Good Info to Have:
The Licensing Interview Process
I have gotten LOTS of e-mails and questions about the licensing process – more specifically about the interview/homestudy process. Let me begin with:
Take a deep breath. It’s not as scary as you would think. They know that no one is perfect (or normal for that matter) and when they come to your home they are not going to notice your baseboards, the film on the inside of your microwave, the boogers your son wiped under the edge of the table, or even that huge pile of laundry you’re afraid they may drown in.
When you are filling out your profile, homestudy, whatever-they-call-it-in-your-state thingy – really just be honest. Unless you admit to something that would endanger a child, they’re not going to freak out. They might ask you questions about a few answers that they are not clear on – but when your palms get sweaty, just remind yourself that they are just doing their job. On our profile it asked what each of us does when we get angry. Brian really rarely gets upset. However, he answered that when he does, that he throws things (yeah, how’s that for a pc answer on a fostering profile?). Our worker questioned us on it, and I (while elbowing him for writing that – who writes that????) explained that what he meant was that when he gets mad while he’s watching sports – really the only time he gets mad- he throws his hat on the floor out of frustration.
So even if you write something totally dumb on your profile – it’s probably going to be ok.
I’ve also been asked whether or not to be forthcoming about religious affiliations. Brian and I were honest about our faith, and the role it had in us becoming foster parents. As long as you are willing to be accepting of older children’s decisions on religion (that, or not take children with different beliefs) then it’s generally not an issue. So just be honest.
Most of my good friends will tell you that I go on a cleaning rampage when it comes time for us to re-license. But it is definitely because I’m a neat-freak under stress, and definitely not because they expect your house to sparkle. In fact, if you have kids, they might be a little more skeptical if they walk in and your house looks like no one actually lives in it – your house is supposed to be messy when you have kids, and they know that.
When it comes to licensing regulations, just make sure you’ve read through them, and that you’ve completed as much as you know to. You can always call your agency to ask questions. The regs are something that they are actually pretty sticky about. We’ve not been through a licensing/relicensing where we weren’t cited for something. But they will tell you what is wrong, and you have time to fix it. For initial licensing, it will speed up the process if you have everything taken care of though.
mental health or past abuse.
I’ve gotten a lot of questions regarding how the agency will react to former mental health diagnoses, or abuse that a potential foster parent was subject to earlier in life. These things do not automatically disqualify you to be a foster parent! It is important to be honest about them, and they will most likely ask you a couple of non-intrusive questions about it. They just want to make sure that these things have been processed and handled in such a way that they will not interfere with your ability to parent the children who come into care.
I know there are other questions people had – but I’m having a hard time remembering them all! If you have questions about the licensing process, just leave it in the comments, or e-mail me and I’ll be happy to help in any way I can!