BASIC REQUIREMENTS FOR PROSPECTIVE FOSTER PARENTS
Each state has their own set of laws that one must follow if they want to become foster parents. However, overall the general requirements that must be met in most states are the same.
- Previous experience with child-rearing is not necessary.
- Foster Parents do not have to be married.
- Foster Parents must be at least 21 years old.
- Many states do not allow people to foster children if they are above the age of 65.
- A foster parent’s home must have the required space for a child. The required space varies from a child having their own room to them simply having their own bed and space for their personal belongings.
- Foster Parents must be capable of financially providing for their current family.
- The home of a foster parent must meet all safety standards required.
- Foster parents are required to be in good health – both physically and mentally.
The Process of Becoming A Foster Parent
Once it is determined that your meet the basic requirements, you can then continue with the process of becoming a licensed foster parent.
While each state may vary slightly, the general process is as follows:
- Begin by calling your local social services and request information regarding your state’s foster care program. Once you receive the information, look over it closely. It will include all the basic expectations that social services has of foster parents.
- If there is an orientation available, you’ll want to attend even if it isn’t mandatory. A lot of useful information will be given to you. You’ll also have the opportunity to ask any questions that you might have.
- Complete an application to become a foster parent. The application will be used by social services to determine your suitability.
- If approved thus far, the next step is a homestudy. Social workers will physically visit your home and check the suitability of your home. Your home will be expected to be large enough to accommodate a child, reasonably clean and meet safety requirements. All family members over the age of 12 will be fingerprinted and an extensive background check on all people living in the home will be completed. Don’t worry, you don’t have to be perfect and some blemishes on your record don’t necessarily mean you’ll be turned away. If there are criminal offenses in your past you may still be approved. Typically, the seriousness and type of crime along with how long ago the time was committed is taking into consideration. Any crimes involving children will most likely be an automatic denial. This is a measure to ensure the safety of children that will potentially be placed in the home.
- Foster parents must next complete a training course. Parenting techniques, children with special needs and how the foster care agency works are all issues that will be covered.
- Assuming you met all requirements, passed background and criminal checks and completed the training program, you’re now a licensed foster parent. Now all there is to do is to wait for a child to be placed into your home.
- Foster parents do get paid for allowing foster children into their homes. The pay is by no means extravagant and many foster parents spend their own money to help with expenses as they find it isn’t enough. Those interested in foster care as a means of gaining financial gain will find themselves disappointed. Foster parents should only welcome children into their homes because they wish to help those in need. Financial gain should not be a factor.