Division of Family & Children's Services
Resource (Foster/Adoptive) Parenting
What are Resource (Foster/Adoptive) Parents?
Resource parents are individuals or married couples who complete the steps to become licensed to serve as caretakers for foster children. They work with birth families and hope changes are made that will allow the children to return to a safe home. Resource parents may choose to adopt the children if this is not possible. These families provide a safe and stable environment for children who may be experiencing stress and trauma from recent life changes. They receive a monthly reimbursement to help offset the cost of caring for children. Social workers visit the home on a regular basis to provide services and support to the children and family.
What should I know about Resource Parenting?
- The goal for most children in foster care is to be reunited with their parents. Resource families work with birthparents to achieve this goal.
- The length of time a child will stay with you depends on many factors. It could be for a few days, a few months, or much longer.
- Medical and dental costs are covered for children in foster care.
- Teens in foster care are eligible for programs that help them learn life skills and may be eligible for some financial assistance with college.
Different types of Foster Care:
- Emergency/Respite Care: A child may be in need of a short term placement for various reasons. Respite care is available when Resource Parents need a break for a short period of time, become ill, or when there is an emergency. Also, some children need to be quickly placed in a safe home until a more long term placement is arranged.
- Regular Foster Care: A family home where a child will live as part of the family until the birth family is reunited or the child is freed for adoption.
- Therapeutic Foster Care: Some children need more specialized care due to medical, emotional, or developmental issues. Therapeutic Resource Parents obtain a special license that certifies their ability to care for children with special needs. This license is granted through private agencies. MDHS can assist you in finding a local therapeutic provider.
Questions to ask Yourself:
- How is caring for a foster child different from caring for my own child? In many ways it is the same. Foster children need to know that you will be there for them no matter what. Foster children may have different experiences than your own children and need an additional level of care. They need you to teach them new skills, help them cope with new experiences and support them through the transition of being in foster care.
- Will I be “rescuing’ a child from an abusive or neglectful parent? Many people may believe the child will be grateful and relieved to be out of their home situation. This is rarely the case. The child’s situation is normal to him or her and being separated from family can be traumatic and stressful. Children often need time to establish trust.
- What about kids who have been neglected or physically, sexually, or mentally abused? These children can be angry, resentful, and sad. They may act out or take it out on their resource family. The Agency provides training to help resource parents work with these situations. Are you able to help teach children alternative ways to cope with stress while not taking their words and actions personally?
- Are you willing to have social workers come into your home? Can you work in a partnership with a team of professionals to help the child either get back home or to another permanent placement such as adoption? This requires excellent communication skills as a parent and a commitment to follow the plan set forth by the social worker, agency, and courts.
- What types of children can you parent at this time? Consider the age and gender of a child. You will be given choices on what behaviors and special needs you feel you can or cannot parent at this time. Be aware that the Agency is not always aware of a child’s behaviors at the time of placement. Also know that children meeting your specifications may not be in immediate need of placement.
Am I eligible to become a Resource Parent?Mississippi Resource Parents are people who:
- Are legal Mississippi Residents
- Can pass a criminal background check
- Are a minimum of 21 years of age
- May be legally married or legally single
- Have no more than 4 children living in the home
- Are financially self-supporting
Could I be a Successful Resource Parent?
- Do you have current or previous experience parenting or working with children?
- Do you have the time and willingness to be involved in the life of a child?
- Do you feel comfortable providing care for a child who may have been raised in an abusive or unstable environment and needs time to establish trust?
- Do you feel comfortable helping a child emotionally cope with life changes?
- Are you able to provide consistent, loving, and stable parenting to children who may test boundaries?
Who are the children most in need of stable foster homes?
- Sibling groups (of 3 or more children)
- Children who were sexually abused
- Children with psychological/developmental issues
- Children who need to be taught new coping mechanisms (children who act out aggressively or sexually)
- Children with medical needs
- Pregnant girls / Teen Moms
- Sexually active children
How do I Learn More?
- Contact 1-800-821-9157 to inquire about becoming a Resource Parent
- Request a MDHS application and/or additional information about private providers
- Children available for adoption are featured on Wednesday's Child, a collaboration
of Mississippi Department of Human Services and WLBT Television. For more information about these
children, please call
Click here to print a copy of the Resource Parenting Application, available in Portable Document Format (PDF) only.
Mail application(s) to:
MDHS - Family and Children's Services
750 North State Street
Jackson, MS 39202
Photo at top of page by George Bennett
Starkville High School, Senior, 2012
The Mississippi Department of Human Services does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, sex or handicap.
Mississippi Department of Human Services
Division of Family & Children's Services