Oaklawn Foster and Adoption Resources



About the program

Oaklawn Foster and Adoption Resources provides care to children who have been removed from their biological homes. Children in the program range from infants to age 19, although they are generally school aged. Most come from Elkhart County and are a ward of the Department of Child Services or juvenile probation.

This program is designed to provide a supportive environment for these children, many of whom have severe emotional and/or behavioral problems to the extent that they are at-risk for institutional placement. Foster parents are trained to work with and care for youth who present some of the most challenging needs.

Although the goal of the program is to reunify children with their parents whenever possible, many are unable to return to their biological homes due to abuse and neglect. At times, termination of parental rights has occurred and a permanent placement is sought. We work to stabilize these children and assist them toward an appropriate permanent situation.

It is hoped that every foster family and every foster child learns and grows from their experiences with the program. 

Foster parent requirements

In addition to providing for the child’s basic physical needs of food, clothing, shelter and medical care,  foster parents offer instruction, supervision, positive role modeling, sensitivity, praise, encouragement, and appropriate discipline.

Foster parents must be at least 21 years of age and may be single or married.

You will work with an Oaklawn licensing specialist and team leader to develop a plan for becoming licensed as a foster parent. This will require 10 hours of general training plus attendance at Foster Adoption and Kinship Training. Foster parents must also be trained in CPR, first aid and universal precautions.

First steps include completing an information sheet and application, as well as providing four personal references and submitting to national, state and county criminal history checks. 

Foster parent support

Foster parents have opportunities to meet with other foster parents on a monthly basis. Each child placed in your home will be assigned a family resource specialist (FRS). Your FRS will visit weekly to provide ideas, suggestions and give you feedback and support as well as assist with the design and implementation of behavior modification interventions. The FRS serves as the child’s advocate at school and in securing any additional needed community services. 

For more information

For more information about Oaklawn Foster and Adoption Resources, call (574)537-2669, Or email fostercare@oaklawn.org.   


Foster parenting FAQs

Do I have to own my own home to be a foster parent?
You may own or rent a house, an apartment, or a mobile home, as long as the home has enough suitable space for the number of foster children that may be placed with you in addition to your other household members. The home must pass an environmental safety check and if it is not on a public water system, it must also pass a water inspection.

Do I need a separate bedroom for each foster child?
Foster children may share a bedroom but must have their own bed. The bedroom must have at least 50 square feet of space for the child’s belongings as well as at least two exits, such as a door and a window.

Can older or retired people become foster parents?
There is no maximum age to be foster parents as long as you are in general good health and free from communicable diseases.

Why do children come into foster care?
Most children come into foster care through no fault of their own due to substantiated allegations of abuse or neglect on the part of the caregiver. Others come into care because of their own behaviors due to a physical or emotional disability.

Do foster parents get paid to keep children in their home?
No. Foster parents receive a “per diem” which is a reimbursement to cover expenses. Each county or the licensed child placing agency sets the per diem rates for the children they place in foster care, which can vary according to the age of the child.

Can I decide the ages and behaviors of the children that I accept into my home as a foster parent?
When you meet with the licensing staff, you will complete a checklist indicating the types of behaviors and ages of children that you feel comfortable accepting into your home. Counties use this information when a need arises for placement of children. A foster parent should never accept the placement of a child who they feel they may not be able to manage.

Do I have to have a phone in my home?
Foster parents must have either a land line or cell phone in their home in case of any emergency that may arise with foster children.

Do I have to have my own children to become a foster parent?
No. Many foster parents do not have children of their own.

Download brochure

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To see how manyTherapeutic Foster Care families currently have openings for placements, click here to go to our Referrals page.