Foster Parent Handbook







AGE:  Applicants must be at least 21 years of age.  They must have the maturity and patience to work with children that present a wide range of behaviors.  

NUMBER OF CHILDREN PLACED:  Regular and Special Needs foster parents may care for no more than eight (8) children in the home including foster children and biological children.  Therapeutic (Treatment) foster parents may not have more than two (2) therapeutic needs children in the home.  The only exceptions are siblings with approval from the custodial agency and Children’s Sanctuary.  

HEALTH:  Applicants must provide Children’s Sanctuary with medical statements for all members of the household prior to licensing (certification) and re-licensing (re-certification).  All household members must be in good mental and physical health and free from communicable diseases or other illness that could interfere with the family’s ability to care for a child.  Required medical forms must be signed by a physician, and dated no more than 6 months prior to the certification date.  

DISABILITIES: A physical disability of any household member, which does not impair the family’s ability to provide adequate care for a child, will not prevent the family from fostering.  If a household member has received mental health services, he or she may be asked to sign a release of information in order to obtain additional information or an evaluation relating to the current mental health status of the household member.  

HOUSEHOLD FINANCES:  Applicants cannot be approved if their only source of income will be reimbursement for the provision of foster care services.  Applicants must have income sufficient to meet the needs of their family. All applicants must complete a financial statement and provide proof of income.  

CHILD CARE:  If foster parents work outside the home, there must be an approved plan for childcare and support systems. A childcare provider or babysitter for a foster child must be approved by Children’s Sanctuary, Inc. and the custodial agency.  Overnight care of a foster child must be with a licensed/certified foster parent.  

DAYCARE OR ADULT CARE IN A FOSTER HOME: Foster parents are not to operate a Day Care Center or a Care Center for unrelated adults in the foster home.  


COMMUNITY AND NEIGHBORHOOD: Foster homes must be located in an area that has reasonable access to schools, churches, recreation activities and other community resources.  Foster homes should not be in high crime areas or areas unsafe for children.  

THE FOSTER HOME: The foster home must have adequate space to accommodate all household members.  The physical setting of the foster home must be safe for children at all times.  

No more than four children (foster or biological) may share a bedroom. Each child must have 50 square feet of living space.  Each child is to have his/her own bed, linens and storage space. Beds must be of an adequate size, permanent (no cots, hide-a-beds, etc) and serve no other function within the home. Bedrooms must have heat and ventilation equal to other areas of the home.  

Foster children under the age of two (or under 35 inches in height) must be provided with a full-sized crib that meets the requirements of the Consumer Product Safety Commission.  

To insure the safety of the children placed in the home, foster parents must lock/secure all poisonous substances, cleaning materials, medications, alcoholic beverages and weapons. All weapons are to be in a separate locked cabinet or case with access available only to the foster parents.  Ammunition or other projectiles are to be stored separately from the weapon in a locked receptacle.  

Household pets must present no potential danger to children. Proof of immunization is required.  All areas outside the foster home must be maintained in a safe manner.  

All foster homes must have a working telephone.  The home must be equipped with adequate first aid supplies, and emergency numbers (including but not limited to police, fire, ambulance, poison control and Children’s Sanctuary) must be posted for immediate access.  All foster homes must have fire extinguishers located on each floor of the home, and working smoke alarms on each floor and within 10 feet of the bedroom of each foster child. The foster family must have a posted evacuation chart for each floor of the home, including a safe place outside the home where all family members are to meet.  The plan must be demonstrated and explained to each foster child.  

HOME VISITS AND INSPECTIONS: A Children’s Sanctuary, Inc. foster care social worker (FCSW) will maintain weekly phone contact with each foster home.  The FCSW will visit the home every two (2) weeks and conduct a home safety inspection once a month. The Treatment Director or his or her designee will provide quarterly supervisory visits to monitor the overall safety and quality of the foster home.

MARRIAGE AND FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS:  Children’s Sanctuary will require that all couples provide a copy of their current marriage license in addition to copies of any previous divorce decrees or verifications of the death of any previous spouse. Applicants who have minor children not in their custody must provide a copy of the visitation order.  

Single persons may also be a foster parent.  Any other adult living in the household who may care for the child in any way should meet all requirements of a foster parent, including orientation and pre-service training.  If a single foster parent marries, the new spouse must meet all the same requirements and will be approved as a foster parent within 90 days of the marriage.  

REFERENCES: All applicants shall provide the name of four personal references that will be contacted prior to the home being certified.  

CRIMINAL RECORDS CHECKS: For initial certification and re-certification, foster care applicants and other members of the household, age 14 and older, must undergo a criminal records check, including a finger print check.  Applicants and other household members may not be convicted felons or convicted of any crime concerning the welfare of a child.  A criminal history check will also be conducted annually on all adult household members.

In addition, all adult members of the household must consent to a Child Abuse/Neglect Registry check.   Household members may not have substantiated abuse or neglect complaints listed on the registry.



