Frequently Asked Questions
How does this differ from foster care?
Family Renewal Initiative (FRI) is not a state organization, but rather a private, non-profit organization that works independently from any state entity. It is our goal to come alongside to support families and children in crisis before the need for Child Protective Services to remove children from their home.
FRI is a Family Preservation Organization. What that means is that our goal is to reach families and children in crisis, before abuse and neglect occurs, in order to preserve the family unit. Parents do not lose custody of their children while participating in our services. Voluntary temporary guardianship is given to host families in order to provide medical and educational services to the children in their care. If a situation arises, where a child would need to see a medical provider, biological parents will be contacted in order to have them present while being treated, if possible. If it is not possible, biological parents will be updated on treatment outcomes and how the child is doing as soon as it is possible to do so.
Family Renewal initiative requires biological parents to visit with their children in person at least weekly, and by phone as often as possible, preferably daily. In some situations, this may not be possible, such as if a parent is attending rehab where no visitors are allowed for a period of time. Each situation will be handled individually, and goals set up to meet the needs of both biological parents and their children. It is our commitment to maintain relationships between parents and children, and to communicate with biological families how the children are doing while in the care of a host family. This continued relationship provides better reunification outcomes, with reunification success reaching 95-99%.
Are there any costs involved?
Family Renewal Initiative is a double voluntary program, which means there is no compensation to host families and no fees charged to biological families. The initial costs to become a volunteer include completing criminal background checks. It is recommended that all households have a fire extinguisher and fire escape ladder for two story homes. Each child must have their own bed as well. If a family does not have these things already, these will increase the initial costs of becoming a volunteer.
Children should come to a host family home with health insurance. If they do not have health insurance, FRI will work quickly with the biological family to complete an application for state insurance. Many times, if a host family is in need of household items, local churches and FRI’s network of supporters will be contacted and anything that is available will be gathered for the use during a hosting session. These household items can include: crib, high chair, changing table, toddler bed, toys, clothes, etc.
How long does a hosting session last?
Family Renewal Initiative will meet with each referral to determine how to best meet their needs. Should hosting be needed, timeframe goals will be negotiated and written into their hosting plan. Hosting sessions can last anywhere between overnight, to a weekend, to a couple weeks to a couple months. For more significant needs, such as homelessness, hosting could be as long as 1 year. The average stay is approximately 45 days.
Do host families have liability coverage?
Family Renewal Initiative is committed to ensure that host families and volunteers are covered should anything unfortunate occur. FRI provides a variety of insurance policies that cover an array of possible issues, including property damage, vehicle damage and allegations of abuse.