UPFS believes every child is entitled to grow up in a permanent family. It is our goal to reunite children with their biological families whenever possible, or to identify a permanent home if this cannot be accomplished. Until either can be accomplished, loving, stable foster homes are needed to provide a safe environment for the children.
What is Foster Care?
Foster care is the temporary placement of children in a safe and nurturing family environment. Children are placed into foster care after a government agency (State of Michigan Department of Human Services and the Court) determines their home environment is unsafe. Children come into foster care for a number of reasons including physical abuse, sexual abuse, or neglect due to substance abuse, mental illness, incarceration of a parent or parents, or some other family crisis.
When a Child Enters Foster Care:
When a child is placed in foster care through UPFS, the agency works with the biological family to reduce barriers in order for the child to safely return home. This is done by coordinating programs and services to strengthen the family unit within the given time frames determined by the State of Michigan DHS Policy. If the biological family is unable to reduce the barriers that led to the removal and it is determined a child cannot be safely returned home, UPFS seeks an alternative permanent placement for the child, either through adoption or another permanent planned living arrangement. One of the goals of the foster care system in Michigan is “concurrent planning” which means seeking a foster home placement that could possibly become a permanent home for the child if reunification cannot be achieved.
Licensed foster parents receive a daily reimbursement to offset the cost of caring for a foster child, i.e. board, clothing and incidental expenses. All of the child’s medical and dental expenses are covered through Medicaid.
UPFS recruits and trains families or individuals from communities across the Upper Peninsula of Michigan for the purpose of providing foster care homes. Families recruited come from varied backgrounds. Some are related to the children removed from their biological home and some are unrelated but have a strong desire to help children in need.
Questions you may ask yourself to determine if foster parenting is right for you:
- Do you have a happy, stable life?
- Are the other members of your household (when applicable) willing and/or able to accept the responsibility and changes that will come with fostering?
- Can you care for a child who has come from a chaotic background?
- Do you like children and enjoy having them around 24/7?
- Are you mature and secure enough to realize that some children may have difficulty adjusting to your way of life?
- Could you accept the fact that a child placed in your home may eventually return to their own home or be placed elsewhere?
- Are you willing and able to make adjustments in your life and home to meet the needs of a child placed in your care?
- Can you accept and nurture a child who may display challenging behaviors or try to push you away?
- Can you maintain a positive attitude toward a child’s parents even though you may feel many of the problems the child experiences are a direct result of the parent’s actions?
- Are you willing to take a child to counseling sessions, doctor appointments, or other appointments and extra-curricular activities, just as you would your own child?
- Are you willing to accept advice and assistance from a social worker and other service providers in a team effort to meet the needs of a child?
If you answered YES to all or most of these questions, please consider becoming a licensed foster parent. For more information on becoming a foster parent, please refer to the “Licensing” page.