Working together to protect, enrich, and give hope

Nearly 1,000 children in Erie County alone are in Foster Care. 

You can help! Children of all ages need loving families and supportive homes during this critical time in their young lives.

Gateway Longview offers comprehensive Foster Care & Adoption Services to support families in the Buffalo, NY area and throughout Erie County. We work to match children in care with safe, nurturing foster home environments where they are set up to thrive.

Children in foster care are hoping and waiting for their own special champion. Could it be you? 

  • Do you love children and have a good sense of humor?
  • Do you enjoy celebrating small victories?
  • Do you have a desire to learn – are you able to attend trainings and do you welcome feedback?
  • Do you consider yourself flexible and open-minded?
  • Are you organized and open to completing and submitting paperwork?
  • Do you like being part of a team?
  • Do you keep commitments and see things through?
  • Do you have the ability to empathize?
  • Do you recognize your stress and have healthy ways to manage it?
  • Do you have a strong support system that encourages your interest in foster care/adoption?

If you answered YES to any of the above questions, we want to hear from you!

Call 716.783.2909 to talk directly with one of our staff members, many of whom are also foster and adoptive parents themselves. We are waiting to answer your questions, and we are here to help you get started.

Have a question? Submit the information below and a member of our homefinding staff will follow up with you as soon as possible.

May is Foster Care Awareness Month!
Check out our media coverage from 2018

Foster Family Spotlight

Join us as real families in the WNY community who are fostering or have adopted with Gateway Longview share their stories.

 

 

What steps do I need to take to become a certified Foster or Adoptive Family with Gateway Longview?

Becoming a foster/adoptive parent with Gateway Longview involves several steps, each of which build upon the previous step.

In its entirety, the process will help you decide whether foster/adoptive parenting is right for you and your family.  It also allows us an opportunity to get to know and assist you in identifying your strengths and needs.  Highlighting your strengths and needs will help us when matching children with your family.

Step 1:   First Steps – Inquire
When you contact our office (via telephone, email or through our website), a member of the Gateway Longview team will answer your questions about foster parenting and the process involved.  If you are interested in taking the next step, we will ask you some basic questions, discuss your interest, send you a packet of information and invite you to an upcoming orientation meeting.

Step 2:   Attend an Orientation
Before being invited to the Foster Parent Training group, you are first required to attend an orientation meeting.  During the orientation, we will give you an overview of foster care, Gateway Longview’s program, and answer specific questions you may have.  Group orientation meetings are monthly, and individual meetings can be arranged as needed.

2018 Orientation are held at 10 Symphony Circle from 6:00pm – 7:30pm on the first Wednesday of each month:  
There is a potential that some dates/times/locations may be adjusted depending on the number of interested participants for each session. To register or learn more about either the Foster Parent Training MAPP/GPS II groups or orientation sessions, please call 716.783.2909.

January 3
February 7
March 7
April 4
May 2
June 6
July 5 **This is a Thursday due to the holiday** 
August 1
September 5
October 3
November 7
December 5

Step 3:   Complete the required paperwork
Applicants submit various documentation including an application, copies of your financial information and medical reports completed by your physician.  All adults (18 and over) in your home must be fingerprinted, provide local police clearances and be cleared through the State Central Registrar for Abuse and Neglect. We are here to help you through this step.

Step 4:   Complete a Training Series (Preparation Program)
Every prospective foster and/or adoptive parent is required to attend a 5-week Model Approach to Partnerships in Parenting (MAPP) and group Group Preparation & Selection (GPS) sessions.  Through MAPP, we will sensitize you to the experiences of families in the foster care system, explore your parenting skills and style, and assess your own strengths and needs as a potential resource parent.  The sessions, which are held two nights per week for five consecutive weeks, are designed to help you prepare for foster/adoptive parenting, including learning about your rights and responsibilities, as well as the challenges and rewards.  You will learn about partnering with birth families and how to help children adjust to your home.

There is no charge for the classes. Foster/adoptive parents generally train together in a group setting and we strive to provide a rich, diverse and supportive environment for all members.

