What Must You Do to Become a Foster Parent?
While procedures vary from state to state, there are some basic requirements of becoming a foster parent.
Typically, whether single or married, you must:
- Be at least 21 years old.
- Be able to show that you are financially self-sufficient. While a monthly stipend is provided you must be able to live without it.
Permit a home inspection and personal interview.
Evaluators will want to know that you have enough room to house a child (usually, this means that there can only be a maximum of two children in one bedroom, and that children 5 years old or older must share a bedroom with a child of the same sex only.) They also will want to know that your home meets certain safety requirements; for example, that it has a smoke detector, first aid kit and fire extinguisher. Evaluators also will want to be assured that you have the time to care for a young child or to arrange for reliable child care for one.
Undergo a medical exam.
The exam must verify that you have no physical conditions that would impede your ability to be a foster parent.
Consent to a background check.
Investigators will examine character references, family stability, and any criminal history or record with the child abuse registry. They also will finger print each adult member of the household;
- Be willing to work with the local foster care agency to meet a child's needs.
Complete a foster-parent training course conducted under the auspices of the foster care agency.
The course usually takes 30 hours and is offered in the evenings an on Saturdays. Some jurisdictions also allow you to study at home via the Internet. Topics covered include: foster parent responsibilities, child abuse, licensing requirements for foster parents, behavior to expect from children who have been abused, ways to deal with these behaviors and other topics.