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Choosing a Foster Care Agency

Foster parents listening intently to a foster care agency counselor

You’ve done your research, and now you’re ready to start the process of becoming a foster parent. The next step is contacting an agency. What does that involve? More research! In Ohio, foster parents have the choice to be certified by a private agency or by a county public children services agency.

Find agencies in your area

The first step to choosing an agency is to do your research on the agencies available in your area. For a list of agencies in Ohio, please use our search tool.

Public children services agency

Each county has its own public children services agency (PCSAs) that is responsible for providing child welfare services for the county. Most county agencies complete foster care homestudies for families who are considering fostering children.

Private agencies

There are many private agencies in Ohio. Although private agencies are licensed and regulated through the state, they have the freedom to have independent missions, values, and even religious affiliations. There are many private agencies who complete homestudies for families wanting to foster children from the child welfare system.

Do your research

Narrow your options down to a few agencies who complete foster care homestudies in your county.  To find the best fit, consider asking the questions below:

  • Where are your offices located?
  • Where will children placed in my home come from? The county I live in? Different counties?
  • What types of placements do you need most? Homes that take older children? Sibling groups? Children with physical or developmental challenges?
  • Do you also approve families for adoption?
  • What training is required, and when and where is it offered? Is there child care available?
  • How soon would someone start working on my homestudy?
  • How often will the assessor visit my home to complete the homestudy?
  • About how long will the homestudy take?
  • What types of services and supports do you offer, such as training, child care, mileage reimbursement, per diems, support groups, mentors, respite care, etc.?
  • How many foster families does your agency have? How many families does each assessor have?
  • What is the preferred method of contact for questions (email/phone call/text)? What is the normal response time for non-emergency questions?
  • Who do I call in an emergency when I have a child placed with me?