Step 5:   Have a Home Study Prepared
The home study process provides Gateway Longview with comprehensive information needed to identify your individualized strengths and needs.  During this step, you will meet with your Homefinder several times, most commonly in your home. During the home study process, your Homefinder will look to identify and explore your personal history, background information, lifestyle, child caring experiences, the types of children you feel would best fit into your home, as well as identifying your strengths and skills in meeting the children’s needs.  There is no fee to have a home study completed through the Foster Care/Adoption program.

Step 6:  Presentation of Your Family to Gateway Longview’s Panel
The panel consists of staff from the Foster Care program including Homefinders, Permanency Planners and supervisors.  It is a collective agency decision to certify a family as a Resource Parent.  Therefore, the purpose of the panel review is for the Homefinder to present your family to the panel and for the panel to ultimately make a decision regarding the appropriateness of certification.  Sometimes, a family is asked to come in and join the panel to clarify any questions and for the team to have an opportunity to meet the applicant.

Step 7:  Become a Certified Resource Parent
Upon the successful completion of your home study, training and approval by the panel, you become a certified resource parent.  This means that you are now eligible to receive referrals and to care for foster children in your home.  It is important to note that yearly re-certification must be completed by resource parents including participation in a specified number of training hours, submitting updated medicals, etc.

Step 8:  A Child is Placed in Your Home
After you become certified, you will be eligible to begin receiving referral calls from Gateway Longview to explore placement of children in your home.  If the match is right, the child(ren) will come to stay with you on either a short-term or longer-term basis.  Before a child is placed in your home, the Intake Coordinator will give you information that will help you provide the best care for the child.

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What types of support and services are available to me and my family as we foster?

We understand that support is a necessity when parenting children in care.  There are many avenues in which support is provided.  You will be supported throughout the pre-certification and placement process by your homefinder and training team.  Once a child is placed in your home, your caseworker and homefinder will work collaboratively to help link you with the most appropriate resources tailored to supporting you and the child placed in your care.  Some of these supports include trainings, counselors, mentors, psychiatrists, educational resources, etc.  You will also have 24-hour on-call support if confronted with a crisis or emergency situation.

Gateway Longview is committed to providing opportunities for ongoing training and support groups, which are held throughout the year.  There are also many additional training opportunities offered throughout the community.  Foster/Adoptive families receive newsletters, emails and are encouraged to support and mentor one another.  Respite is another support offered to our families when in need of a break to care for themselves.

Here are some resources that families we work with find helpful:

http://www.adoptuskids.org/

http://www.comeunity.com/adoption/

https://www.childwelfare.gov/

http://ocfs.ny.gov/main/

http://every-child.com/

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Frequently Asked Questions… 

What are the general requirements to become a Foster Parent?
All who are willing to open their heart and home to children are encouraged to apply. Ideal candidates for Gateway Longview’s program reflect the diversity of our community and are at least 21 years of age. You can be homeowners or renters and can be single, married, GLBT or in a relationship.

All prospective foster parents are required to go through Gateway Longview’s pre-certification training program and be willing to participate in on-going training after certification. You must have a physical exam, background checks, be financially stable, and provide references. You must have access to reliable transportation as children participate in counseling, visits and other appointments/services (which may include in-home services).

Most importantly, you will have an innate willingness to commit and unconditionally provide care to children. You will have the ability to provide a nurturing, structured and supportive environment and can learn to manage a variety of challenging behaviors – excluding any physical punishment or verbal abuse. You will be able to act in a professional manner when working with birth families, agency staff and other professionals/service providers. You will communicate effectively, openly and honestly and participate in team meetings and court when appropriate.

You will be a resource that promotes, supports and respects child or youth’s understanding of cultures and ethnic identity, traditions & practices, gender identity, sexual orientation, language, heritage and general interests.

What are the children in foster care like?
Children in foster care are like all other children in many ways. They are boys and girls, single children and siblings. They range in age from infant to 21 years of age.  Some children may have special needs and need specialized care. Children in foster care come from varied backgrounds and different family situations, but all are in foster care because, for various reasons, their caregiver (parents, relatives, etc.) was unable to care for them and/or keep them safe.

