Being a foster parent is a serious but rewarding commitment. To become a foster parent, you must meet all the requirements below.
- You must be at least 21 years old.
- At least one person in your home must be able to read, write and speak English, or be able to communicate effectively with both the child and the agency that placed the child in your home.
- You may be single or married. All orientations are acceptable.
- All religious affiliations are acceptable.
- You must be able to provide contact information for individuals who can provide references for you.
- Your household must have enough income to meet the basic needs of those already living in the home and to make timely payment of shelter costs.*
- You do not have to own a home but must have enough space available for the children and their belongings.
- You must have a separate bed for each child and separate bedrooms for children if there are boys and girls over age 5.
- You must be free of any physical, emotional or mental conditions that could endanger the child or seriously impair your ability to care for the child.
- A licensed medical professional must complete and sign a medical statement for you and each member of your household stating that you are healthy enough to care for additional children.
- Everyone 18 and over living in the home must have criminal background checks completed, as well as child abuse and neglect checks. If you have concerns about something in your past that you think may disqualify you from being a foster parent, talk to your agency about it.
- Your home must be free of hazardous conditions and pass a fire inspection and safety audit.
- You must complete all preplacement and continuing training required by your agency.
*Foster families receive financial reimbursement to help cover the costs of the children placed in their homes. Contact your agency for more information. Medical care for children in foster care is covered through Medicaid. Foster parents are not expected to pay for children’s medical expenses.