Could I be a foster parent?

Foster parents are needed who can provide temporary care to babies and young children who are in the process of reunification with their birth families; who can accommodate larger sibling groups to allow these siblings to remain connected in the same home; and who can provide care for older youth with challenging behaviors resulting from their exposure to traumatic events. Families are also needed for older children for whom reunification with their birth families is no longer an available option and for whom an adoptive family is being sought.

Don’t let any of these “can’t” myths stop you.

1. Only married couples can be foster parents.

Singles, same sex couples, unmarried couples, empty nesters and growing families are all welcome to learn more about becoming a foster/adoptive parent. Don’t let your status stop you!

2. Foster parents must own their own home.

It is not necessary to own a home to become a licensed foster/adoptive family. You may rent or own an apartment or a house as long as there is adequate space to add another person. It is even possible for some children to share a bedroom.

3. Foster child expenses are the responsibility of the foster family.

DHHS provides financial support to offset the costs of raising a child. There is also emotional support and training to help you through the rough patches. Children adopted from foster care may be eligible for a financial subsidy, and many qualify for financial aid for college.

4. Only stay-at-home parents can be foster parents.

Many foster parents are also working parents. If you don’t feel ready to become a full time foster parent, maybe short term respite or emergency care is a better fit for you.

Ready to find out more? Call 1-844-893-6311 or complete our form and we will get right back to you!

Are You Wondering?

What type of child would be placed and how long would they live with me?

Children enter foster care through no fault of their own. Due to a number of reasons, at least in the moment, their parents are unable to care them. Many children entering foster care will be reunited with their birth parents or extended family members. Other children will need an adoptive home and sometimes foster parents become their child’s adoptive family.

Children in foster care range from 0 to 21 years old, have experienced trauma, and may have a hard time trusting adults.  Some children may have emotional or physical challenges which have the best outcomes when they are part of a family.

There is a special need for foster parents who can provide care to babies and young children while supporting the work of reunification with their birth families, for foster parents able to welcome sibling groups of three or more children, and for older youth.

What kind of support is available to foster parents?

Foster families are connected with a DHHS licensing staff and have regular contact with a case worker. There are peer supports, support groups, events, and a community of foster families across the state that support one another, with additional supports available.

Where do I find out more information?

The first step is to contact A Family for ME. We will answer your questions and help you get started when you are ready. Call us at 1-844-893-6311 or complete our form.

Not ready to be licensed?

Here are a few ways you can help support children in foster care!

1.Talk to friends and family about foster care — they may be inspired!

2. Invite a recruiter to speak to a community group or set up a table at an event

3. Volunteer to hang fliers in your community

4. Volunteer to staff a table

Contact us for more information!

“The well-being of our children continues to be a top priority for this Department. It is undeniable that foster parents play a crucial role in caring for vulnerable children. Sometimes it’s on a short term basis where they assist in the important process of reunification. Other times, they explore more long term options—making these children a permanent part of their family through adoption. Whatever role they play, they have the ability to make a positive impact on the lives of Maine children during the most difficult of times.”

— Former DHHS Commissioner Ricker Hamilton

Who is A Family for ME?

A Family for ME is a partnership between the Department of Health and Human Services and Spurwink Services, with the focus of raising awareness of the urgent need and finding Maine families who are willing and able to parent children in foster care.

Meet The Staff

Rebecca Beal is a Licensed Social Worker with 25 years of experience in the field. Her background includes 11 years recruiting and supporting foster/adoptive parents in Maine. She applies that experience to her current position as the Program Supervisor of A Family for ME. Rebecca and four recruiters strive to raise awareness throughout Maine about the need for foster families.

A Family for ME Community Outreach Coordinator Christine Brown has more than 25 years experience working with children in a variety of professional settings. She is a graduate of the University of Southern Maine. Christine began her employment at Spurwink Services in 2014 as a Treatment Foster Care Support Specialist, and recently added the position of Community Outreach Coordinator for A Family for ME.

