Taking placement

60. The different “levels” of foster care- foster parents

Hello, All! Mama S here. Thank you for coming along on our journey. Today I’m going to break down Mama A’s and my “level” as it relates to fostering. Before we get into what our level is, it is important to have an understanding of what all the levels are.

There is far more details on the DCF website  I will just be pulling in the details about the different levels:

  • Level 1 certification is reserved for child-specific licenses only. To be child-specific, it requires the person to be:
    • A relative of the child OR
    • Have a prior relationship between the foster parent and the child or the child’s family.
  • Level 2 foster care is referred to as basic foster care. These applicants are required to provide 3 favorable references from non-related individuals.
  • Level 3 certification is considered moderate treatment foster care, which is foster care that can provide additional supervision and care to children with higher needs than those in basic foster care. Level 3 applicants must submit three favorable references from non-related individuals and one favorable reference from a relative, preferably an adult child. Level 3 foster parents are also required to meet threeof the prior experience requirements
    • A minimum of 1 year of experience as a foster parent or kinship care provider (with a child placed in the home for at least 1 year)
    • A minimum of 5 years of experience working with or parenting children
    • A minimum of 500 hours of experience as a respite care provider
    • A high school diploma or the equivalent
    • A college, vocational, or technical advanced degree in an area related to a child’s treatment needs such as nursing, medicine, social work, or psychology
    • A previous existing relationship with the child through professional or personal experience
    • Work or personal experience demonstrating the knowledge, skills, ability, and motivation to meet the needs of a child with a level of need of 3
  • Level 4 (*THIS IS US) is considered specialized treatment foster care, which is structured to meet the higher needs of children and often addresses specific population needs, such as teen parents or youth with sexually aggressive behaviors. Level 4 applicants must submit three favorable references from non-related individuals and one favorable reference from a relative, preferably an adult child. Level 4 foster parents are also required to meet fourof the prior experience requirements:
    • A minimum of 1 year of experience with children who have a Level of Need of 3 as a foster parent or kinship care provider
    • A minimum of 5 years of experience working with or parenting children
    • A minimum of 500 hours of experience as a respite care provider
    • A high school diploma or equivalent
    • A college, vocational, or technical advanced degree in an area related to a child’s treatment needs, such as nursing, medicine, social work, or psychology
    • A previous existing relationship with the child through professional or personal experience
    • Work or personal experience demonstrating the knowledge, skills, ability, and motivation to meet the needs of a child with a level of need of 3
  • Level 5 is considered exceptional treatment foster care, and is also sometimes referred to as “shift-staffed” foster care. These foster homes have staff members who work in rotating shifts to care for the children. Level 5 foster homes are generally created to meet the needs of specific children who need care into adulthood and the home becomes the adult resource. All Level 5 foster homes must receive prior approval from the DCF Exceptions Panel.

As you can see, there are varying levels to meet the needs of kiddos in care. When Mama A and I were first licensed we were level 2. At our re-licensing we were moved to a level 4 with a focus of mental health. This is the highest level a “traditional” home would be licensed at. If we were to move to a level 5 we would be labeled a group home.

This makes me think back to when we were first licensed and that fateful blog post where I shared that we were not a treatment foster home. I was right, in that moment. We were not. We were not given the training, support, or experience to be able to care for treatment level kiddos.

Over the past two years Mama A and I have done close to 100 combined hours of training, seminars, workshops, and webinars (that is nothing compared to the hours we have spent reading books) in an attempt to care for our kiddos. We still feel that there is so much more to learn. I am currently reading 3 books that deal with trauma, self-care, and finding the positive in everyday situations.

We share this as part of our journey that we haven’t shared before. The blood sweat and tears that our friends and family don’t see. The hours upon hours of research and conversations we have about what we have learned in an attempt to come up with a nugget that will help us get through that moment.

Please note that our journey is not anyone else’s. As such, if you are curious about your friend’s/families journey, please ask them and respect the limits that they are willing to share.

Many hugs and best wishes,

Mama S

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s