Daily Living:  Foster parents shall provide structure and daily activities that provide for the physical, social, educational, spiritual and emotional development of children placed with them.  

Foster parents assist children in developing skills that will help them to become more independent.  

Foster parents will not ask children to assume household chores that are not reasonable for their age or functional ability, or require chores that exceed what is expected of other children in the home.  

Food and Nutrition:  Foster parents will provide well-balanced meals and snacks of the same quality and portions that are provided to other family members.  Foster children are not to be separated from the family during meals and must be served the same food as other members of the family.  Foster parents must provide for any special dietary needs of children placed in their home.

Clothing and Personal Belongings:  Foster parents will provide each child with their own clothing that is seasonal, well-fitting, appropriate, and comparable to family and community standards.  Foster parents should include the child in the choice of new clothing.  

Foster parents will allow children to bring in and obtain personal belongings, and insure that all these items remain with the child when they leave the home.  

Supervision:  Foster parents are responsible for providing the appropriate supervision for the children placed in their home.  Both the treatment team and the custodial agency will provide direction during treatment planning.  

Medical and Dental Care:  Foster parents shall cooperate with Children’s Sanctuary to insure that each child receives all necessary routine and non-routine medical treatment. A child’s case manager will discuss with the foster parent any medical appointments that are immediately needed, and the foster parent will insure the appointments are made and kept.  

Children must have a physical exam, a vision exam and dental check-up every year.  Foster parents will be responsible for scheduling and transporting children to these appointments.

In the event a child needs non-routine (emergency) treatment, the foster parent will immediately notify the case manager and transport the child for services. In the event of any hospitalization or surgical procedure, the approval must be obtained from the custodial agency.  

Medication (see Medication Protocol):  Foster parents may give prescription medications only when authorized by a physician.  Foster parents must only dispense the prescribed amount.  Foster parents may not discontinue any prescribed medications without a physician’s approval.  The administration of any medication must be documented on the Medication Log and maintained in the child’s case record.  A medication administration course is required annually for all foster parents.  

Non-prescription medication may be administered only in accordance with the child’s presenting problems, and only after consultation with a physician or pharmacist.  The administration of non-prescription medication will also be documented on the appropriate log in the child’s case record.  

All medications that are discontinued must be immediately destroyed in accordance with local rules and noted on the Medication Log, indicating the date and quantity destroyed.  

Confidentiality:  The foster parent must treat all personal information about a foster child as confidential. Information will not be disclosed without a signed release of information and authorization from the custodial agency.

Per Diem: Foster parents receive a per diem (daily rate) for each child placed in their care.  The per diem is for the care needs of the child including, but not limited to, room and board, clothing, toys, athletic equipment, school supplies, transportation and other incidentals.

Allowances:  One dollar of the per diem is for the child’s allowance as follows:
Birth to age 5 Foster Parent determines Foster Parent determines
6 and older $1.00 7.00

Additional allowance may be given at the discretion of the foster parent.  

A child’s allowance is for his/her personal use and foster parents should not make demands for it to be spent in a particular way.  Allowance money is not to be spent on necessary items for the child’s daily care.  A child’s allowance may not be taken or withheld as a means of coercion or punishment.  Foster parents should encourage foster children to establish a savings plan for any allowance or income they receive.  

Keep a record of allowance disbursements and submit each month to the case manager.  

Religion and Ethnic Heritage  

Foster parents must acknowledge, support and encourage all religious and ethnic beliefs of a foster child.  Foster parents must provide foster children with the opportunity to practice their beliefs even if they are different from the family.  Foster parents should provide transportation to worship activities requested by the child.  Foster parents must also incorporate and document at least one cultural activity per month.  

Foster parents cannot coerce children to participate in any religious or ethnic activity that is not of their choosing.  


Foster parents will enroll a foster child in school as soon as possible after placement in the home.  

Foster parents will cooperate with Children’s Sanctuary and the custodial agency in providing for educational needs that are most appropriate for the child.  

Foster parents shall take an active role in the child’s education to include attendance at all school conferences and required meetings with school personnel.  


Foster parents will provide all foster children with opportunities to participate in appropriate recreational activities in a manner that reflects any other child residing in that home or community. 

Foster Parent’s responsibilities to the child’s family:  

Foster parents should refrain from providing negative feedback to a child about his/her own family.  

Foster parents are not expected to take the place of a child’s own family, only to provide support during the time the child is placed outside his/her biological home.  

Foster parents will be respectful of the child’s own family and work with them as indicated in the child’s treatment plan.  

Foster parents will help a child to communicate and visit with their family as outlined in the child’s treatment plan.


Foster parents will accept children for placement in their home that are mutually agreeable to all parties involved in the placement, i.e., Children’s Sanctuary, custodial agency, foster parents.  

Foster parents will cooperate with the ongoing supervision of the home, and will provide all information as requested by Children’s Sanctuary.  

Foster parents will participate in 20 hours of annual training and cooperate in the annual evaluation of the foster home.  Foster parents must keep all certifications current, including First Aid and CPR.  

