Q: What are the requirements to become a foster parent?
A: These are the basic requirements to becoming a foster parent with Boys & Girls Aid:
Must be 21 years of age
All adults in the home providing care for a foster youth must become a certified foster parent
All persons 16 years and older living in the home must pass a criminal history check
All drivers in the home must have an Oregon driver’s license, a safe driving record, and are available to transport a youth if necessary
The home has a separate bedroom for a youth in foster care
Foster parent must demonstrate financial stability, independent of the stipend
Potential foster parent must be able to attend up to three full days of training (trainings typically occur on Saturdays)
Foster Parent must be able to attend ongoing training every third Tuesday of the month from 5:30-7:30pm
Q: How much is the stipend?
A: The tax-free stipend varies depending on the program, but our stipends start at $1,240+ / month. Our Relief programs range from $42-100 / night.
Q: I live in Washington state. Can I foster with Boys & Girls Aid?
A: No, Boys & Girls Aid foster programs only serve the Portland-metro area of Oregon. We prefer that our foster parents live within a 30 minute radius from Portland.
Q: How many foster youth can I have at any one time?
A: We always start with one placement. If the foster parent has capacity, we explore a second placement. We never exceed three placements per home.
Q: What are the room requirements for fostering?
A: The foster parent must have a spare bedroom in their home, which contains a door and a window.
Q: How long does the certification process take?
A: The certification process takes about 2-4 months. During this time period, our certifiers get to know our families extremely well to ensure the best fit for both the foster youth and the parents. You’ll also receive specialized training, so you feel confident and empowered to do this work!
Q: What are the training requirements to become a foster parent?
A: We have comprehensive and dynamic training, which empowers foster parents to do therapeutic work with our youth. We require 32 hours of pre-service training prior to providing care for our youth, which includes:
Pre-Certification Training (8 hours)
Crisis Prevention Institute (8 hours)
First Aid/CPR (8 hours)
Individualized In-Home Training (8 hours)
Q: What age are most youth in BGAID programs?
A: We serve youth ages 4-21. BGAID’s focus is finding permanency for youth 12+, because youth this age are often left behind in the foster care system.
Q: What do the youth do after school and in the summer?
A: After school, the youth go to our various program sites to work with BGAID case managers to receive individualized case management, homework assistance, and recreational activities. Some of our youth attend school through the summer for varied amounts of time each day. The youth also have access to fun activities with our staff.
Q: What types of support do foster parents receive?
A: BGAID offers wraparound services to provide support for both our foster youth and parents, which include:
Two days paid relief per month
24/7 BGAID helpline that foster parents can call in crisis
Support People- friends, family, neighbors of our foster parents can receive a mini-certification through BGAID and provide relief care for the youth for up to 10 hours per week. Our foster parents can have as many support people as they would like, which provides a lot of built-in relief.
Q: Do foster youth have health insurance?
A: Yes, all youth in foster care have mental and physical health coverage through Oregon Health Plan.
Q: What do I need to do to get my home ready for fostering?
A: Foster parents work with our certifiers to make sure their home meets DHS safety regulations. The certifiers are extremely knowledgeable in the safety requirements needed prior to receiving a fostering placement.
Q: What does 24/7 sight and sound supervision mean?
A: Many of our youth have endured neglect and have not received the guidance that children require. As a foster parent, your supervision and presence in their lives will help them to make more positive choices. We ask that our foster parents monitor the youth closely in the home and especially in the community, to protect them and give them direction.
Q: Where do the youth go to school?
A: Schooling for our youth varies. Many of our youth attend alternative schools to better meet their educational needs. We have short-term programs where the youth are not removed from their home schools to maintain continuity in their lives. Due to keeping them in their home schools, BGAID staff provides transportation to the various schools. If a child is not rooted in a school, they attend a school near the foster parent’s home.
Q: What are the common mental health/behavioral issues for children in foster care?
A: Our youth have experienced significant trauma in their lives. Trauma impacts how the brain develops, and can cause long-term effects with attachment, physical health, and emotional regulation. In general, our youth may exhibit behaviors such as aggression, PTSD, depression, and difficulty managing strong emotions.
Q: I’m a single provider, can I still foster?
A: Yes, you can be a single provider and foster at Boys & Girls Aid! In fact, a significant portion of our foster parents are single providers.
Q: Can foster youth travel with foster parents?
A: Foster parents are permitted to travel with our youth within Oregon state lines. Any out-of- state travel would need to be approved, ahead of time, by their DHS caseworker.
Q: I have biological children, can I still foster?
A: Absolutely! Many of our foster youth are separated from their biological siblings and benefit having sibling-type connections in their lives. Fostering can be as beneficial for your biological children as well by giving them perspective and allowing them to create bonds with youth that need them.
Q: Do foster parents need to interact with the foster youth’s birth family?
A: Foster parents will likely have little to no contact with a youth’s birth family. Foster parents may have minimal contact with a youth’s birth family to coordinate visits or facilitate phone / video calls. There are very limited instances where foster parents have allowed birth parents to have visits in their home. These instances are of course up to the discretion of the foster parent.