Kasey McDonough is the A Family for ME Recruiter covering western Maine. She is a graduate of the Rochester Institute of Technology with a BFA in Photojournalism. Kasey chose to enter a field that benefits children after joining Americorps where she worked with children who were at-risk. Since then, she has been devoted to serving youth in many ways including managing a group home for at-risk youth, working with children in therapeutic foster care, and providing behavior management intervention for children and their families. Kasey comes to the A Family for ME program with a passion to help Maine’s most vulnerable population and believes that every child deserves a safe and loving home.

Stephanie Eklund, a former and long-standing advocate for victims of domestic violence, joined A Family for ME as a foster/adoptive parent recruiter in Southern Maine. Stephanie brings with her a wealth of knowledge regarding recruitment, collaborative efforts with community members, public speaking and training, volunteer engagement, and helping people in need. In her personal time, Stephanie enjoys reading, working out, traveling, and spending time with her family.

“The opioid epidemic continues to harm our families and communities—often leaving children without proper care or a stable home. At the Department of Health and Human Services, we are committed to ensuring that every child has the safe and supportive home they deserve. We have seen the important role foster families have and we are asking more Mainers to do the same by opening their hearts and homes to children in need.”

— Former DHHS Commissioner Ricker Hamilton

A few success stories

There are many positive experiences and outcomes from fostering. Although we could not begin to capture all of them, here are a few examples from foster parents, and children who have been fostered.

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Name

Theresa

How long have you been a foster parent?

I’ve been a foster parent for 13 years and I still welcome children into my home when emergency respite care is needed.

What is the most rewarding part of being a foster parent?

I can see the positive changes that happen when children have the support and services they need. I know I’m making a difference in someone’s life.

What made you decide to be a foster parent?

My husband and I really only wanted to adopt one child, but we added three kids to our family and then decided to keep fostering. There are so many kids who need our help and we couldn’t turn away from that. We welcome birth parents too, especially when they are trying to reunify with their babies.

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Name

Colleen

How long have you been a foster parent?

Our family has been fostering for 14 years and have helped over 20 children.

What is the most rewarding part of being a foster parent?

We have helped brothers and sisters stay together, which they usually can’t do. We know that even if a child doesn’t stay with us forever, we have given them a foundation that will help them for their whole lives.

What made you decide to be a foster parent?

We never imagined doing this for 20 years but we had some kids in our family that we worried might have to enter care and we didn’t want them to leave our family. Once we started, we realized how much the kids in care needed us.

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Name

Janalee

How long have you been a foster parent?

I got licensed about a year ago so that I could have a teenager placed in my home.

What is the most rewarding part of being a foster parent?

I love watching my son experience new things and finally get the chance he deserves to have a childhood. This is a “do-over for him”.

What made you decide to be a foster parent?

I have a heart for teenagers and honestly, everyone tells my son he is lucky to have me but truth is I’m the lucky one.

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Name

Alana

How long have you been a foster parent?

I was a foster parent for six years and added two now-adult siblings to my family by adoption. When they first came to me they were 4 and 2. I had 40 kids placed in my home over time.

What is the most rewarding part of being a foster parent?

I didn’t expect the boys entering my home and family to have such a positive impact on my birth son. He really learned some important lessons about compassion and empathy that shaped him into the man he is today.

What made you decide to be a foster parent?

My son kept bringing home the schedule for local foster parent information sessions from school. After seeing several of these flyers over time, I decided to jump because I knew how great the need was.

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Name

Karen

How long were you in foster care?

I don’t remember but mom told me her and dad took me home from the hospital after I was born and helped my birth mother try to learn what she needed to be a mom for a while. When she couldn’t do that, my parents decided to adopt me.

What is something you appreciate about your parents/family?

My parents help me have a relationship with my birth mother still. She even calls my mom “mom”, so I know a lot of people love me.

What would you tell someone who was thinking about being a foster parent?

I’d tell them to do it because there are kids out there that need love and every kid deserves to be loved.

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Name

Sara

How long were you in foster care?

I was adopted by my family when I was four, and I went into foster care when I was a little younger than two.

What is something you appreciate about your parents/family?

In my family we talk about adoption and I can ask questions and get answers from them. My whole family is there to help me when I need it.

What would you tell someone who was thinking about being a foster parent?

I would tell them that there are a lot of kids who need parents out there so they should do it and that all kids need love and help.

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