What is WhimSpire?
WhimSpire is one of several private, licensed child placement agencies in Colorado. Our license is issued by the Colorado Department of Human Services and authorizes WhimSpire to certify foster homes and place children and youth in foster homes. We are required to provide services consistent with standards and regulations of the Colorado Department of Human Services. WhimSpire specializes in providing foster family care; we concentrate our efforts to provide high quality foster care in our homes.
What are foster families?
Foster families are families who have been certified by WhimSpire to provide foster care. Provision of care within families is in the best interest of most children who cannot be cared for by their own parents or kin. This is a valuable service provided to society by our families.
What types of children does WhimSpire place with foster families?
We place children of all ages with a wide variety of needs. WhimSpire strives to match the needs of the child with the strengths and interests of the family care provider. WhimSpire staff will discuss with you the types of youth and behaviors with which you will be most successful. The need is greatest for families who can care for teenagers, children with special needs, or for a group of siblings.
How long will a child or youth stay in my home?
The length of placement varies depending on the needs of the child and the permanency plan. Some placements may be as short as a few weeks and others may be long term. Whenever possible, efforts are made to reunify the child with his or her birth family; when this is not possible courts will be asked to terminate parental rights so the child can be considered for adoption. If no appropriate adoptive home can be found, the child may remain in long term foster care until he or she is able to assume adult responsibilities.
Will I be expected to have contact with the birth parents?
Most likely, unless this will create an unhealthy situation for you or the child, or if parental rights are terminated. The permanency plan for many of these children will be family reunification; contacts with the birth parent are important to help accomplish the permanency plan. Further, the birth parents are important to children and youth even in situations where you may not be asked to have contact with them. In these situations you will still need to maintain a positive attitude towards the birth parents and to assist the youth to come to understand the nature of his experiences with his parents. Knowledge about birth parents is essential for a child to develop a sense of identity and answer the question, “Who am I?”
Will I be required to take a specific youth?
No. You will not be required or expected to take any youth with whom you are uncomfortable. You and WhimSpire staff will discuss referrals and you will ideally have the opportunity to meet the child/youth before a placement is made. At any time during this pre- placement process you may indicate that you are uncomfortable with the placement. Your views will be respected and you will not be pressured or expected to take the youth into your home.
Are there reasons for me not to become a foster family?
Yes. Here are a few things that are likely to lead to unhappiness and interfere with your ability to care for foster children in your home:
Difficulties in your marriage. Foster care adds a complex dynamic to an existing intimate relationship with your partner. The success of the placement depends heavily on the stability of your primary relationship with your partner. Both partners should have equal interest in the prospect of foster care.
Providing a playmate or companion for your own child. Children do need playmates and companions but this is not likely to be a useful motivation for becoming a foster parent.
Discomfort working on a team with other people who may have varying opinions on the best interest of the child. Serving foster children successfully requires a group of people working together on behalf of the child. If you do not like to work as an equal team member in decision-making, you may find this a difficult experience.
Giving up quickly. Foster parents work hard with challenging youth.
They need to be persistent in finding ways to work with youth and not give up early.
Financial Gain. The primary purpose of becoming a foster parent is to care for youth, not financial wealth. This is not paid employment but rather a reimbursement which may help with monthly expenses in your household such as rent, groceries, utilities, etc. All foster parents should have the resources to meet their financial responsibilities aside from their foster care reimbursement.
How many foster children can I have in my home?
The number of placements will depend on the size of your home, the number of your own children at home, and your level of energy and enthusiasm in taking on this work. There are also State guidelines that determine the number of children who can be in the home.
Can a single adult be licensed as a foster family?
Yes, WhimSpire has one- parent homes. We carefully consider the time the parent has available to care for a foster child and to meet obligations as a foster parent.
Can both adult foster parents work outside of their home?
We have some families in which both of the foster parents work outside the home. We consider the amount of time these families have available to care for a foster child.
How do I become certified as a WhimSpire family?
A WhimSpire staff will be contacting you to arrange a home visit and discuss the certification process. In summary, you will need to do these things:
Submit an application.
Arrange for three references.
Complete fingerprint cards for state and federal background checks.
Complete a health appraisal for all members of your household.
Complete CPR and First Aid courses.
Participate in home study interviews and process with your WhimSpire staff.
Complete 12 hours of pre-service core training.
Assist WhimSpire staff in a home inspection in accordance with state regulations.
How long will it take to complete licensing?
WhimSpire can usually complete the licensing process within two to four months from the receipt of an application. The length of the processing time depends on your timely completion of requirements. A longer time may be required if there are any delays in securing your fingerprints, CPR/First Aid certification, health appraisals, or completing pre-service training.
Will a criminal record disqualify me from being a WhimSpire foster parent?
It may, depending on the record. Convictions for child abuse, child sexual abuse, family violence, or violent felony offenses will disqualify you from being licensed as a WhimSpire foster parent. Convictions for other offenses may also disqualify you depending on the nature of the offense and how long ago it occurred. If you have a criminal history, we encourage you to discuss this very early in your contacts with your licensing worker.