Foster Care FAQs

Can I adopt my foster child?

The primary goal for a child placed in foster care is to be successfully reunified with his family of origin. In cases where children are unable to return to their family, their permanency plan may change to adoption. When this happens, the foster parent has the right to be considered as a pre-adoptive family and the opportunity to file for adoption.

Do I need to own a home to be a foster parent?

No, but you must have a stake in the residence, such as a rental/lease agreement, mortgage or other similar legal interest. Apartments, duplexes, condominiums, single-family homes of various sizes, and mobile homes are all acceptable dwellings, as long as they meet state safety standards. You must also have sufficient additional bedroom space for children.

How old do I have to be to become a foster parent?

The state minimum age to become a foster parent is 21 years old. Because of the older population of youth generally referred to Children's Bureau for placement, we prefer individuals or couples to be 25 years or older.

Can people who identify as gay or lesbian be foster parents?

We welcome and affirm all sexual orientations as long as you meet all the minimum qualifications and comply with licensing requirements. Like every foster family, you will need a strong network of support from family and friends. We will be glad to discuss any unique characteristics your family may have and how they may impact your role as a foster family.

I have a criminal record. Can I become a foster parent?

Depending on the nature of the crime, you may be disqualified from obtaining a foster family license. Please contact us to determine the effect your record will have on your application.

Will I have to interact with the child's parent(s)?

There may be cases where you will interact with and have ongoing contact with your foster child's family of origin. This contact may range from authorized phone communication between the child and their family, arranged visitation & parenting time, or in rare cases acting as a mentor for the child's parent(s). The level of interaction you will have with the family will depend on the needs of the child. In some cases, foster families have little or no contact with the child's family. If you desire limited or no contact with a child's family, this will reduce the number of children who can be considered for placement in your home.

Where can foster children sleep?

Foster children must be assigned to an individual bed for sleep. Children of the same gender may share a bedroom as long as suitable space and storage is available for their use (closet and drawer space). The bedroom must be constructed for the purpose of a bedroom, and no household children can reside in bedrooms located in a basement. Beds must have a frame, box spring, and mattress, except for beds which substitute platforms for box springs (i.e. cribs, toddler beds, bunk beds, or platform beds).

How many foster children can I have at one time?

The capacity of a foster home depends on various factors, including: available space and bedding, children already residing in the home, the level of care a foster child needs, the parents' capabilities, and other considerations. Most foster families licensed through Children's Bureau, Inc. accept anywhere from one to three children. Families who are willing to care for larger sibling groups are needed and encouraged to apply.

I am currently unemployed. Can I be a full-time foster parent?

Foster Parents must have a self-sustaining, stable income. If you are not employed, but have a stable income source (such as retirement, SSDI benefits, Social Security, trust fund, etc.) you may apply to be a licensed foster parent. The household income should be sufficient to cover all of your family's financial expenses. If you are receiving temporary aid, such as unemployment, TANF, or other welfare assistance, then you should delay your application until you have a steady income from gainful employment or another source of non-assistance income. Additionally, you will need financial reserves which will allow you to absorb the cost of caring for a foster child or sibling for up to six (6) weeks before receiving a maintenance payment from the agency.

Who pays for childcare/daycare?

Many children require an adult nearby at all times. In the foster parent's absence, finding a substitute caregiver (babysitter, daycare, etc.) is the responsibility of the foster parent. The cost of substitute care is also the responsibility of the foster parent. Foster parents may apply for CCDF - a state program that assists with daycare costs, however there may be a waiting period before assistance begins.