Who can be a Foster Parent?
Almost anyone can foster.

You can be:
Single or Married
Working parents
A stay at home mom
Already parenting or have never parented

You don’t have to be:
Rich, just with enough income to be able to care for the family you have now.
A homeowner, simply have a safe home/apartment with enough room for another child.
A stay at home parent, just flexible enough with work to meet the child’s needs.
You do need to want to provide a nurturing, safe and loving environment to a child.

Who are the Children in Foster Care?
Children in foster care were removed from their families due to abuse, neglect or abandonment. The child might live temporarily with extended family, a foster family or in a group home while social workers try to help the birth family. Then the goal for a child is to work with the foster home to reunify the child with their biological family.

If the birth family’s problems can’t be resolved, the agency that has custody of the child goes to court to legally terminate parental rights. At this point, social workers try to find a safe and loving adoptive family for the child. Ages range from 4 to early adulthood, although the average age is eight. Virtually every race, ethnic group and socio-economic category is represented. Some children are in foster care alone and others are in foster care with siblings. Those most in need of homes would be children over the age of 10 and large sibling groups (3 or more).

Many foster children have been emotionally, physically, and sexually abused. As a result, they may have emotional, behavioral, mental or physical problems. Many are insecure, frightened, confused, and often angry about what is happening to them. Based on their past and the disruption in their lives, these children sometimes present challenging behaviors.

Does it cost a lot of money to be a Foster Parent?
No! Foster parents receive monthly compensation per child and:
• The child or children are totally covered for medical and dental expenses.
• There is a Resource Room to assist with placement needs such as school clothes.
• You receive free specialized training from experienced staff.

What is the difference between Foster Care and Adoption?
Foster care is the temporary care of a child whose goal is to return home. Foster parents must be willing to support foster children’s ongoing contact with their biological parents and cooperate with the agency’s efforts to reunite them with their families. The Foster parents’ direct involvement with the birth family is determined on an individual basis.

If reunification with their families is not possible the foster parent is given the choice to proceed to adoption, or otherwise prepare the child for their permanent home through adoption with another family’s help.

How do I become a Foster Parent?
The application/certification process is about a 3-4 month process. There is a 10 session/36 hour training program which covers the basic topics you will need to know to foster a child. CPR/First Aid certification is required. There is also paperwork, and background checks and references to gather. Then there is a home visit where the worker goes over health and safety issues in the home and discusses any questions you might have. A Home Study is written that assesses the potential foster family and summarizes their strengths, skills, attitudes and other qualifications that bear on the challenges of foster parenting. If you are interested in pursuing Foster Care, please call Lisa Barber Atwell at 502-893-0241 x208 or e-mail

How long will it be before a child is placed with me?
After your home has been certified, the amount of time it takes to place a child with you is dependent on several factors. It will be dependent on the range of ages, behaviors and special circumstances you will consider. The more open you are to age range, # of children and behavior issues, the more quickly a child can be placed with you. Conversely if you are very specific and narrow in these ranges it may take longer to find a child who matches your criteria.

Children in our Residential Treatment Program playing in the Fall leaves.

Who decides what children are placed in my home?
It is a mutual decision between the agency and you. Having a child come live with you is a big commitment, so finding the right match is crucial. Children are placed in foster homes by matching their needs with foster parents’ or families’ situations. You will never be forced to accept a foster child you are not prepared to help. You select the level of needs and age group of the children you would like to foster.

In addition, much support is offered you and your family. You will have a Foster Care Specialist who will be available 24/7 to help you handle any questions or deal with unexpected developments. You and your child will have a therapist who will work with you to help address the issues of loss, anger and behavior management. In addition you are encouraged to attend support groups where you can connect with and get help from other foster parents.

What is required of me as a Foster Parent?
In addition to providing a secure and nurturing environment for the child or children placed in your home, you will be expected to function as a member of the child’s team and advocate for the child’s needs. There will be documentation that you will be required to keep on a daily basis. You will need to get further specialized training of at least 24 hours per year (provided free by our agency). You will need to renew your CPR/First Aid certification as it comes due. You will need to remain calm, patient, and loving even when the child expresses their anger or confusion in less than socially acceptable ways. Foster Parents need to be able to support the goal of reunification with the birth family until and unless it is changed to adoption.

Do all Foster Children have special needs?
Many of them do. Many are frightened and confused at the sudden separation from their parents. Some are angry. Others may think they are being sent to a foster home as punishment. These problems gradually lessen, as a foster child comes to trust that you care for him or her.

Can Foster Parents Adopt Children in Foster Care?
The first goal is to return foster children to their birth families, whenever that is possible. However, sometimes it is not possible for children to return home and no relatives can be found to provide appropriate care. If the permanent plan for the child becomes adoption and the child has been living in your home, you will be given the first opportunity to consider becoming the adoptive parent. Since our agency dually approves all homes for Foster Care and Adoption, you will already have met all the regular requirements for becoming an adoptive parent.

Won’t it be hard on us when the Foster Child returns home or is adopted?
Yes. That is the hardest part about being a Foster Parent.You will certainly feel sad for a time, and feel a loss. It is only natural, since a part of that child will live in your heart forever. Many foster parents find comfort and understanding from other foster parents through support groups. Some foster parents find comfort in the fact that there will be new foster children who need their care and affection. Some foster parents feel satisfaction at helping a family become whole again. But all must go through a grief process.

Is St. Joseph Children’s Home the right foster care agency for me?
All agencies offer one or two things that will meet your needs better than others. We are looking for families who are passionate, committed, and want to foster or adopt because they feel called to do so. St. Joseph Children’s Home has been serving children and families in Louisville since 1849. If you are looking for an agency that believes in matching kids with families, an agency that has extremely high standards and expectations from both our staff and our parents, and an agency committed to supporting our foster parents however possible, St. Joseph Children’s Home might be right for you. Becoming a foster parent requires a lot, but the rewards and the supports are great. Please let us know if you have any more foster care questions, and we’ll guide you every step of the way.

Lions, tigers, and bears, OH MY! 😱

St. Joe's kids had so much fun last night trick-or-treating at the annual "Boo at the Zoo." We met our heroes, said hello to a few animals, and stocked up on candy! Watch out though for the Wicked Witch of the West (aka Ms. Anna)! She'll get you my pretty!(and your little dog too!)

Thanks to Kosair Charities for making this experience possible for St. Joe's kids!

#wearestjoeskids #booatthezoo #louisvillezoo #kosair #kosaircharities

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Never judge a book by its cover...These monsters may look scary but really, they just want more COOKIES! 🍪🍪🍪

St. Joe's Pottery class meets once per week and gives St. Joe's kids the opportunity to explore, create, and express their inner selves. Learn more about St. Joe's Residential Treatment Program at

#wearestjoeskids #halloweentime #innermonster

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St. Joseph Children’s Home
2823 Frankfort Avenue
Louisville, KY 40206
(502) 893-0241
(877) 893-0241