Foster Care

Frequently AskED Questions

Becoming a licensed foster parent could be the most rewarding and challenging task you have ever considered. These frequently asked questions will help you to determine if you are eligible and ready to become a foster parent.

How much room do I need in my home?
You must have enough bedroom space for a foster child. A foster child may share a bedroom with your child/another foster child of the same gender. Foster children must have a bed of their own and cannot share a bed nor sleep on a cot or trundle bed. A foster child may not share a bedroom with any adult, with the exception of infants, age 12 months or younger. Also, an adult cannot move out of their bedroom and sleep on the couch to make room for the child.

Does my home have to pass an inspection?
It is important that children live in a safe and clean environment. During the home study process, you will be asked to have a Health Inspection done in your home. Your residence must be free of potential danger and risks. You must have working smoke detectors, a fire extinguisher, and if you have pets, all animals must be current with vaccinations and not present a danger to children in your home.

What are the physical and emotional requirements for caring for children?
Being a parent can be demanding. You must be healthy and emotionally stable to care for foster children. You may be asked to complete a physical or provide medical clearance as well as other supportive documentation to help establish the state of your physical and emotional health.

What are the background screening requirements?
Thorough background screening is conducted on all prospective foster families, including Abuse Registry, local criminal and federal criminal (fingerprint) clearances. If you or any adult household member has a criminal or abuse registry record, you will need to contact your SCC Licensing Specialist to request additional information regarding the background screening process. Child abuse clearances are required for all household members, including biological, adopted and relative children residing in the home.

What are the financial and income requirements?
While you don't have to be rich to be a foster parent, you must have adequate income to meet you own family's needs. Foster parents are reimbursed for the substitute care they provide. The monthly Board Rate is not income. During the home study process, you will be asked to show proof of income and financial stability.

Do I have to be married to foster...or can I be single or divorced?
Foster parents can be single, married or divorced. However, if you are married, you must have been in your current marital status for at least 12 months to ensure stability in your relationship.

How do I know I am ready?
You are ready to begin the foster care licensing process if your life and home are stable. "Stable" means that you are not about to move or are not having financial, marital or emotional difficulties. Your home must be in good condition and you must be ready to begin the 9-week pre-service training program. Foster care impacts the entire family, therefore everyone in your home should have given serious thought to the decision to provide foster care.

What training will I receive?
All prospective foster parents are required to attend 30 hours of pre-service training called Professional Parenting. This is provided in 2 different formats: Either 3 hours a week for 10 weeks or 6 hours a week for 5 weeks. If you are married, both parents will need to attend and complete this training. Accommodations can sometimes be made if you and your spouse cannot take the class on the same night.

Should I become a foster parent so I can adopt a child?
Because foster care is a temporary placement, most children that come into your home will not be eligible for adoption. In fact, 80% of children are reunified with their parents or transition to living with relatives. A foster parent is expected to work with the agency and birth parents, in the hopes that the family will be reunited. A foster parent must be objective, and must be able to assist a child when it comes time for that child to leave the foster home. Sometimes, however, children are unable to return home. If parental rights are terminated, first relatives, then foster parents are given consideration for adoption.