There are a number of qualifications you must have in order to become a licensed foster parent.
The first step to becoming a foster parent is deciding whether you want to become licensed through the Department of Family and Protective Services or an agency. Both have a number or pros and cons. It is best to do a lot of research and speak to other foster parents before making your decision.
The second step once you have decided which agency or department you want to go through for your licensing requirements is to take training. In the state of Texas, where I am from, everyone over the age of 14 living in the home is required to complete the training necessary to become licensed. In Texas, that training is called PRIDE (Parent Resource for Information, Development, and Education). More information can be about this training here. During the second step families will be required to turn in a lot of documentation to become licensed. Documentation that shows income, driver’s license, social security card, and bank statements.
The third step will be for everyone over the age of 14 to complete an FBI background check and fingerprinting. Your department or agency will let you know of the locations where this can be completed as well as the cost involved for each person.
Health and Safety
The fourth step on your journey to being a foster parent is to complete health and safety inspections of your home. Your agency or department will let you know who to contact and if there is any cost involved in these checks as well. A part of this process is also to provide a layout of your home, an emergency evacuation plan, and photos of the inside and outside of the home. If a family has pets, all pets will have to be current on vaccinations as well.
The final step to becoming a licensed foster parent is a home study. The agency or department that you choose will conduct the home study. There are some agencies that do charge for this service, so if that is a concern to your family you’ll need to find out up front if there will be a cost involved. I have been told some agencies charge upwards of $500 to complete them at times. Other agencies and departments may not charge anything at all. The home study takes many hours to complete as each member of the household is questioned in depth on categories such as: family background, community, health, criminal clearances, and financial statements. For more in-depth information on questions that are asked please click here.
After all steps have been completed, all documents and recommendations will be forwarded to a supervisor for approval or denial of the licensing of the home. If approved the family will be contacted, a license with the specifics a family is looking for in a child will be mailed to the home.
Once licensed, the family can soon expect calls on children who have come into care and are needing placement. A family can ask as many questions as they would like about the child/children needing placement and can either decide to say yes or no to the placement.
Once licensed, the family will need to keep up with the requirements of their department or agency to remain licensed and maintain the ability to take placements.