Foster Care Manual: House Rules Policy
This information has been excerpted from materials specific to one state. Be sure to check with your Foster Care Specialist for details in your state, county, or province.
1. All provider homes are to have a written list of house rules that govern the home. Preferably, these rules are in place prior to a child being placed in the home. If rules are not already in place, they need to be developed within 30 days of placement. These rules need to be clear, concise, and easily understood by children. It is recommended that children sign that they have read and understand the house rules prior to imposing any consequences for unacceptable behavior. These rules are to be clearly posted in the home.
2. A sample of some house rules is as follows:
Be seated at the breakfast table on school
days 15 minutes before bus is due to arrive, ready for school with room tidied up and bed made. Failure to do so will result in a bedtime 1/2 hour earlier than the set bedtime. If the same offense occurs more than twice in the same week, the bedtime will be reset 1/2 earlier on a regular basis. For older children who work rather than go to school, be at the breakfast 15 minutes before the departure time for work. On non-school days, the bed is to be made and the room tidied up in the morning before breakfast.
Telephone calls are limited to 10 minutes per hour unless permission is obtained in advance to talk longer. No toll calls (long-distance) without prior permission. Discipline
for disobeying telephone privileges: no telephone use for one day for each minute over the limit.
Children age 14 and up do own laundry according to the written instructions.
All children are responsible for cleaning their own rooms and keeping their own rooms tidied up between cleanings. Cleaning is done weekly including dusting and vacuuming.
Prior permission must be obtained for all outside activities including going to the neighbors, visiting friends, after school activities, dating, etc. If a child is missing for more than 30 minutes without permission, it is considered a runaway and the police will be notified.
Prior permission must be obtained before riding in anyone else’s car. The provider parents or approved sitter must meet the potential driver, approve of him/her, and see his/her driver’s license prior to receiving permission to leave.
No fighting or property destruction. Disciplinary action for any roughhousing is time out for 10 minutes for children over age 10 and one minute per year of age for children under age 10.
No smoking at any time. No drug or alcohol use.
No profane language. Consequence: time out as noted above.
Maximum Curfew--Age 14-15, when behavior is satisfactory: 9 p.m. curfew on school nights. 10 p.m. curfew on weekends (Friday and Saturday).
Maximum Curfew--Age 16 and up, when behavior is satisfactory: 10 p.m. curfew on school nights. 12 midnight curfew on weekends (Friday and Saturday).
Discipline for late curfew: grounded one day for each minute being late.
If permission is granted to get a driver’s license, each child must pay for his/her own insurance
, car, maintenance on car, gas, and any other expenses associated with the car.
Children of opposite sex are not permitted in bedrooms at the same time for any reason. Bedroom doors are to be closed when sleeping and dressing.
All food eaten in the house is to be eaten in the kitchen or dining room unless special permission is granted.
Stereos, TVs, walkmans, etc. must be turned off at bedtime or at 10:00 p.m. at the latest.
Bedtime on school nights is normally 10:00 p.m. for children over age 14 unless a special privilege has been granted. Younger children have earlier bedtimes at 8:00 p.m. or later depending upon age.
Extra money can be earned by assisting with chores other than routine weekly house cleaning.
No guests may be invited while parents are away. Permission must be obtained prior to inviting any guests to the provider home.