Foster parents will be a part of the child’s treatment team and participate in the planning meetings.  

Foster parents will notify Children’s Sanctuary of any changes in the household that may affect the foster children placed there, such as a change of address, family illness, change in the number of persons residing in the home, or other significant event.  

Foster parents must document all incidents that occur during the care of a child, and immediately notify Children’s Sanctuary of any “critical incidents” as outlined in our policy.   A list of Critical Incidents is provided on the back page of the Children’s Sanctuary Incident Report form (see Appendix).  

Foster parents will complete all required documentation and maintain a client file in the foster home, which will be secured in order to protect confidentiality.

Foster parents must have prior permission from Children’s Sanctuary and the custodial agency for a foster child to have an overnight visit with family or friends.

Foster parents must have prior permission to transport a foster child across state lines.

Foster parents must agree to surrender the child to Children’s Sanctuary staff or the custodial agency at any time upon request.


To receive supervision and support in providing for the needs of the foster children placed in the home.  

To be reimbursed for the care of the child as outlined in the foster care contract.  

To receive all known information relating to a child who is being placed in the foster home.  This information is generally presented on a Children’s Sanctuary Safety Service Plan. All information known to Children’s Sanctuary will be given to foster parents at the time of placement, and it will be updated throughout the placement if any new information is received.  

To be provided the opportunity to receive training that will assist them in meeting the needs of children placed in the home.  

To be a member of the child’s treatment team to assist them in achieving goals.  

To be afforded a formal grievance procedure as an avenue to settle any conflict that may arise between the foster parent and Children’s Sanctuary.  

Children’s Sanctuary foster parents have the right to file a grievance. The decision to file a grievance, in and of itself, will never be grounds for the revocation of certification, denial of certification, or negative consideration of a foster parent applicant.  However, failure to follow the steps below in a timely manner may be grounds for invalidation of the grievance at any point in the grievance process.  Steps to file a grievance are:  

Ø      Contact the Treatment Director with a written request for a meeting.  

Ø The Treatment Director will meet with foster parent within 72 hours after the receipt of a written request.  The Treatment Director will conduct any investigation and provide a written report to the Executive Director and foster parent within 5 working days of the original meeting.  

Ø    If the parent is not satisfied with results of the meeting with the Treatment Director, a formal grievance must be submitted to the Executive director within 14 days of the meeting.  

Ø The Executive Director will meet conduct a fact-finding investigation. Written reports of the results will be made available to the parents (copies sent to the Treatment Director).  

Ø  If the parents are still not satisfied, the foster parent may file a complaint with the Children’s Sanctuary, Inc. Board of Directors.  The President of the Board will assign a committee to review the complaint and make a decision.  The decision of the Board of Directors is final.   



Annual Evaluation of a Foster Home  

Each foster home will be evaluated on an annual basis to insure that the home continues to meet Children’s Sanctuary requirements.  This evaluation will include an updated home study assessment or Annual Review, in-home interviews with all household members, validation of annual training hours, and the provision of specific documentation related to re-certification.  

The Home Resource Coordinator will assist you with the re-certification process.  Foster parents should regularly check on the requirements and their re-certification status throughout the year.  

Client Advocacy  

Foster parents are expected to be an advocate for the children in their care.  Foster parents should notify Children’s Sanctuary of any significant concerns expressed by a child.  In addition, all foster children will be made aware of their right to register complaints at the time of their admission.  

Ø      Children may voice their complaint to foster parents or any Children’s Sanctuary staff person.  

Ø      Complaints may be in verbal or written form.  

Ø   The Treatment Director is the child’s advocate and will investigate the complaint within 48 hours. The results of the investigation will be explained to the child in a manner that he/she will understand.  If there is any course of action that must be taken as a result of the investigation, a written plan will be provided to all parties, including the child's family.  

Ø     Complaints that contain abuse/neglect issues will be reported immediately to the statutory authorities for investigation.  

Discipline of Foster Children  

Discipline is an educational process wherein children are assisted in the development of self-control. Many children in foster care have been physically or sexually abused, neglected, or exploited.  Foster parents should discipline with kindness and understanding. Foster parents should establish well-defined rules that set expectations and limits for behavior and provide praise and encouragement.  Foster parents will not subject children to any type of verbal abuse, including derogatory remarks about the children or their family members.  Children should not be threatened by removal from the home.  

Foster parents cannot use any of the following to discipline children:  

Ø      Cruel, severe, bizarre or humiliating actions.  

Ø      Any type of corporal (physical) punishment.  

Ø      Denial of food, clothing or shelter.  

Ø      Denial of visits or other contact with family members.  

Ø      Strenuous exercise or physical labor.  

Foster parents will not punish a child for wetting the bed or wetting/soiling his or her clothes.  There may be physical or psychological reasons for this behavior.  

Foster parents must not allow another child (foster child or biological child) to discipline or punish children placed in their home.

