Frequently Asked Questions

Who are the youth that need foster care?

We care for youth from infancy through age 21. The majority of youth we serve are survivors of abuse and/or neglect. Some children we serve may have emotional and/or physical disabilities, social and/or behavioral challenges, experienced challenges at school, and/or have developmental delays. We also serve sibling groups, pregnant teens, and/or young mothers. We often need homes for youth transitioning out of one of HopeTree’s residential settings.

What are the criteria to become a foster parent?

Foster parent applicants must fit the following criteria:

  • Single or married and at least 21 years of age; if married, both spouses must be involved in all aspects of the program
  • In good physical and mental health as indicated by a physician’s report
  • Financially self-sufficient
  • Cleared by background checks (Child Protective Services, Criminal History, and Driving Record)
  • Comfortable serving in a Christian faith-based organization
  • Willing to support the goal of healing families including a return to home primary goal, as possible
  • Willing to attend an information session or visit
  • Willing to complete the agency’s pre-service training to obtain foster parent knowledge and skills
  • Able to pass home visits to ensure the home environment meets standards for safety, maintenance, and physical space
  • Willing to provide four references
What will be expected of me as a foster parent?

HopeTree Foster Care expects all foster parents to provide a safe, loving, nurturing environment for a youth placed in your home. You must be able to provide structure, guidance, and supervision, and participate in all aspects of the youth’s care by attending service plan reviews, treatment team meetings, court hearings, and other meetings facilitated by DSS or other involved parties. You must work with the youth’s biological family when required and transport youth in foster care to visitations with their families. You must advocate for the youth placed in your care, attend on-going training and foster parent support groups, and abide by HopeTree Foster Care’s policies and procedures as outlined by HopeTree Family Services and the Virginia Department of Social Services. You are expected to communicate appropriately and cooperate with all providers working with the youth placed in your home.

How do i know if foster parenting is the right choice for me?

The certification process for foster care is a process in which you determine if fostering is right for you and HopeTree determines if you’re a good fit for our agency, so you will have plenty of opportunity to explore this question as you move through the process. Some initial questions you can ask yourself include:

  • Do I have room in my home?
  • Am I in good health?
  • Am I financially stable?
  • Do I want to help children or give back to the community?

If you answered “yes” to all of those questions, then we invite you to take the next step by attending an information session

What makes a good home for a foster youth?

Some of the qualities of a good home environment for a youth in foster care include nurturing, compassion, love, patience, structure, rules, appropriate discipline, perseverance, kindness, and acceptance. The training and support you receive throughout your lifetime as a foster parent with HopeTree helps you to achieve and sustain this type of home environment.

What service and support would I receive as a foster parent with HopeTree?

We provide all foster parents with intensive training and support to ensure that you can be the best possible parent for the youth placed in your care. HopeTree Foster Care provides all foster parents with supportive case management services, monthly training and support group sessions, 24-hour emergency support and crisis intervention, respite care, and tax-free financial compensation. Our program focuses on working with youth who have experienced trauma with the goal of helping them build resilience to face life’s challenges. We aim to build relationships with youth, birth families, and foster families to provide the support everyone needs to succeed.

What areas in Virginia does HopeTree Foster Care serve?

HopeTree Foster Care has the ability to serve foster families who reside within a 90-minute drive of one of our foster care offices in Salem, Martinsville, or Chester.

How much does it cost to be a foster parent?

While you don’t necessarily have to “pay” in a traditional sense to be a foster parent, it does cost you time, energy, patience, and commitment. We believe the benefits of being a foster parent far outweigh the costs. The role of a foster parent is something far greater than a simple monetary exchange. It’s a way to help someone, a youth in need, that has eternal significance.

How long is the commitment to be a foster parent?

This depends on the youth’s goal—whether it is to return home or adoption. It could range from a few days to forever. Regardless of their goal, foster parents have the opportunity to provide lasting memories for the children they serve and be a “forever family” even if they return to their biological homes.

How do I know if HopeTree's Foster Care program is right for me?

We are looking for single or married people who want to demonstrate Christian love to youth in need.

Is HopeTree's Foster Care program licensed by social services?

Yes. You may look up HopeTree’s licensure information by visiting the Virginia Department of Social Services website at https://www.dss.virginia.gov/. HopeTree Family Services is also accredited by CARF.

Does HopeTree offer adoption services too?

HopeTree does not provide adoption services as the initial goal for the youth or family, however if a youth’s goal becomes adoption while the youth is in foster care and the foster family would like to adopt the youth, HopeTree helps facilitate that process. Typically, HopeTree partners with adoption agencies in the community to finalize the adoption of a youth in foster care.

I'd like to be a foster parent. What's my next step?

Fantastic! Please visit the Become A Foster Parent page for a step-by-step guide of what to expect in becoming a foster parent at HopeTree. You may also complete the secure inquiry form and someone from our office will follow up with you soon. 

I'm not in a position to be a foster parent right now but would still like to help HopeTree Foster Care. What can I do?

If you’re not ready to become a foster parent right now, there are other opportunities to get involved with our ministry. HopeTree Family Services hosts several community events and volunteer opportunities throughout the year. Visit the events page for a list of upcoming events in your area. You may also lend a helping hand to a foster family by providing gift cards, suitcases, duffel bags, hygiene items, and/or monetary donations. 

You can also be an advocate for youth by getting involved with legislators and encouraging them to support legislation that protects our youth. Spreading the word about our program to other potential foster parents is another way you can help out right now. We would be happy to supply you with extra brochures and informational pieces to distribute. 


Foster Parenting Resources

Voices for Virginia’s Children
National Foster Parent Association – national advocacy organization
HowToBeAFosterParent.com – foster parenting blog
Foster Care information from the Virginia Department of Social Services

How Foster Care Changed Me


Program Model