviews and a background check.

Would I get paid for becoming a foster parent?

Yes. The reimbursement range per child generally falls between $429 and $1,068 per month. Payments generally don’t cover all expenses, and agency officials say those who seek to become involved strictly for the money rarely make it through the training and vetting process.

If I become a foster parent, what is the likelihood I may one day be able to adopt my foster child?

The foster care system is designed for as little disruption for the foster care child as necessary, and the goal of the system is to reunite families. Foster parents need to accept this reality. A “pre-adoptive” foster care situation means there is a higher than average likelihood, given the birth family’s history and circumstances, that the children one day may become adoptable. It takes at least one year, and often up to five years, for troubled parents to lose parental rights.

Why aren’t foster care children named or their faces shown in photos in today’s Refresh stories?

To protect their anonymity, which is required by social services rules because these children have been removed from their birth parents because of a family crisis.

How can I learn more?

Call the Erie County Department of Social Services at 858-7274.

– Scott Scanlon