Dareâ€™s Foster Children
Children are in the custody of the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families (DCF-MA). Our Connecticut office serves children who are in the custody of the Connecticut Department of Children and Families (DCF-CT). Many have been removed from their families after having suffered abuse and/or neglect. Other children come to us after becoming involved with the court system by demonstrating unruly, truant or runaway behavior. Some families voluntarily request services for their children to help them resolve the childâ€™s issues outside the family home on a temporary basis.
If a child is not doing well in regular foster care provided through the state, DCF refers the child to Dare. Also, Intensive Foster Care often is a transition from or alternative to more restrictive programs, including residential treatment centers or hospitals
How old are these children, and what is their ethnicity?
The children referred to Dare in Massachusetts are between the ages of 0 and 18. The majority are teens. They are from all ethnic and economic backgrounds. The children referred to Dare in Connecticut are between the ages of 6 and 18, the majority of whom are teens. Younger children may be referred as part of a sibling group but are otherwise served by the Connecticut state system.
The average stay is between nine months and two years. In most cases, DCF and Dare work toward returning children to their parents. When this is not possible, the child may need an adoptive home. Older teens may need to be prepared for independent living.
Applying to be a Dare Foster Parent
What are the requirements to become a Dare foster parent?
Please see the "Become a Dare Foster Parent" page for specifics on availability, transportation, age, education and more.
How do I become a Dare foster parent?
Please see the How Do You Become a Foster Parent? section for a step-by-step guide.
Many years ago I had a criminal record for a motor vehicle violation, can I still apply?
Yes. As part of the foster parent application process, you will undergo a background check. This check looks at both criminal history and any past involvement with DCF. Sometimes the results of the check require Dare to submit a waiver to DCF. DCF has ultimate approval to allow an applicant to become a Dare foster parent.
Being a Dare Foster Parent
What type of support will I receive as a Dare foster parent?
Foster parents benefit from:
- Monthly group supervision, with a team of six to ten foster parents, by a Dare social worker. The Western Region, MA and Connecticut Dare offices provide weekly team meetings and monthly large group trainings to all foster parents.
- Weekly visits from the social worker to the foster home. He or she provides individual support to both the foster child and foster parent.
- Regular meetings with the childâ€™s treatment team. This team consists of the foster parent, Dare social worker, therapist and other significant professionals in the childâ€™s life.
- Monthly training on a variety of topics pertaining to the care of the child. Massachusetts state regulations require foster parents to receive twenty hours of training each year. Connecticut state regulations require foster parents to receive 28 hours of yearly training and eight hours of training for spouse/partners.
- Round-the-clock emergency support.
What about medical, dental and other expenses?
As a foster parent in Massachusetts Dare offices you will receive $50.00 (tax free) a day for taking a child into your home. Foster children receive the following benefits:
- Quarterly clothing allowances, as follows: age 13 and up: $282.00; age 6 to 12: $188.75; and 0 to 5: $185.00.
- Full medical and dental coverage under MassHealth.
- Birthday and holiday money, with checks going to the foster parent.
As a Dare foster parent in the Connecticut Dare office you will receive $55 (tax free) daily stipend from which you are expected to spend $150 per quarter for the child's clothing. Your foster child will receive full medical and dental coverage through Title 19 in Connecticut. Your foster child also receive a birthday check of $51 and a Holiday check of $102 annually.
How are decisions made regarding placement of a child in my home?
Dare foster parents have the opportunity to express preferences regarding the age, gender and behavior of foster children. You and your social worker will decide which child will benefit from placement in your home.
What impact can I have on a childâ€™s life?
Foster parents provide for children who desperately need stability and compassion. You can help children begin to heal from trauma and transition into healthy, functioning adults. Although it is a demanding job, foster parenting can be extremely rewarding.
Is there any contact with the childâ€™s biological parents?
As part of their treatment plan, most children see their biological families. Dare foster parents are not required to have contact with biological families. In some cases, however, foster parents may work to help reunite a family. Especially in reunification cases, some contact is likely but Dare will guide and support you regarding the particular approach that makes the most sense. We will not expect you to supervise or host family members unless otherwise indicated. We recognize that biological families need support as well.