Almost every state has a need for qualified foster parents to place children in need with. If you have a desire to become a foster parent, you need to go through the foster care licensing process. The licensing process may vary a bit from one state to the next, but generally follows the process explained below.
Attend an Orientation
If you are interested in becoming a foster parent, you will need to attend a new foster parent orientation. These are usually hosted by the Department of Human Services or by an agency contracted by your state's DHS to help with the foster licensing process.
At the orientation, you are going to learn about the process of becoming a foster parent. You will learn about all the steps you will have to go through, get an overview of what the experience of being a foster parent is like, and get an overview of the support systems that are provided to foster parents. The orientation process is designed to give you a basic idea of what it is like to be a foster parent.
Start the Application Process
Next, you are going to need to start the application process. You and any adult in your home will need to be fingerprinted, and a background check will be run to make sure you don't have any qualifying criminal charges that would prevent you from being a foster parent.
You will also need to provide medical records for your family. This is to both make sure that you don't have a communicable disease that could be passed onto the children in your care and to make sure you are fit enough to take care of children. Your family health records will also help the DHS determine who is best to place in your care.
Complete a Home Study
An important part of becoming a foster parent is undergoing a home study. With a home study, someone will come out to your home and will discuss your lifestyle and inspect your home.
They are going to make sure your home meets basic requirements, such as a real bedroom and an overall safe environment. They are also going to interview you and find out your mindset and make sure you have the skills and mindset to take care of children.
In addition to attending an orientation, starting the application process, and completing a home study, in many states, you will need to complete a certain number of training hours in order to become a foster parent.
For more information about the foster care licensing process, contact an organization like Kids Count Too.