The prospective foster/adoptive parents may be married or single and must:
- be at least 21 years of age;
- be financially stable;
- be a responsible, mature adult;
- provide proof of marriage and/or divorce;
- agree to a home study which includes visits with all household members;
- be able to provide relative and non-relative references;
- negative TB test;
- have an approved criminal history background and abuse/neglect check on all household members 14 years +
Quality training is key to becoming a foster or adoptive parent. The following are the most common forms of training required:
- 40 hours of free foster parent training provided by your child placing agency;
- additional classes on topics such as medication management and conflict resolution;
- infant/child/adult CPR and First Aid;
- additional classes for adoption licensing;
Your home must meet the following requirements to provide foster care. If you have a unique situation, it’s worth discussing this with your child placing agency.
- adequate sleeping space;
- children under the age of 3 may share a room (but not a bed) with their foster parents;
- storage space for clothing and personal belongings;
- including foster children, care for no more than 6 children in your home;
- current vaccinations for all pets;
- approved fire, health, and safety inspections
Foster parent expectations
Foster parents are expected to provide daily care and nurturing for children in foster care. This care is likely to include:
- enrollment in school or daycare;
- agree to a non-physical discipline policy;
- keep detailed notes and medication logs, informing the children’s caseworker of any new developments, illnesses, injuries, or serious situations;
- meet a child’s physical, emotional, recreational, and spiritual needs;
- willingness to be a “team player” with the child’s parents, caseworker, judge, CASA, therapists, etc.;
- help children learn life skills
Adoption assistance is available to families that adopt children with special needs. Adoption assistance must be applied for and the adoption assistance agreement negotiated and entered before the adoption is consummated. Otherwise, the child may not qualify for assistance. Adoption assistance provides the child with Medicaid coverage and often a monthly monetary payment. The payment may be used to buy the child goods and services not covered by the Medicaid program. If the adoptive family needs help with the costs of the child’s food, clothing, shelter and childcare, the payment can include funds for that purpose.
The amount of assistance a child receives is based upon the child’s needs, the family’s circumstances and other available resources, such as public education and community-based services. The non-recurring adoption expenses program reimburses families for adoption-related costs such as travel required to complete the adoptive placement process, court costs and attorney fees. The adoptive family must submit receipts showing they have paid these expenses. Upon consummation of the adoption by the court, the state will reimburse the family for all allowable expenditures not to exceed $1,200 per adoption.
Tax credits are also available for families that adopt special-needs children.
A Tuition and Fees Waiver for state colleges, universities, and some vocational/ technical schools may also be available as part of the adoption subsidy package and is contingent upon funding from the legislature.
- Step 1: Create a “short list” of a few child placing agencies that align with your family’s values and beliefs
- Step 2: Contact the agency or agencies that appear to be the best match for your family
- Step 3: Begin attending support groups and asking current foster parents about their experiences with various agencies
- Step 4: Choose an agency and begin the application and interview process
- Step 5: Select a training schedule to begin with your agency
- Step 6: Begin preparing your home for health/fire/safety inspections and other agencies requirements