Important: Financial, sexual, or physical exploitation of a foster child, humiliation and retaliation are a violation of the child’s rights and will lead to removal of the child from the foster home and a report of abuse and neglect to the custodial agency and possibly law enforcement. 

If a foster parent engages in any type of prohibited discipline, the foster home license may be revoked.  

Closure of a Foster Home  

A foster parent may close his or her license voluntarily by notifying Children’s Sanctuary in writing at least 30 days prior to closing.  If a foster family wishes to become a foster parent with another foster care agency, Children’s Sanctuary will arrange with the other agency to close the foster home license on the date the other agency opens the license.  Foster parents must furnish Children’s Sanctuary with a signed release before Children’s Sanctuary will release any information about the foster parent including the foster parent’s file to the other agency.  

A foster home will be closed immediately if any of the following occur:  

Ø      Substantiated sexual abuse or sexual exploitation by a foster parent.  

Ø      Substantiated physical abuse of a child or spouse.  

Ø      Serious physical or mental illness that would impair the foster parent’s ability to effectively care for the child placed in their home.  

Ø      Conviction of a felony offense by a foster parent or household member.  

Ø      Violation of any state regulation or Children’s Sanctuary policy that the agency believes would create any safety or treatment issue related to a child placed in the foster parent’s home.  

Note:  In the event there is an allegation of abuse or neglect in the foster home, our policy dictates that all foster children would be removed from the home pending the outcome of the third-party investigation. However, there may be times when the custodial agency or investigating entity will provide approval for the children to remain in the home. In the event an allegation is substantiated, the home would be closed immediately.  

When a foster home is involuntarily closed, the Treatment Director will prepare a written statement to the foster parent outlining all reasons the home is being closed, which will include, at a minimum, the following: 1) notice that Children’s Sanctuary will no longer place children in the home; 2) notice that the contract is being terminated; 3) specific reasons for the decision to close the home; and 4) a notice of the parent’s right to appeal the decision and the steps to the process.  This statement will be sent via registered mail within 10 days of the closing date of the home. A copy of the statement will be maintained in the foster home file and a copy will be forwarded to the custodial agency.  


Foster parents must participate in a support group meeting at least six or more times each year.  Support groups are facilitated by Children’s Sanctuary staff and will include training and guest speakers.  The foster parent will receive one to two hours of training credit for participation.



Foster parents and CSI staff must comply with the following rules and guidelines at all times.

1. ABUSE AND NEGLECT PROTOCOL: All foster parents will be trained in the State Abuse/Neglect Protocol and the reporting of critical incidents.  You must report any incidents or allegations of neglect, abuse, serious injury, serious illness, or death of a child immediately to the local authorities, the local Child Protection Hotline, and the Children's Sanctuary office or on-call case manager. 

Important: Financial, sexual, or physical exploitation of a foster child, humiliation and retaliation are a violation of the child’s rights and will lead to removal of the child from the foster home and a report of abuse and neglect to the custodial agency and possibly law enforcement.

2. ALCOHOL/TOBACCO: It is illegal for children to possess or use alcohol or tobacco products.  Foster parents will not allow a foster child to use alcohol or tobacco.  Foster parents will not provide a foster child alcohol or tobacco.
3. ALLOWANCES: Foster parents will provide an allowance for each child over age six.  The allowance will be paid from the foster parent's per diem.  Allowances are not to be based on a child’s behavior or willingness or ability to complete assigned chores.  With approval from the CSI case manager and public agency worker, a youth’s allowance may be withheld to pay for damages purposefully inflicted by the youth on another’s person or property to the extent of the damage.  A foster parent may require a child to bank at least 50% of the allowance.   With approval from the child's case manager or county worker, the foster parent may require a child to bank all of his allowance if the foster parent believes the child will use his allowance to purchase alcohol, tobacco products, or drugs.  Even children who have after school or summer jobs will received at least the minimum daily allowance.  Foster children will receive a minimum allowance of $1 per day or $7.00 per week.  A foster may choose to give the child a larger allowance, but the following minimum applies:  Youth age six and older: $1.00 per day or $7.00 per week.  The foster parent may determine the allowance for a child under age six. 

Important: When a child is in respite, the respite parent must give the child his or her allowance for each night the child is in the respite home.


CHILDREN'S SANCTUARY CASE MANAGER VISITS: The Children’s Sanctuary case manager will visit your home at least every two weeks and contact you via telephone once each week.  The Children’s Sanctuary case manager will visit your foster child away from the foster home, at least once a month.  Foster parents should report any problems with the child to the Children’s Sanctuary case manager.  A CSI case manager and supervisor are on-call 24 hours a day 7 days a week for emergencies. Report all problems affecting the child’s life as soon as possible.  Examples:

  • Problems at school, i.e., detention, suspensions expulsion, any problems where a child needs help.

  • Behavior problems at home or school, i.e., stealing, destroying property, violence towards self or others.

