Frequently Asked Questions

This varies depending on the needs of the child and the circumstances of his or her placement. Some children return home after only a few months; others may require placement for more than a year. Sometimes, children who cannot go home become eligible for adoption. Others remain in foster care until age 21.
Yes. However, you should be aware that there are many children in need of out-of-home care, and through experience and training, you may find that you are most effective in caring for a specific age group or a range of ages. Currently, the greatest need is for families to foster children and youth between the ages of 14-18 and siblings.
Yes. You will be able to specify the age and gender of the child or youth. There is never an obligation to take a child. Elmcrest TFC and Onondaga County do their best to match foster children with a foster family who can best meet their needs. We have the benefit of utilizing our Family Support Center to provide foster parents and children a safe place to meet each other with no pressure or commitment.
We always try to arrange pre-placement visits so you can meet ahead of time. In some cases, however, a child's need for a foster home is urgent, and you will not be able to meet your foster child before he or she is placed in your care.
Yes. Monthly board payments are made to certified foster parents to reimburse the cost of caring for a child. Board payments are to help meet the daily needs of the child: shelter, food, clothing, allowance, and incidental expenses. Board payments are determined by the child's age and needs. The child's health and dental expenses are covered by Medicaid.
Children of the same sex are permitted to share bedrooms provided that the foster child has space for personal belongings and opportunities for privacy. However, children are not allowed to share the same bed. The bedroom designated for the foster child must have a door for privacy, a window to allow for ventilation, and a second means of escape in case of emergency.
Yes. The Onondaga County Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) and Elmcrest TFC are comprised of a team of persons working together to do what is in the best interest of children. Foster parents are critical members of that team. The goal for a child placed in DCFS custody is to achieve safety and permanency as soon as possible, which includes working with the child's biological family toward reunification.
In an effort to prevent foster parents and families from getting overwhelmed, we provide respite care, both on a regular schedule and on an emergency basis. We recognize that sometimes placements do not work out despite everyone's best efforts. If the situation becomes unworkable, we will work as quickly as possible to find an alternate placement.
Yes. Sometimes, for various reasons, children are unable to return home and may have a court-ordered goal of adoption. Foster families are always given adoption consideration when a child in their home needs a permanent family.