SAN MAR MISSION

Cultivating Hope and Well-Being in Children, Families and Community.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Who are the children served?

Today for many reasons, there are children who cannot live with their moms and dads, children who have been moved from home to home, who have not always had their needs met. Children range in age from birth to 21 years old. Referrals come from different parts of the State of Maryland. Both boys and girls are placed in San Mar treatment foster care homes.

How long do the children stay?

The majority of children are placed in the foster home for at least 15 to 18 months. Some placements do extend for a longer period of time, and others for a shorter amount of time.

How are children matched with families?

When children are referred, program staff interview the child, current care-givers, and family to determine the specific needs of the child. We find out what the child's likes, dislikes, and mannerisms are. When a family is identified for a particular child, they are contacted, told about the child, and asked if they would like to begin visiting with the youth. In this way, the family gains an understanding of the child. The child also feels some sense of control over where he or she is going to live. Everyone has a voice and a choice.

Who can care for these children?

The children we serve have not experienced a home that was safe or where their needs were met on a regular basis. These youth need the security of knowing a parental figure is always available. That is why one treatment foster parent needs to be available 24 hours a day. If both parents are employed outside of the home, flexible schedules are needed so that one or the other parent is able to meet the needs of the child. Treatment foster children cannot be left alone, attended by children or other adults who have not been approved as care-givers. Other treatment foster care families are available to provide assistance when families need a break.

Does the child need his or her own bedroom?

Yes, a separate bedroom is needed for each foster child.

How are foster parents prepared to care for these children?

Beyond the training afforded to providers prior to the placement of a child, support is given through the use of a "team approach." Persons making up this team include the foster parents, the agency case manager, the program director, the referring agency caseworker, and professionals within the community to address specific needs such as medical, mental health, educational, etc. With the support of the team, foster parents are enabled to provide an atmosphere where the child will feel safe, supported and able to grow.

How are foster parents selected?

San Mar program staff carefully select families to work with special kids. It is our goal to match a child with a family who will be a very special resource for this youth, long into his or her adult years of life. Providers of care must comply will all requirements for foster parents as stated in the Code of Maryland. These requirements are listed above.

How many children are placed in a home at one time?

A maximum of two children are placed in a home at a time, unless an exception is made for a sibling group.

How are financial needs met?

Providers are given a tax-exempt stipend to meet the needs of the child. They are also given a tax-exempt difficulty of care payment or minimal salary. All medical needs of the child are paid by the state through a managed care organization to which the child is assigned.

How are the child's educational needs met?

The program case managers will assist foster parents enroll children into the appropriate school system and provide any support needed to assist the youth transition into this new setting.

What is the involvement of the biological family?

Many of the parents are as hurting, as the children we are asked to serve. Our task is to assist these parents by caring for their child, in their absence, and to support them in their own personal struggle. San Mar staff work in conjunction with the referring agency to comply with all court orders and established service agreements regarding the biological family members. Program staff will contact and visit biological family members within the first thirty days the child is in our care and include these persons in the on-going treatment process whenever possible.

Why is it called TREATMENT?

The word treatment infers that there is a method in place of providing services, which focus on the needs of the individual while clearly having an awareness of the strengths and capabilities of the foster family. It includes the selection of an environment and family most suited to the age, gender and disposition of the child.

What is the Treatment Process?

Within the first thirty days of placement a treatment team meeting will occur. The purpose of this meeting is to assess the child's needs and gather information to develop a comprehensive treatment plan. The plan will address long-term goals including, projected length of stay; criteria for discharge; and, projected aftercare services. Each child is referred for therapy (to occur at least two times per month) and other adjunct therapies as needed. Independent living skill tasks are identified for youths 14 years old and older during each treatment team meeting. Foster children are included in these team meetings.

How do we acknowledge a family's spiritual or religious observance?

Foster parents are asked about their religious affiliation, prior to their completion of the certification process. When children are being considered for a specific family, he or she is told about the family's religious observance and that, if he/she chooses to reside with this family, the understanding is that he/she will attend the same church that the family attends.

How personal is the certification process?

It is our belief that children's needs are best met with careful planning and good communication. The strengths, desires and capabilities of foster families must be understood when matching a child to a family. Therefore, we get to know each other very well.

How do I begin?

For more information please contact Megan Swindell, Recruitment & Licensing Coordinator (301) 733-9067 ext 231
mswindell@sanmarhome.org.