  • Unusual, bizarre behavior, or comments, i.e., hoarding food, hearing voices, inappropriate comments or gestures.

  • Serious incidents, i.e., violence, sexual acting out or assault, injury, hospitalization, or physical intervention. (Report immediately. Same as protocol for reporting abuse and neglect above.)

  • Changes in medical or mental health services and problems with providers.  


CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates), (GAL) Guardian Ad Litem), PUBLIC CUSTODIAL AGENCY WORKER or other agent appointed by the public custodial agency or court may visit the foster home, respite home, or any place housing or caring for the child, including a baby sitter’s home at anytime unannounced. They have the right to interview the child (children) and inspect every area of the home where the child lives or has access. 

Important: Foster parents are to be polite, courteous and accommodating to the custodial agency worker, CASA or GAL at all times.  Failure to cooperate with the custodial agency worker, CASA, or GAL may result in the removal of the foster child (children) from your care and endanger your foster care license or certification.
6. DAILY CARE: Foster parents provide supervision, structure, and age appropriate activities.  They inform the case manager each week of the child’s successes, failures, problems, and progress.  Foster parents may be required to keep a daily behavioral sheet and provide monthly written progress reports.
7. CLOTHING: The public placing agency or Children’s Sanctuary may provide a clothing voucher for a new placement. The voucher is for clothing, only.  If a voucher is used for anything other than clothing, the foster parent will have to reimburse the public placing agency or Children’s Sanctuary.

The foster family is responsible for providing clothing for a child during placement.  Buy your foster child clothes regularly.   This eliminates large expenditures and allows you to take advantage of sales.  Children's Sanctuary, Inc. requires you to spend $50 per month or $600 per year on new clothing for your foster child.  Please keep receipts as this may be audited by CSI or your state worker. 

8. DAYCARE CENTERS: Children's Sanctuary will not certify or license a foster home if the foster home is being used as a day care center.  If Children's Sanctuary determines that a foster parent is providing day care services in the foster home, the foster parent will be asked to discontinue the day care services immediately.  If the foster parent refuses, all foster children will be removed from the home and Children's Sanctuary will ask the state to close the foster home license.  

DISCIPLINE: Foster parents must establish clear rules, expectations and behavioral limits including logical and natural consequences for negative behavior.  In disciplining a child, follow these guidelines:  

  • Match the discipline to the behavior.

  • Discipline a child only when it is necessary and be consistent.  Do not impose discipline randomly.

  • Before imposing discipline consider what need the child is expressing by his or her behavior.



  • Corporal punishment.

  • Verbal abuse of any kind.

  • Denial or limiting of food, sleep, shelter, phone contact or visits with family, case manager, or caseworker.

  • Assignments of extreme physical exercise or work.

  • Forcing a child to assume painful or uncomfortable positions.

  • Excessive periods of grounding or isolation.

  • Confinement to a locked room or bed.

  • Mechanical restraints, i.e., handcuffs, restraint jackets, tape or rope.

  • Washing a child’s mouth out with soap.

Important: Financial, sexual, or physical exploitation of a foster child, humiliation and retaliation are a violation of the child’s rights and will lead to removal of the child from the foster home and a report of abuse and neglect to the custodial agency and possibly law enforcement.

11. INCIDENT REPORTS: Foster parents must complete an incident report if the foster child experiences any serious problems or presents any serious behavioral problems in the home, school, or public setting.  Your case manager will supply you with an incident report form.
12. INCLEMENT WEATHER: Dress your foster child properly for the weather.  If it is raining, the child should have a raincoat, umbrella, or the foster parent should transport the child to the bus stop or school.  Do not allow a child to walk or stand in the rain for any long period of time.  If weather is cold or snowing, the child needs to be dressed warmly.
13. INJURY OR HOSPITALIZATION: If the child is injured at home or school, involved in an accident, or hospitalized, you must report this to Children’s Sanctuary immediately.  The Children’s Sanctuary case manager will report the incident to the public placing agency.  Please complete an incident report as soon as possible and submit it to your Children’s Sanctuary case manager.
14. INDEPENDENT LIVING: Foster parents will provide independent living skills training to foster children 12 and older, i.e., cooking, cleaning, employment, managing a budget, social activities.  Foster Parents should keep a log of independent living activities.  Youth 14 and older will be assessed using the Ansell Casey Life Skills Assessment tool.  They will receive life skills training in the foster homes and at the Children's Sanctuary offices as indicated.
15. LOG: Foster parents should keep a daily log of interactions with the foster child.  Include behaviors, successes and failures, and independent living training when indicated.  Your case manager will give you the format for the log.  The log must be turned into your case manager every two weeks.
16. MEDICAL AND DENTAL RECORDS: Keep medical, immunization and dental records current.   The foster parent must obtain a physical, dental, and eye exam for the foster child within 21 days of placement and annually thereafter.
17. MEALS: Foster parents will ensure that each foster child receives three balanced, nutritious meals daily including special diets when required by a physician.  The foster child is included in all family meals.  He or she is not to be excluded or fed separately from the foster family and must receive the same food as the foster family.
18. OTHER ADULTS IN THE FOSTER HOME:  All adult relatives residing in a foster home including the foster parent’s adult children must undergo a complete background, criminal history, and fingerprint check.  If an adult relative moves into the foster home, the foster parent must contact the CSI case manager immediately.  Failure to do so may result in the removal of all foster children from the home and revocation of the foster parent’s license or certification.

