"Whatever child comes into our home, they stay in our home until they become adoptable or are reunited with their families. It's all about making them a part of your family for however long you have them. We love them unconditionally."
-Mandi Garcia, Foster Parent
Make a Difference in the Life of a Child
As the largest provider of Foster Care Services in Illinois, we care for children who have been removed from their birth families due to abuse and/or neglect and place them with caring foster families who receive training and support from LSSI. At Lutheran Social Services of Illinois, our primary goal is to help children find their forever home, either by reunification with birth families whenever possible or through adoption.
Foster parents are a vital part of our services. LSSI provides training, licensing, and support for people seeking to become foster parents, children in foster care, and their biological families. Collaborating with LSSI’s child welfare staff, foster parents offer loving, safe homes for children. Further, foster parents support each child’s connection to their family by providing transportation to or hosting sibling visits, and visiting with parents when the child welfare team mutually agrees upon this.
Visit our Frequently Asked Questions to learn more about becoming a foster parent.
LSSI is an Illinois Licensed Child Welfare Agency - License #013005
Frequently Asked Questions About Foster Care
What is foster care?
Foster care is the temporary placement of a child in a new home away from his/her family due to abuse or neglect. Placement in a foster home protects the child while working with the birth family towards the ultimate goal of returning the child home. When it is not possible to return a child home safely, a new goal of adoption may be sought.
What are the different types of foster care?
There are two kinds: regular/relative foster care and specialized foster care.
- Regular/relative foster care provides placement and case management for children who have been removed from their birth families because of abuse or neglect.
- Specialized foster care serves children who have been abused or neglected and also have serious medical, emotional and/or behavioral problems.
How do I become a foster parent?
Call 888.322.LSSI (5774)888.322.LSSI (5774) or email FosterAChild@LSSI.org to talk to a resource worker. You will be referred to the LSSI office closest to your home. Also, many LSSI offices hold orientation meetings for prospective parents to learn more about fostering or adoption. Ask the resource worker about attending one.
What are the qualifications of being a foster parent?
To qualify to be a foster parent, you:
- Must have a desire and commitment to care for and work with children.
- May be single or married.
- May rent or own your residence.
- Must be stable, understanding, caring and in good health.
- Must be able to work as part of a team.
- Must have sufficient financial resources to provide for yourself and your family.
- Must be able to support children’s ties to their birth families and support reunification efforts, when applicable.
- Do NOT have to be Lutheran.
What is the foster parent licensing process like?
- A resource worker will guide you through the application packet, which includes information about you and your family, background check forms and medical evaluations.
- Adult members of your household will need to be fingerprinted to check for criminal history (minor criminal history in the past does not necessarily prevent you from fostering).
- A resource worker will make one or more home visits to ensure that your home meets licensing standards.
- A resource worker will have several discussions with you and your family to understand your interest in foster care.
- You (and your spouse, if applicable) will need to attend pre-service training about the needs of children in foster care.
- A resource worker will discuss the stipends available to assist you in caring for a foster child.
What about adoption?
If efforts to reunify children with their birth families are unsuccessful, foster parents may be asked to consider adopting their foster children. However, it is important that all foster parents realize that the first goal for almost all children is reunification with their birth family. Foster parents must be able to support those efforts.
Many children in need of permanency through adoption are older or are siblings who need to be placed together.
LSSI believes in openness in adoption. This allows birth parents and adoptive parents to share information about each other and have the option of establishing some level of personal relationship.
Adoption support and preservation services are offered to families following the legal completion of all adoptions.
Therapeutic Foster Care
LSSI offers therapeutic foster care services in Aurora, Chicago, and Rockford. Therapeutic Foster Care places children with histories of severe trauma and emotional/behavioral needs in family homes while avoiding institutional settings.
LSSI's Therapeutic Foster Care Program comprises teams of highly trained clinicians, caseworkers, and specially trained foster parents. These teams work with individual children ages 6 to 14, during a six to nine month period, using intensive treatment to help them develop the skills needed to thrive at home, in school, and in the community.