Become a foster Parent

Steps to Become a Foster/Adoptive Parent

Information Meeting
You will need to attend an information meeting in your area where you can discuss the scope and requirements of being a foster/adoptive parent. Here you will get basic information and all your questions are welcome.You do not need an appointment. Find free foster care and adoption information meetings in your area today.

Basic Requirements

The prospective foster/adoptive parents may be single or married and must.

  • Must meet the minimum required by all licensing entities,  financially stable, and responsible mature adults.
  • Complete an application (staff will assist you, if you prefer).
  • Share information regarding their background and lifestyle.
  • Provide relative and non-relative references.
  • Show proof of marriage and/or divorce (if applicable).
  • Agree to a home study which includes visits with all household members.
  • Allow staff to complete a criminal history background check and an abuse/neglect check on all adults in the household, and
  • Attend free training to learn about issues of abused and neglected children.

The training provides an opportunity for the family and Inner Circle to assess whether foster care or adoption is best for the family. The family may withdraw from the meetings at any time. There is no charge for the meetings. Foster/adoptive parents generally train together.

Additional Foster Care Requirements

In addition to the basic requirements, foster parents must:

  • Have adequate sleeping space.
  • Allow no more than 6 children in the home including your own children or children for whom you provide day care.
  • Agree to a nonphysical discipline policy.
  • Permit fire, health and safety inspections of the home.
  • Vaccinate all pets.
  • Obtain and maintain CPR/First Aid Certification.
  • Obtain TB testing as required by the local Health Department for household members.
  • attend 15 hours or more of training each year to re certify.


Responsibilities of Foster and Adoptive Families

Foster Parents:

  • Provide daily care and nurturing of children in foster care;
  • Advocate for children in their schools and communities;
  • Inform the children’s caseworkers about adjustments to the home, school, and community, as well as any problems that may arise, including any serious illnesses, accidents, or serious occurrences involving the foster children or their own families;
  • Make efforts as team members with children’s caseworkers towards reunifying children with their birth families;
  • Provide a positive role model to birth families and
  • Help children learn life skills.

Adoptive Parents:

  • Provide permanent homes and a lifelong commitment to children into adulthood.
  • Provide for the short-term and long-term needs of children.
  • Provide for children’s emotional, mental, physical, social, educational, and cultural needs, according to each child’s developmenta.
  • May become certified as a foster family and accept children who are not legally free for adoption, but whose permanency plan is adoption.


You will attend foster parent training with Inner Circle trainers to learn more about the children available through the Department of Children and Family Services to assess your strengths in parenting children. The classes also boost your knowledge and confidence to meet the challenge of taking children into your home and to be sure you are ready to follow through on the commitment. The state minimum standards require that prospective foster families also complete the following training’s or certifications.

  • Universal precautions training.
  • Psychotropic medication training.
  • Certification in both First Aid and infant/child/adult CPR.
  • Water safety.

Family Home Study

A caseworker will visit you in your home. The purpose is to discuss your personal history, family interests and lifestyle, childcare experiences, the types of children you feel would best fit in your home, and your strengths and skills in meeting the children’s needs.

What is a home study?

The home study (for adoption purposes it is also known as the Pre-adoptive Home Screening) is used in assessing the home for children’s safety and available space. All homes must meet standards enumerated in the minimum standards and guidelines by the state and the county. The home study is designed to elicit information on a variety of issues including:

  • Motivation for wanting to foster or adopt.
  • Health status.
  • Marital and family relationships.
  • Applicants feelings about their own childhood and parents including any history of abuse and/or neglect.
  • Opinions about discipline.
  • Sensitivity about abused and neglected children.
  • Sensitivity towards birth families.
  • Sensitivity about different socioeconomic, ethnic, and cultural groups in relation to their ability to maintain the ethnic identity of a child from a different background.
  • Feelings about maintaining sibling relationships.
  • Expectations of children in foster care.
  • Family’s ability to work with specific kinds of behavior and backgrounds.
  • Documentation on the number, age and sex for whom the home is approved.

Applicants are informed by Inner Circle whether or not their home was approved and the reasons for the decision. Families who have successfully completed the assessment process and are determined able to meet the needs of the children in foster care are approved.

Families can be approved to provide care in four general categories:

  • Foster care.
  • Foster/adoptive homes.
  • Legal risk homes.
  • Adoptive homes.

Can foster families adopt?
Yes! Many families are interested in both fostering and adopting. They agree with the Inner Circle that the children’s needs come first. In most cases, this means helping prepare children for reunification with their birth family, mentoring the birth parents, or working toward a relative or kinship placement. When termination of parental rights is in the children’s best interest and adoption is their plan, then foster parents who have cared for the children will be given the opportunity to adopt. Dual certification of parents to both foster and adopt speeds up the placement process, reduces the number of moves a child makes, and allows relationships to evolve with the initial placement process. Nearly half the adoptions of children in foster care are by their foster families.
Can adoptive families provide foster care?
Yes! Adoptive families who are willing to accept placement of children who are not yet legally free for adoption but have a plan for adoption can also become certified as foster families. This dual certification increases the opportunities for successful adoptions. In some areas of the state, a “buddy system” has been developed in which experienced foster families, who understand the challenges and rewards of foster parenting, are available to share experiences with new families and give support.