When you decide to do foster care you lose a little of your privacy. Not only to the children who may be placed in your home, but to the Children’s Division (CD) employees. One of the requirements when starting this process is the staff from CD must come into your home and make sure your home is safe for them to place a child in there. There are certain requirements that you must do in order to have your apartment, condominium, or house approved.
This article will tell of some of the more basic requirements in the state of Missouri that you must have to get your home approved. I will also tell what it was like to have a person come into my home and tell us what we must do. I will also be transparent enough to even tell you what changes we had to make and did make before and after the home inspection visit.
My mother had been a kinship foster parent so I knew some of the requirements. I knew we must have a fire extinguisher. I knew we must have a fire or disaster plan drawn to label an escape route and placed in a visible area. I knew we must have a list of emergency contact numbers, such as the police, fire, school, doctor, ambulance and Children’s Division, placed were all could read.
I had to buy a new smoke detector for one of the bedrooms upstairs. It was the bedroom where the potential foster children would be sleeping. All the other rooms had working smoke detectors and I checked them prior to the home inspection visit. We do not have a gas heater, but if you do use gas in your home, you will also be required to purchase a carbon monoxide detector.
Prior to the home inspection visit we went out and bought a set of bunk beds. If the child is over six they cannot sleep in the same room as a child of the opposite sex. We have the bunk beds if we get two boys. We have a bed in our daughter’s room if we get a girl. If a child is under the age of 2 they can sleep in the foster parent’s room. However, we have made a decision at this time we will only be taking school age children up to the age of 12. We eventually will open up to younger children, but not right at this time. The room set up with the bunk beds will also have two dresser drawers in there. Each child must have an area where they can store their clothes and personal belongings. This included closet and drawer space.
The home inspection visit is pretty routine. Your house cannot have visible dirt, messes, unsafe clutter, and must be free from vermin and rodent infestations. You cannot have animal feces lying around. In essence, you must have a home that is relatively clean with enough space for adequate play and living space for your family and the children who will be coming into your home. There must also be adequate play space outside for the children to play. If you are too close to a busy road or unsafe conditions you must have a fenced in play area.
I have two guns in my house and must purchase locks for the triggers or a locked safe for the guns. Ammunition and guns must be stored in separate areas to make access to them harder for the child to potentially get.
I also had to purchase screens for the upstairs windows. I had these before, but the framed screens had been knocked out and destroyed by the elements, animals, or play by children in the past and I just did not replace them. All windows above the main story of the house must be covered with screens.
If we do take younger children, I understand we will have to place little safety locks on the cabinets and will also have to buy those little plastic things to stick in the electrical outlets. These cost very little and can be installed by even the least mechanically inclined person, like me.
Overall, the home inspection study was not that bad. The following is a list of items and the cost of each that we had to purchase or complete:
- Fire Extinguisher-purchased at Wal-Mart for less than $20.
- One smoke detector-purchased at Wal-Mart for about $12.
- 4 framed screens—custom designed purchased at local shop for less than $100.
- One evacuation plan-hand made and laminated with my laminator was free.
- One emergency number page-hand made and laminated with my laminator for free.
- Two trigger locks for guns-purchased at Wal-Mart, two for $21.99.
- Set of bunk beds-purchased at Wal-Mart for $150.
- Two mattresses for the bunk beds-purchased at local store for $100 each.
- Two dresser drawers-given to me by my sister, but generally could purchase for $50 each.
- My wife getting me to clean the house before the home inspection-priceless. We did do some cleaning because we wanted to present our home in a good light. It was not that bad but some anxiety did set in.
We had some anxiety prior to the home visit. I knew some things needed to be done, but the CD employee was very friendly and did not seem to be judgmental about our home. There were some things that we needed to do and I listed them above, but over all our home was suitable.
I feel we can provide not only a safe home, but a loving home as well. There will be two more home visits prior to placement of any children in our home. This will focus more on our skills as parents but there will also be a “walk-through” of the home to make sure it is well-kempt.
Please feel free to leave a comment or ask a question about this process. I will answer from my experience or will find the answer from those who know. I hope this article will encourage you to think about opening your home and family up to this process. Make today and everyday a great day.
Amazon Price: $18.00 $9.13 Buy Now
(price as of Sep 4, 2016)