Can single people apply to be a foster parent?
Yes! We recognize that single parents can provide a safe, nurturing and enriching home for children.  Single parents make up a large number of families who open their home to children in need of care. Due to the importance of support, we ask that single parents identify supports (back up providers) who can care for the children in your absence, or illness.

Can foster parents work outside the home?
Yes! Gateway Longview certifies working parents, as well as those who stay at home. To assist families with alternate care arrangements during work hours, daycare subsidy is provided for certified and approved daycare providers. Since children in care require 24-hour supervision, foster parents are responsible for arranging approved childcare during vacations, summer months, after school, etc. Working parents must have some flexibility in their work schedule so that the foster parent is able to attend and participate in school meetings, medical appointments, etc.

Will I get to choose the age and/or sex of the child placed in my home?
As part of the application and assessment process, you will have the opportunity to identify the ages, genders and number of children that would be most appropriate in your home.

How long does it take to become a certified foster/adoptive parent?
The safety and well-being of children is of utmost importance, so the process to becoming a foster/adoptive parent does take some time.  The certification process on average takes between 3 – 6 months. The length of time varies from family to family and mostly depends on the family’s commitment to submitting the required paperwork, attending the classes and flexibility in scheduling home consultations.

Once I am certified, how long will it take for a child to be placed in my home?
The timing of placements depends on the children in need of care at any given time.  Gateway Longview works hard to make the best placement through careful matching, which involves many factors, including matching the child’s needs with your strengths, as well as age, gender, siblings, etc.  Placement can be made within a day or two of certification or it may take several months or longer. In general, families with the greatest flexibility are often presented with children sooner than families with narrow age/gender/number parameters.

Can a child in foster care attend the same school as my children?
Yes.  When children are referred for placement through Gateway Longview, we work hard to match the children with a family who resides within the same school district to avoid unnecessary changes and additional loss for the children.  If an appropriate match cannot be found within their school district the foster family will register the child in their district.

How much does it cost to become a foster/adoptive parent?
Families certified through Gateway Longview are dually certified for both foster care and adoption.  The cost for certification involves the cost for obtaining a local police report (approximately $10) and fire inspection (0-$25). There is no charge for the MAPP/GPS II preparation program, home study, certification, or placement of children in your home.

Are foster parents compensated for providing care to children?
Yes.  We know that it costs money to raise children.  Rates of compensation vary from child to child, depending on their age and level of need. The greater the child’s needs, the greater the compensation.  Payments to foster parents is considered reimbursement for expenses to meet the needs of the children and is not considered income.

If you adopt a child through foster care, most children will receive an adoption subsidy until they are 21 years old.

Is there an income requirement for foster parents?
No.  There is no income requirement per say; however, foster parents need to have sufficient income to meet their needs and the needs of their family without the assistance of the compensation received from children in care. This is verified in a number of ways, including exploring income, budgeting and monthly expenses.

Do children in care need their own bedroom?
No. Many children in foster care share their bedroom. You may have up to 3 children per bedroom, depending on the size of the room.  There are also some exceptions to this regulation if it means keeping siblings together.

Children under the age of 4 may be of opposite genders and share a bedroom, but children ages 4 and over need to be of the same gender.  Many foster parents furnish a bedroom with a bunk bed and twin bed or bunk bed and crib/toddler bed.  Also, an infant may also sleep in the bedroom of the foster parent(s).  All children in care need to have their own bed.

What are some additional roles and responsibilities I should consider?
– How will your work schedule be impacted by a placement?
– Positive support is critical! Who are two reliable support people who can assist me in this role?
– Can I be reached immediately?  Can I adjust to a child coming to my home on a moment’s notice?
– Children in care will likely visit with their birth family.  How will I support those visits? What would my plan be for getting the children to a visit?
– Our foster/adoptive parents are a vital part of the team and are asked to attend treatment team meetings and welcome visits into the home. How will I work as part of this team?
– Am I willing to advocate for the needs of the child(ren) placed in my home?

What do I do next if I want to become a Foster/Adoptive parent?
Thank you for considering taking the next step!  If you would like additional information or would like to learn more about foster care and adoption, please contact our Foster Care & Adoption Services Program at (716) 783-2909  or via email at fostercare@gateway-longview.org.

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