Steps for Becoming a Foster Parent

| September 30, 2018

STEP 1 — Thinking about becoming a foster parent?

The willingness of people like you to help Arizona’s children is part of what makes our State great!  If you haven’t already done so, please watch the video on the Arizona Department of Child Safety’s website, which is part one of their five part video orientation.

DCS has posted lots of information, but if you want to talk with someone, please call 1-877 KIDS-NEEDU (1-877-543-7633).  They’re happy to talk with you during business hours, or you can leave a message and they’ll call you back.

Here’s some background information you might find helpful:

  • What is Foster Care? Foster care is a temporary situation where you care for a child who cannot safely remain at home. As a foster parent you need to keep in mind that the primary goal is for the child in your home to return to their own home, so you will be expected to support this goal (which is also known as a case plan goal) of reunification.
  • Why Do Children Come Into Foster Care? Children come into foster care through no fault of their own. They come into care because their parents are not able to safely care for them, not because of something they have done.
  • Who Can Become a Foster Parent?
    • You can be single, married or in a relationship, but if you are married, both parties must complete all requirements.
    • You must be at least 21 years old.
    • You — and all adults in your household — must pass a FBI and local criminal background check and have a Level 1 Fingerprint Clearance Card issued by the Department of Public Safety.
  • What Do I Have to Do to Become a Foster Parent?
    • Successfully complete training.  Foster parent pre-service training consists of 11 online courses that can be completed in the comfort of your own home and 15 hours of in-class instruction. Foster parents are vital members of the child’s team. This training provides information about the roles and responsibilities of all the team members.
    • Be medically qualified by a health professional.  You will receive a form that will need to be completed by a doctor, physician’s assistant or nurse practitioner.  If you regularly see more than one doctor, for example a medical doctor and a psychiatrist, you will likely need to have both complete the form.
    • You must be able to meet your living expenses.  Foster parents tell us that they frequently have to pay for things like clothes and wait to be reimbursed by the State.  And even then, the reimbursement may not cover all the costs.
    • Participate in an extensive interview process.  You will select a DCS contracted licensing agency to complete this interview, which is also known as a home study.  Your licensing worker will ask you very personal questions about your past and current relationships in order to assess your ability to parent children who have experienced trauma.  It’s important for you to answer openly and honestly.  More information about how to select a licensing agency is presented in video five of the online orientation videos.
    • Pass a home safety inspection.  The Life Safety Inspection (LSI) is a vital part of the licensing process.  DCS has to guarantee the situation in which children are placed is safe. Over the years there have been numerous areas that have been identified as common safety hazards that need to be guarded against. Over time these have been codified and incorporated in to Arizona Administrative Code Rule 21, Chapter 8, Article 1.  You can review the LSI Preparation Guide here CSO-1601 Preparation Guide  (CSO-1603-S Preparation Guide – Spanish)  and the Pool Guide here CSO-1602 Pool Guide  (CSO-1604-S Pool Guide – Spanish ).
    • Be lawfully present in the U.S.  “Lawfully present” means that you are a United States citizen or national or an alien authorized by an appropriate federal entity or court to be present in the United States.

If you would like to learn more about how to become a foster parent, please follow the link here!

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Category: Advocacy, Child Welfare, Programs

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