What do I need to become a Foster Parent?
Along with meeting the basic qualifications for this position, our Foster Parents embody five essential qualities: a heart for mission, a heart for children, a willingness to relocate, creative parenting and style of care, and a desire for Village and community living. To read more about each of these qualifications in greater depth, visit here.
How long should I expect the Foster Parent application process to be?
The process can take a minimum of three months. For the process to be successful, regular communication, cooperation, and commitment are required from SOS Illinois and from potential Foster Parents.
Where do the children in your care come from?
The children in our care are referred to us from the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS).
Can I select the children I want?
One of the pillars of our model is the commitment to keep large sibling groups who enter into care together. Additionally, we’re committed to children regardless of age and ethnicity. Foster Parents are not able to select specific characteristics or decide where the children, aged 0-18, will be placed.
How many children will I be required to care for?
Each home is equipped to hold up to six children; SOS Illinois Foster Parents should anticipate caring for as many as six children at one time.
Can I bring my own children?
SOS Illinois will allow one biological or adopted child or grandchild in the home.
Will I be able to work outside the home?
In our Villages, our children benefit from at least one full-time Foster Parent who is committed to the care and well-being of the children and does not have the responsibility of working outside the home.
Will my spouse be able to live in the Village with me?
Yes, married couples and domestic partners are welcome as Foster Parents. Your spouse or partner must go through the same DCFS clearance procedures. In many cases, spouses of our Foster Parents also provide support to their partners as Relief Parents. Spouses are able to hold employement outside of the home.
Where are the Villages located in Illinois?
- 17545 Village Lane, Lockport, Illinois
- 7600 S. Parnell Ave., Chicago, Illinois
- 1200 W. Roosevelt Rd., Chicago, Illinois
How long of a commitment will I need to make?
We ask Foster Parents to commit to three years of service with us. This helps create stability in the children’s lives, which is vital to our model of care. We are open to considering your situation and the amount of time you may be able to spend dedicated to caring for the children in our care.
Are there other people/entities with whom I am expected to work?
Yes, Foster Parents are required to work with Village Staff, biological parents, the court system, and schools.
What is expected of me?
Foster Parents are expected to participate in and contribute to the well-being of children in their care by working with Village Staff and biological parents, attending trainings as directed, and taking advantage of Village resources and activities.
What SOS Illinois resources will I be given to help me be a successful Foster Parent?
All full-time SOS Illinois Foster Parents receive:
- Training before and after children are placed with them
- An annual salary
- Health and dental insurance
- Contributions to a pension plan after one year of service
- Housing, including utilities
- Use of an SOS Illinois vehicle
- A household budget for food and other expenses for the children in their home
In addition, our Foster Parents receive eight hours of relief per week, where children are cared for by an SOS Illinois Relief Parent, and have access to clinicians and caseworkers to provide them with ongoing support. Group activities and events are also planned for entertainment and enrichment.
What if I am unable to commit to a full-time position at this time?
You might consider applying for a position as a Relief Parent. Relief Parents provide on-call relief and assistance to Foster Parents on an as-needed basis, as scheduled by the Village Director. If would you like more information about part-time Relief Parent opportunities, please let us know.
Do I have to be married to be a Foster Parent?
At SOS Illinois, you don’t have to be married to foster a child or children. Many children will thrive in a single parent home. Married couples and domestic partnerships are a welcome entity into our organization as well.
Can the children accompany me to a religious service while in my care?
SOS Illinois is a non-denominational institution, and we encourage our Foster Parents to practice their respective religious beliefs and attend any services. However, you would need to consider how you would feel about discussing issues such as alternative religious beliefs. It is important that our Foster Parents are flexible in their approach, and understand if a child does not want to participate in attending a religious event with the Foster Parent. If a Foster Parent would like to attend a religious service without taking the children with them, they are able to use their 8 hours per week of relief time to schedule time to attend church, events, etc.