This is one thing that people sometimes “wah wah wah” to me about…” It just takes so long to get licensed.”
But honestly, it is more about how motivated someone is to get their foster care license. True, there are aspects about the licensing process over which you have no control…primarily once your application heads over to DCS for approval. You have zero control at that point and honestly there’s no real way to tell how long it will take after reaching that “mile marker”.
But first let’s back up and break down the list of everything that needs to happen to apply:
* 20 hours of pre-service training…this is where you will begin to get a feel for what you are entering into and typically when you will receive the paperwork packet.
* A decent amount (some people say it’s “a lot”) of paperwork; my response is to tell people that they should consider doing 1-2 forms a day and it seems to take no time at all. If you try to sit down and attempt to do it all at once, it would seem very overwhelming, but 1 or 2 forms at a time ends up only taking 5-10 minutes of your day. The one caveat I would like to mention is that here you will also need your doctor’s office to complete a form; this could cause a delay in your timeframe if this is not one of the forms you address early on. My point is this: plan on dealing with this first in case your doctor takes a while with the form!
* First Aid/CPR/Universal Precautions…but if you already have this certification then all you have to do is show proof; you do not have to take it again.
* Fingerprinting…this can be frustrating only b/c you have to schedule it, so things might get slowed briefly in the process if available dates and times don’t fit into your schedule.
* Home study…this is a minimum of 3 visits to your home for inspection and interviews by a licensing specialist. During this process, the licensing specialist will guide you to prepare your home to meet safety standards. You and anyone else in the home who is getting licensed (spouse, partner, friend) are interviewed, both together and individually. Others living in the home will be interviewed as well. And then I always describe the result of those interviews like a “biography” written about you, which will be included with the rest of your application. And not to worry: you will have the opportunity to review it and sign off on it prior to submission to the State.
* Once everything is completed, the entire packet is sent to DCS for their review and *hopefully* approval. Note: in my experience (and that of many others I know) by having an agency, such as Children’s Bureau, is a great way to ensure that all your ducks are in a row prior to submitting to DCS so there should be little to nothing kicked back for further info needed.
Now I know that it does seem like there are many things to do and it can take a while, but as you can tell from the list that most of it can be done at the pace at which you are comfortable…so the speed is mostly controlled by you.
Hope that helps encourage you to pursue your license…but I will caution you that the application process might be the only part of foster care which you will control…