PER DIEM:  The foster parent will receive a per diem (per day) rate for each foster child in his or her care.  The foster parent’s per diem rate is based on the care and treatment needs of the child as determined by Children’s Sanctuary.  One dollar per day of the per diem is designated for the child’s allowance (see allowances above).  If a foster parent feels that a higher per diem is needed to provide for the care of the child, he or she is to contact the CSI case manager.  The CSI case manager will review the request and submit the request with supporting documentation to the CSI Director of Financial Operations.  The DFO will review the information and determine if a higher per diem is justified.

Important: Foster parents are not to contact the custodial agency or the court to request a higher per diem rate.

20. PLACEMENTS FROM OTHER AGENCIES: All placements must go through Children’s Sanctuary, Inc. CSI foster parents are not to accept direct placements from other placing agencies including the County Department of Child Services. If a county calls you about a placement, please refer them to your regional Children’s Sanctuary office.
21. REQUEST TO REMOVE A CHILD FROM THE FOSTER HOME:  Children’s Sanctuary foster parents are expected to give Children’s Sanctuary, Inc. 30 days notice when they want a child removed from their home.   The only exceptions are family emergencies or if the child or foster family would be at risk of serious injury if the child remained n the home.

RESPITE: Each foster parent will have an alternative care plan for their foster child in case of emergencies.  CSI recommends foster parents take four days respite each month.  Emergency respite is available 24 hours, 7 days a week.  Call the on-call CSI case manager after hours and on weekends. Only licensed foster parents may provide overnight respite.  The CSI case manager and the custodial agency worker must approve any overnight respite.   The primary foster parent is not paid for a child while the child is in respite with another foster parent.

Give the respite parent all essential information about the child, including a copy of the Safety- Service Plan, dietary needs, medication (for extent of respite only), Medicaid card/ Number, name of child’s doctor and dentist, behaviors to expect and if, when, and with whom the child has visits.  Include place of visit, length, and if supervised or unsupervised.  The Respite parent will continue to give the child an allowance while the child is in respite.

Important: The CSI case manager and custodial agency caseworker must know where your foster child is at all times.  Do not place a child in respite without contacting your CSI case manager.  The CSI case manager will contact the county custodial agency worker for approval for the respite. 

SAFETY: Do not allow children to walk or play in “unsafe” areas, i.e., walking to and from work during late hours.  The foster parent is responsible for seeing that the child has safe transportation.  When you accept custody of a child you promise to provide a nurturing and safe environment.  Please adhere to the following safety precautions:

  • Keep all hazardous chemicals securely locked in a cabinet or shed, especially flammables, i.e., gasoline, lighter fluid, paint thinner, charcoal starter, oil, matches, cigarette lighters, insecticides, weed killer.

  • Keep all poisons, insecticides, herbicides, etc. securely locked in a cabinet or shed.

  • Keep all household cleaning chemicals, i.e., bleach, ammonia, etc. out of reach of foster children.

  • Keep all medication in a securely locked cabinet (see Medication Protocol below).

  • Keep guns, knives, bows, etc. in a securely locked cabinet in your personal area of the house i.e., your bedroom or other area inaccessible to a foster child.  Keep weapons and ammunition locked in separate locations from each other (see weapons).

  • Keep any item that could be used to harm oneself or another away from foster children when not being used for the purpose for which it was made, i.e., kitchen knives, hammers, screwdrivers, hatchets, axes, shovels, hoes, exacto knives, box cutters, cue sticks, pool balls, baseball bats, baseballs and softballs, hockey sticks, etc.

  • Have your foster child wear a safety helmet and protective clothing when riding a bicycle, scooter, or skateboard.

  • Do not allow a foster child to operate any motorized equipment, including automobile, motorcycle, riding lawnmower, or motorized terrain vehicles of any sort, without written permission from the public agency caseworker, parent, and Children’s Sanctuary, Inc.

24. SCHOOL: Foster parents will ensure that foster children attend school daily.  If a child is ill or must miss school, i.e., for a counseling appointment, the foster parent will notify the school immediately.

School conferences:  Foster parents are expected to attend school conferences, to follow up on teachers’ notes, and see that the child complies with detentions.  Foster parents will provide transportation when necessary.  Fees for books, sports equipment, and school functions are the responsibility of the foster parents.

Important: Foster parents must have a designated emergency person available to get a child from school if the child is sick or hurt or suspended when the foster parent is unavailable.  The foster parent must designate a person who can care for the child until the foster parent is available.  Your case manager will give you a form to complete and return to Children's Sanctuary identifying your designated caregiver to contact in your absence.


