Many people ask what makes CHOICES different from other foster care agencies? There are many reasons, but the most popular and appreciated benefits our current parents shared are listed below:
Once licensed, all foster homes are assigned a case manager for their home. This case manager will make weekly visits to your home and become to know you, your family, and the children placed in your home very well. If there is ever a question or crisis, this same worker that visits you weekly, is available by phone 24/7. This allows you to jump right in to what is going on without explaining the case and situation to someone unfamiliar. During challenging times, having this support is what our parents appreciate the most.
Your worker will be your family’s biggest advocate! Your CHOICES worker will coordinate respite care as needed for some rest and relaxation time for parents. Many times your CHOICES worker will advocate for the sponsorship of opportunities through cost sharing for pay to play fees, school trips, music lessons, or other opportunities for the foster youth in your home. CHOICES takes a family approach for the foster youth in your home and your entire family!
CHOICES Sponsored Activities
We provide many activities throughout the year that are open to our active foster families as well as people actively in the process of licensing, their birth and adopted youth and all foster youth. We have an annual Foster Parent Banquet in May and a Holiday Party in December, with food, games and presents. We also offer summer activities, which have included camping for the youth, a day at Kings Island, trips to COSI, the Cincinnati Zoo, the Columbus Zoos, local water parks, and the Newport Aquarium. We have also sponsored summer camps for youth, and we usually end our summer activities with a fall picnic type activity.
Employee Assistance Program
We are pleased to offer free and confidential crisis counseling to all of our foster families and staff through our EAP Program. The EAP program allows individuals or families to seek outside support to help work through financial stress, marital disagreements, depression, loss, parenting struggles, substance abuse issues and more at no cost to the family.
Although reimbursement is not provided above and beyond per diem rate to cover any damage to property that might occur, protection against allegations made by a foster youth is available. If an allegation made by a youth results in a civil lawsuit, the cost of legal representation is covered by the agency’s liability insurance policy. Criminal matters, however, are not covered.
Quality Paid Training
After becoming licensed, foster parents are required to complete 40 or 60 hours of training within their 2 year certification period. We know that every child is unique and has specialized needs. CHOICES hires professional trainers on topics requested by foster parents to allow them to continue to be educated about topics that matter most to them. CHOICES offers semi-annual Conferences that are held at a local hotel in which parents attend training and CHOICES staff take the kids in your home to an activity for the day. It is a great way to gain training hours needed and let the kids have some fun! Plus you are reimbursed for your time at $10/hr.
CHOICE also offers monthly support groups. The HOPE (Helping Other Parents Excel) Group meets once a month for two hours in a confidential setting with dinner and training provided to parents. The training topic is assigned based on the needs expressed by parents and an open forum approach is taken to allow parents to discuss the assigned topic.
Personal Fulfillment and Enrichment
Beyond the many benefits listed above, as a foster parent you will find your life being enriched by the work that you do and the service you provide. Knowing that you have helped a child reunify with their family or watching a child recover from a difficult childhood, seeing them blossom into a productive young adult is an amazing experience. When so many adults have given up hope for our children, you have decided to take a stand and make a difference. Nothing we offer is more rewarding than seeing the results of the love, nurture, discipline, structure, hope and all of the encouragement that you provide culminate in a successful foster care placement where the child entrusted to your care meets the goals of their permanency plan.