Foster Care, Kinship Care
Nearly 1,000 children in Erie County 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.
At Gateway Longview we offer comprehensive Foster Care & Adoption Services to support families 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. Read below for all the steps on becoming a Foster Family
Kinship Care is a court appointed program. Gateway Longview caseworkers offer you resources, education, and support in your homes when you, as a grandparent or other relative, cares for your kin full-time. Families must be referred to services via Erie County. Call 716.783.3100 ext. 3184 to learn more.
Office of Children and Family Services Notification:
Did you age out of foster care during the pandemic? Foster care re-entry is now available.
If you turned 21 and were transitioned out of the foster care system between 12/27/20 through 4/20/21, you may be able to re-enter and receive the benefits of being in foster care until 9/30/21! Reach out to your previous caseworker or social worker for more information!
Children in foster care are waiting for their special champion
Steps To Becoming A Foster Or Adoptive Family
Becoming a foster/adoptive parent with Gateway Longview involves several steps, each of which build upon the previous step. Follow along with this handy brochure!
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.
We are currently conducting our monthly orientation sessions virtually to ensure health and safety standards are being followed. Once an interested party reaches out, Gateway Longview will provide a link for the virtual orientations. In addition, our MAPP training program has been moved to a virtual platform.
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 educate 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.
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 your 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:
Foster Care Stories
Visit our news page to read stories of fostering through the words of Gateway Longview's own foster parents. Find out what the biggest challenges were and what they have to say about the experience of becoming a foster family.
Approach To Care
At Gateway Longview, we believe that a solution-focused, trauma-informed care approach has the ability to strengthen the knowledge, competencies, skill sets, and engagement as we work with individuals impacted by trauma. We ensure that all services are client driven with access to early screening and comprehensive assessments.