SOCIAL, CULTURAL, EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES:  Children in foster care have the right to participate in age appropriate social and extracurricular activities, i.e., school sports and activities, church sports and activities, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, camps, band, Prom, dating, soccer.  The foster parent is responsible for assuring that the child is safe and protected when participating in activities outside the home.

In special cases overnight visits with friends may be allowed if certain conditions are met:

  • The foster parent knows the friend’s parents and approve of the visit.
  • The friend’s parents are willing, able, and capable of providing supervision of the children during the visit.
  • The visit is not an overnight visit between youth who are romantically involved, i.e., boyfriends or girlfriends.
  • The foster child does not have a medical or psychological condition that would place him or her, the friend, or the friend’s family at risk.
  • The foster parent has written approval from the Children’s Sanctuary Case Manager and the Custodial Agency Family Case Manager.  This documentation must be in place prior to the overnight visit.
  • The foster parent is not using the visit as a respite placement.  Respite must be approved in advance by the CSI case manager and the custodial agency worker.  Respite parents must be licensed/certified foster parents.
26. STEALING: Many children entering foster care have problems with stealing.  Keep valuables such as jewelry, money; car keys, and keys to desks, cabinets, or boxes where medication or valuables are kept, out of reach of foster children. Children Sanctuary is not responsible for losses in your home due to theft by a foster child.
27. TELEPHONE: Foster parents are responsible for the security of their telephones.  Children’s Sanctuary will not reimburse for charges resulting from a child making long distance calls on the foster parent’s telephone.

TRAINING: In accordance with state regulations, foster parents must complete 20 to 30 hours of training every year.  Children’s Sanctuary will offer various training opportunities throughout the year.  Foster parents may attend other training available in the community with approval from Children’s Sanctuary.  To receive credit for training outside of Children’s Sanctuary, foster parents must obtain certificates of attendance noting title of training, date of training, name of trainer, and hours awarded, and submit copies to Children’s Sanctuary.

Important: Failure to complete state required annual training hours will jeopardize your license!  

29. TRANSFERRING A LICENSE OR CERTIFICATION TO ANOTHER AGENCY:  A foster parent wishing to change to another agency must notify Children's Sanctuary, Inc. in writing that they want to close their license or certification with Children's Sanctuary, Inc. and open a license or certification with another agency.  Children's Sanctuary, Inc. will arrange with the other agency a date for closure of the CSI license and opening of the license with the other agency.
31. TRANSPORTATION: The foster parent must provide transportation to and from appointments, court and review hearings, visitations, school, work, and any training event, i.e., Independent Living Training, when necessary.  The cost of transportation is covered by the foster parent's per diem.  A foster parent may request reimbursement for trips over 50 miles one way.  Any reimbursement must be approved by the CSI Regional Director.

Important: Make sure your foster child is in your vehicle and buckled into his or her seat prior to departing.

32. TRAVEL: Out-of-state travel with your foster child requires approval from Children’s Sanctuary, Inc. and the child’s public placing agency worker.  Make requests at least two weeks prior to departure.
33. VISITATION: The public agency worker must approve visitations for the child with family and relatives.  The foster parents must adhere to court ordered visitation.  If for any reason a child can not make a scheduled visit, call your Children’s Sanctuary case manager immediately.  Foster parents will provide foster children with travel bags, satchels, or luggage for overnight visits with parents or relatives.

Important: Children are not to transport clothing, other than dirty clothing in plastic trash bags.  Use luggage and overnight bags.  Never place a child’s medication in his or her luggage.  The child's medication must given to the parent, respite parent, or other responsible adult. 

34. WEAPONS:  All weapons will be kept out of the reach of foster children.  This includes bows, arrows, guns, and knives.  Guns and bows will be kept locked in a safe place.  Ammunition, i.e., bullets, cartridges, arrows will be locked in a separate place from the guns or bows.  Kitchen knives should be kept out of reach of children.  Do not leave knives in a wood block knife holder on the kitchen counter or any place accessible to children.


Foster parents and CSI staff must follow this protocol at all times.  Failure to adhere to this protocol can result in endangerment of the foster child, as well as other children in the home.  Foster parents who fail to adhere to this protocol may lose their foster home license and be charged with neglect and/or abuse.

