What are foster care requirements?

What are foster care requirements? 

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    Hello.

    The rules vary state to state, but the process is pretty similar for each state.  The first step you'll want to take is to search out local foster/adoption agencies in your area.  The best way to do this is to do a google search to see what agencies are available where you live.  Once you have created a list of agencies, seek them out, make appointments with each one.  Sit down and discuss what your expectations are in being a foster parent, what kind of support you're looking for, want what benefits each agency offers to you as the foster parent for being with their agency.  Ask what qualifications you must have to be licensed with each agency as well.  Some agencies do not license same sex couples or single parents, or those who do not have a religious affiliation.  Others will license anyone wanting to foster as long as the meet the state guidelines for providing a safe home.

    Once you have decide what agency is best for you and your family, discuss the training process with that agency and what paper work will be required.  Most agencies/states require valid driver's licenses, FBI finger print background checks, criminal background checks, verification of employment, verification of residency, home inspections (fire and health) (these may cost a little), and a home study of all members of your home.  A home study is an in-depth interview of each member of the home as to what their life is like now, what their parenting style is like, what their family life was like as a child, etc.

    Once all paper work is completed then the training usually begins or often times the paper work can be processed at the same time that training is taking place.  Those wishing to be foster parents will attend mandatory training normally 40+ hours in the areas of: Trauma and Informed Care, CPR/First Aid, Methods of Discipline, Psychotropic medications, etc.  Each family will have to maintain a certain number of hours each year in order to maintain their license with their agency.  Often times much of the training can be done online.

    Once training is complete and all other documents and checks are passed, than a license will be issued for the amount of and age of children the family is willing to accept into their home.  Families do have the rights to define what children they feel comfortable taking, and which ones they do not feel comfortable with.

    Becoming licensed really is not that difficult or time consuming.  If a family is diligent in becoming licensed it can take as little as 4-6 months from start to having your first placement.  The experience is difficult, but rewarding at the same time.
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