Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions2018-10-24T15:03:51+00:00

We’re so glad you’ve got questions.

Below are the answers to the ones we’re asked most often. Don’t see your question here? Feel free to Contact Us!

A child may stay in foster care a few days, a few months, or a few years. Whether you care for a child for a day, a month, or a year, we know important relationships are created and that’s exactly what children in care need. We also know that lack of certainty is challenging for both the foster parent and the child. While safety, stability, and well-being of the children in our community are the primary goals of the foster care system, the Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) also strives to strengthen, preserve, and promote positive relationships between children in foster care and their families in an effort to return a child home safely. Parents with children in foster care are offered supports, services, and visits with their children to help them learn to safely parent so their child may be returned to their care. The majority of children are successfully reunited with their parents within 3 years of entering foster care, while other children eventually become eligible for adoption.

People who will love and care for them! We invest in looking for and supporting families who have a passion for helping children and are willing to do all it takes for the sake of the children. We seek people who are flexible and curious. We are partners with these families throughout their foster care journey, providing expertise and support every step of the way. Children need families who come from and understand their community and culture, so we actively seek diversity in our foster parents. We believe that preparing a varied pool of foster families is in the best interest of the diverse community of children we serve.

Amara offers our services to families inclusive of sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, race, religion and marital status. In addition:

  • You can be single, married, or partnered. While we understand that no one can predict the future, we are looking for families who can offer stability and predictability to children for whom it is crucial to their healing and development. Thus, applications will not be accepted from couples who have been in their relationship for less than two years.
  • You must be 21 years old or older but there are no other age requirements.
  • You can live in an apartment or a house and must have a room for the child.
  • You can have other children living in your home or adult children no longer living with you. However, we must interview any and all children who are living in or who have left your home to ensure that any child placed with you will be safe and well-nurtured.
  • You must pass a child abuse and criminal background check. While there are some crimes that permanently disqualify an applicant from foster care or adoption, a past criminal charge or conviction will not necessarily preclude you from moving forward. We will assess criminal history as we do all other aspects of your individual and family background – in terms of its relation to your ability to provide a safe and nurturing home for children. Please call us with any questions.
  • You must be able to physically care for a child. We do evaluate physical health as well as emotional, psychological, and social well-being. Standard practice requires that all applicants submit a detailed report from their medical provider.
  • You must commit to living in Washington State. Although occasional travel outside of Washington may be permissible, children who are in the custody of DCYF must remain living in the State of Washington.

This will vary based on your unique circumstances, but generally single applicants can expect to be licensed in approximately 6 months and couples can expect to be licensed in 9 months.

The goal of foster care is to reunite children with their birth families or extended family whenever possible and safe to do so. Many children are able to be successfully reunited with their parents while other children eventually become eligible for adoption.

Each child’s case must move through a legal process; generally, the younger the child, the less we will know about the longer-term or permanent placement plan (i.e. whether the child will be able to go home, be placed with another family member, or become eligible for adoption).

Some Amara families choose to parent kids further along in the legal process for whom adoption is already the permanent placement plan or who are legally free for adoption. These kids are usually school age and will have been in foster care for an extended period of time already.

Most Amara families choose concurrent planning and foster children who are new to care, providing them with one home to live in until they either return home to their family or become eligible for adoption. For these families, they are often the first family considered for the adoption of this child after a complete biological family search is completed.

You will receive support from your caseworker and from Amara’s Child Placement Coordinator in making an informed decision about the child you welcome into your family. If a child in your care becomes eligible for adoption and you wish to move forward with an adoption, your Foster Care Specialist will support you in navigating this process.

Our Post-Adoption program provides support and resources to adoptees and families to promote fulfilling relationships and long-term stability. Amara highly values openness in adoption and the importance of birth family relationships. Foster and adopted children benefit from knowing their roots, staying connected to their birth families and being able to ask questions and get answers about their placement into foster care, their adoption, and their birth/first family.

No, Amara does not facilitate international adoptions. In 2015, we closed our private adoption program, bringing an end to our work with domestic relinquishments. However, Amara works with you, the child’s team, and anyone else you identify to prepare you if a child you are fostering through Amara becomes legally free, and you would like to pursue adoption. In this case, Amara can facilitate the adoption (for more information please see “Can I adopt a child I’m fostering?” above). Amara highly values openness in adoption and the importance of birth family relationships. Amara’s Post-Adoption program provides support and resources to adoptees, adoptive families, and birth families to promote fulfilling relationships and long-term stability.

The foster care licensing and adoption preparation process takes a great deal of work, time, focus and emotional energy. Many of the children we place from foster care have experienced trauma, requiring foster parents to be present for them in a way that often greatly exceeds the level of energy and emotional capacity necessary to parent children who have experienced consistent, nurturing care from the beginning.  In the interest of the vulnerable children we serve, it is imperative that families are wholly present and singularly committed to this path to grow their family, and that they are equipped and prepared for success. For these reasons, we do not accept applications from families who are currently pregnant, engaged in fertility treatments, or who are actively pursuing pregnancy, surrogacy, private adoption, or other methods of growing their families.

At Amara, we believe that our home study process is an essential part of preparing families to be ready to care for children who have experienced trauma.  Therefore, we require every family we work with to complete our home study process, even if they are already licensed through the State of Washington or other child placement agency. If you are already a licensed foster home through the State, you may continue to have children placed in your home while you are working on your home study with Amara.

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