1. Medication, prescription and non-prescription, must be stored in a locked cabinet in a secure area.  Failure to secure medication could cause injury or death of a child and result in civil or criminal prosecution of the foster parent.
2. No foster child is to have access to the medication cabinet.
3. No foster child is to be allowed to carry his or her medication.  The exception is specific medication, i.e., an asthma inhaler, and only with the medical doctor's written permission.
4. All medication must be dispensed to the foster child by the foster parent, school nurse, or other responsible adult.
5. Medication must be dispensed according to the prescribed dosage.  The foster parent, nurse, or responsible adult must observe the child take the medication.  If you think a child is not swallowing the medication, dispense the medication in a glass of water.
6. If a child refuses to take his or her medication or tries to save medication by not swallowing it, report this immediately to the case manager and child's doctor.
7. If a child needs medication at school, the foster parent must give the required medication to the school nurse or teacher.  Only the school nurse or teacher can hold medication or dispense medication to the child.
8. When a foster child goes to respite or visits biological parents or relatives, his or her medication must be given to the respite parent or biological parent by the foster parent.  If a caseworker, CSI case manager, or other responsible adult delivers the child to respite or home visit, the foster parent is to give the child’s medication to that individual to deliver to the respite parent, biological parent, or relative.  The foster parent must send only the amount of medication the child will need while away from the foster home.  Note: a responsible adult must always control medication.  Never pack medication in a child’s luggage.
9. Foster parents must log all dispensed medication, including medication given at school, in respite, or on a home or relative visit.  Separate logs should be kept for prescription and non-prescription medication.  Children’s Sanctuary will furnish log forms to the foster home as needed.  If the foster parent runs out of log forms, the foster parent must keep the log on notepaper until he or she receives new forms.
10. The foster parent must obtain all prescribed medication from the pharmacy as soon as possible so the child can receive the medication according to the doctor’s instructions.  Refills must be secured one week before the medication runs out to avoid lapses in medication.  If a foster parent does not have the child’s current Medicaid Card, he or she is to purchase the medication and give Children’s Sanctuary the receipt for reimbursement.
11. Foster parents must attend all medication reviews.  The foster parent must be prepared to discuss any behavioral, emotional, or physical issues related to the medication.  If the foster parent cannot attend, he or she will notify the CSI case manager at least one week in advance.  Any concerns the foster parent may have about the medication and child’s reaction to the medication must be explained to the case manager prior to the review.
12. All medication must be maintained unless otherwise instructed by the child’s doctor or psychiatrist.  The foster parent must never “wean” a child off his or her medication or stop giving the child his or her prescribed medication unless instructed to do so by the child’s doctor or psychiatrist.
13. The foster parent must return any discontinued medication to the pharmacy or the Sheriff's Department.  Never discard medication by throwing it in the trash or flushing it down the toilet.



1. Allegations of abuse or neglect of a child by a parent, relative, foster parent, CSI staff member, another child, or unknown person or persons is serious.  Steps must be taken immediately to protect the child and the allegation must be investigated as soon as possible.
2. Allegations of abuse or neglect will be reported immediately to the county or state Child Protective Services Hotline by the person who observed or is informed of the alleged neglect or abuse.  If the report is made after normal working hours and the county does not have a hotline, the person reporting the allegation will call the County Sheriff ’s Department.   The person reporting the allegation will document the allegation, date, time, name and age of child, others involved, and to whom the allegation was reported.
3. The person who observes or is informed of an incident of abuse or neglect will report the allegation to Children’s Sanctuary, Inc.
4. The person who observes or is informed of an incident of abuse or neglect will complete the Children’s Sanctuary, Inc. Critical Incident Report Form and the Res-Care Critical Incident Report Form.  Within 24 hours, both reports will be submitted to the CSI Executive Director.  The Res-Care report will be faxed to Res-Care (see Critical Incident Policy 700.01: Res-Care Incident reporting instructions).
5. The Children’s Sanctuary case manager will inform the child’s public custodial agency worker as soon possible of the incident. 
6.  If the alleged abuse or neglect occurs in a foster home, the child may be removed from the home and placed in respite until the incident can be investigated.  The CSI case manager will inform the child’s public custodial agency worker of the move as soon as possible.
7. When the alleged abuse or neglect is sexual or physical in nature, the child will be removed from the home immediately, receive a medical examination and medical care if needed, and be placed in respite care until the incident is investigated.
8. The child’s Children’s Sanctuary case manager will contact county or state Child Protective Services and the child’s public custodial agency worker on the first working day after reporting the incident to determine if the incident was correctly reported and what additional measures should be taken to protect the child and assist with the investigation.
9. If abuse or neglect is substantiated on a foster parent, all foster children will be immediately removed from the foster home.   Children’s Sanctuary will no longer use this home and will request the state to revoke the home’s license or certification.
10. If a staff member is accused of abuse or neglect of a child, the incident will be reported immediately to county or state Child Protective Services and the child’s public custodial agency worker.  The staff member may be suspended until the incident is investigated.  If substantiated, the employee may be suspended and/or terminated depending on the seriousness of the abuse or neglect.

Copyright © 2003 Children’s Sanctuary, Inc.  All Rights Reserved.

Revised: 5/01/08


Children’s Sanctuary Foster Parent Handbook


I have received a copy of the Children’s Sanctuary, Inc. Foster Parent Handbook and I understand the information presented in it.  By signing below, I acknowledge my agreement to comply with the contents of this handbook.  I understand that this information may periodically change at the discretion of Children’s Sanctuary management. 

Foster Parent A:   Date:  
Foster Parent B:   Date: