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Being a foster parent is a challenging responsibility. It involves adhering to numerous rules and regulations implemented by the state to ensure the safety and well-being of your foster care child.

To avoid any complications or potential harm to the child, it is essential to respect and maintain appropriate boundaries. At Courage Community Foster Care, we have prepared a blog post highlighting the ten rules that foster parents must follow. Continue reading below to gain valuable insights and information.

Foster care rules and regulations may vary from one state to another. Here are some of the basic rules and regulations a foster parent must follow.

Do Not Change Their Appearance Without Permission

As a foster parent, it is important to respect the appearance of the foster child under your care and not make any alterations without proper authorization. Seek approval from the biological parents or the caseworker assigned to the child’s case before making any changes.

For instance, you should refrain from piercing the child’s ears, cutting their hair drastically, or making any significant changes to their hairstyle, as these choices can impact the child’s identity.

It is crucial to review the care plan for the child, as it will dictate your ability to modify their physical appearance. Even if the child expresses a desire for a haircut, you do not have the authority to approve such requests, particularly for children below the age of 12.

It is your responsibility to ensure that the child’s hairstyle is maintained appropriately and that haircuts are performed only after receiving permission from the biological parent or caseworker. Children aged 12 or older may have some autonomy in choosing their hairstyle, but they must still adhere to school rules and guidelines.

Do Not Post Their Photos on Social Media 

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Foster parents are prohibited from posting photos of their foster children. This measure is in place to safeguard the children’s identities and ensure their protection.

As a foster parent, you do not have the same legal rights as a biological parent or legal guardian, and therefore, you must refrain from sharing any photos of the foster child online, including on social media accounts or blogs. This is an important step to maintain the privacy and safety of the child.

Do Not Hire Unapproved Babysitters 

In a lot of places, a foster child is not allowed to be left alone with unapproved caregivers or daycare services. You must get the approval of the caseworker first.

This will ensure that the child will be safe and protected at all times, especially if you will let someone other than your family members care for your foster child.

Do Not Refuse to Vaccinate Them 

If you hold an anti-vaccination stance, it cannot be used as a justification to prevent your foster children from receiving vaccinations. Your personal beliefs or opinions regarding vaccines are not considered relevant in this matter.

Foster agencies and child services require foster parents to ensure that their foster children receive vaccinations as recommended.

Even if the biological parents of the foster child share the same views, the state may intervene by assigning a judge to make a ruling that the foster child must be vaccinated. Compliance with vaccination requirements is necessary to prioritize the health and well-being of the foster child.

Do Not Leave Them Without Supervision 

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Foster children below the age of 12 are not permitted to be left alone at home without adult supervision. However, if the child is 12 years or older and has been residing in the home for at least 14 days, you may be allowed to leave them alone for a short period of time.

In situations where you are unable to personally pick up the foster child from school or if you won’t be present when they return home, it is important to provide them with a key to access the house.

Additionally, ensure that your contact information is readily available to them so they can reach you in case of an emergency. Displaying a list of important phone numbers in the living room or kitchen can also help them quickly access necessary contacts when needed.

Pay Attention to Co-sleeping Arrangements

The foster kids must be given their bed and room and are not allowed to be in any type of co-sleeping arrangements with your family. Some foster kids have unpleasant experiences that could make co-sleeping with any member of your family to be invasive or even trigger trauma. 

You Are Not Allowed to Change Their Names

Foster parents are not permitted to alter the first or last name of their foster child, even if they become their permanent family. Each child has their own unique identity, including biological parents, siblings, and family history.

It is essential to respect and honor their existing identity, preserving their family ties and connections. Foster children often have experienced traumatic events that led to their placement in the foster care system. The primary goal of foster care is to reunite these children with their biological or extended family whenever possible.

Therefore, it is generally necessary to maintain their original name, unless specific circumstances arise that would warrant a name change and meet the appropriate legal requirements.

You Are Not Allowed to Move Them to a Different State or Overseas 

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If you are required to relocate to a different state for any reason, you will not be able to take your foster child with you.

As a foster parent, you are obligated to remain in the state and continue providing care for the child for as long as necessary or arrange for their safe return to the foster agency, who will then find an alternative foster home.

Similarly, if you plan to go on a vacation overseas, obtaining a passport for a foster child can be a complex and time-consuming process, making it impractical to take them with you.

It is important to adhere to the regulations and procedures outlined by the foster care system to ensure the child’s well-being and legal requirements are met.

Avoid Activities That Are Considered Dangerous

Foster parents do not have the authority to permit their foster child to participate in potentially hazardous activities, such as ice skating, skiing, camping, or playing football, without prior approval.

If your foster child receives an invitation to an event involving such activities, it is essential to consult with the caseworker or foster agency to determine the appropriate course of action.

Obtaining permission from both the biological parents and the relevant state authorities is necessary before making any decisions regarding the child’s participation. It is crucial to prioritize the child’s safety and adhere to the guidelines and protocols established by the foster care system.

Do Not Say Negative Things About the Biological Family 

There may be occasions when your foster child expresses a desire to discuss their biological family, while other times they may choose to avoid the topic altogether.

When engaging in conversations about the foster child’s biological family, it is important to refrain from making negative remarks or speaking disparagingly about their parents and relatives. Maintaining a respectful approach is crucial to ensure that the child’s feelings are not hurt by derogatory comments directed at their biological family.

Choose Courage Community Foster Care For Guidance About the Fostering Process

Are you considering becoming a foster parent in Colorado? It is a step-by-step process that requires the support of a trustworthy foster agency like Courage Community Foster Care. If you would like more information, please contact us as soon as possible.

You can reach us at 719.321.4319 or send an email to Rest assured, Courage Community Foster Care is the ideal choice for a successful foster parenting journey. Get in touch with us today! We are here to assist you with the legal aspects and guide you through the step-by-step process of foster care.