How to Become a Foster Parent

Being a foster parent can be as rewarding for you as for the children. Make sure you’re ready and qualified for the challenge.

Instructions

  • Step 1: Confirm your qualifications Confirm that you are at least 21, that you make enough money to support a child, and that your home is stable and safe, with room for the child and their belongings.
  • Step 2: Understand risks Understand the emotional risks in growing attached to a child who must eventually leave, sometimes returning to people who may have hurt them in the past.
  • Step 3: Attend information sessions Attend information sessions, or interview acquaintances who have taken on foster children. There are other ways to help children if this is not right for you.
  • TIP: Find out about license requirements at nfpainc.org.
  • Step 4: Pass background check Pass a criminal background check and verify you have no alcohol or drug problems.
  • Step 5: Complete application process Complete the application process through your local social or human service departments. Officials will assess your family’s life style, character, and finances.
  • Step 6: Attend certification classes Attend training classes sponsored by child placement agencies and your county to be certified as a foster parent.
  • TIP: Allow any current children to voice their opinions about the upcoming change.
  • Step 7: Make home changes Make changes to your home to accommodate fire, safety, and health codes. Be prepared for unannounced inspections.
  • FACT: Did you know? As of May 2009 there were nearly a half million children and youth in foster care in the United States.

You Will Need

  • To be 21 years of age
  • A reliable income
  • A stable and safe home
  • Enough room for a foster child
  • Emotional health
  • To pass a criminal background check
  • No alcohol and drug problems
  • Certification
  • Internet access (optional)

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