Genesee County Department of Social Services Resource
Parenting (Foster Care/Adoption) Program
Homes for Kids…Hope for Families
One of the components of Genesee County's services to children and families is theResource Parenting Program. Designed to identify safe, secure, and loving homes for children of all ages (many of whom are considered "hard to place" because of their age, ethnicity, emotional and/or medical needs, or because they are a part of a sibling group that should be placed together in the same home), the Resource Parenting Program certifies individuals, couples, and families who are interested in being a temporary foster home, adoptive home, or both to children in need. Participants in the program are afforded the opportunity to learn about the many aspects of foster and/or adoptive care and to have a certified adoption homestudy completed at no cost.
The Resource Family Certification Process
The first stepping stone of the Resource Parenting Program is participation in a thirty hour program entitled "Model Approach to Partnerships in Parenting" (MAPP).The program is broken down into ten individual meetings, each covering a specific topic of the program. These topics include:
- an overview of the MAPP program
- an interactive foster care and adoption experience
- losses and gains - the need to be a loss expert
- helping children with attachments
- helping children learn to manage their behaviors
- helping children with birth family connections
- gains and losses - helping children leave foster care
- understanding the impact of fostering or adopting on your family and life
- perspectives in adoptive parenting and foster parenting
The purpose of MAPP is two-fold:
- to help the participants understand the issues involved in resource parenting so that they can identify their own strengths and needs that will impact on their ability to act as effective resource parents.
- to allow the participants and the agency facilitators to make a joint decision about the best way that the participants can help children.
MAPP provides guidelines to prospective resource parents for assessing their own strengths and needs, based on twelve skills that have been identified in successful resource parents. These skills are:
- Know your own family
- Communicate effectively
- Know the children
- Build strengths; meet needs
- Work in partnership
- Be loss and attachment experts
- Manage behaviors
- Build connections
- Build self esteem
- Assure health and safety
- Assess impact
- Make an informed decision
The MAPP program is designed to be sequential, interactive and experiential.It is imperative, therefore, that participants attend each meeting, so as not to miss a piece of the "puzzle." Genesee County DSS requires that single individuals attend each meeting. For couples interested only in foster care, at least one partner in the couple must attend each meeting. For couples interested in both foster care and adoption, or only in adoption, both partners must attend each meeting. Because of the nature of the program, individual make-up sessions are not possible.
During the ten MAPP meetings, participants complete a "profile" specifically geared towards the make-up of their family. Also, at the end of each meeting, participants complete worksheets designed to help them identify their personal strengths and needs.
The MAPP facilitators make one personal home visit with each individual or family participating in the program during the course of the program. This is an opportunity for both the participants and the facilitators to ask questions that might not be appropriate to be posed during the large group meetings, and to share any thoughts or concerns either may have about the strengths and needs of the participants.
After completing the MAPP program, those participants who feel that they are ready to undertake the role of resource (foster and/or adoptive) parent can begin the certification process. This process has three main components:
- Applicant's Completion of a Certification Packet, which includes:
- Application form
- Medical reports on all household members
- Consent to contact four personal references
- Consent to contact local school district
- State Central Registry for Child Abuse and Maltreatment clearance form
- Criminal history check (by fingerprinting) on all household members over age 18
- Proof of marriage (if applicable)
- Proof of divorce (if applicable)
- Proof of household income
- Parent Aid for Self Education form
- Individual Autobiography (for individuals or couples seeking adoption certification)
- Agency Processing of Certification Packet
Final Home Assessment and Individual Consultation by Agency Staff
- Completion of fire and safety inspection
- Completion of Resource Home Study
Once the applicant submits the certification packet to the agency, it generally takes an average of three to four months to complete the certification process.
There is a great need for foster and adoptive parents in Genesee County. For more information on how you can become a Resource Parent for a waiting child, contact Cheryl Stenger at 585-344-2580 ext. 6414.