How to Become a Foster Parent
We realize that becoming a foster parent can be confusing and even overwhelming. You’ll find answers to many of the most common questions or concerns below. We’re happy to talk with you about your specific questions or situation to help you decide if you’re ready to begin the journey of becoming a foster or adoptive parent.
To speak with our Foster Care Intake Specialist, call 602-433-1344 or 888-433-1344. You can also complete our contact form and our Foster Care Intake Specialist will contact you shortly.
Please follow this link for more information on the steps to become a foster parent: https://dcs.az.gov/fosteradoption/steps-becoming-foster-parent
What are the requirements to be a foster parent?
There are many requirements but a few basic ones include:
- Be at least 21 years old
- All adults in the home must pass a background check and obtain Level 1 Fingerprint Clearance Cards
- Have sufficient bedroom space
- Be physically and emotionally healthy enough to supervise children, as determined by HRT and a physician.
- Have sufficient income to support your family
What training must I complete to become a licensed foster parent?
The following trainings are required to become a foster parent.
- Foster Parent College – Foster Parent College is a blended pre-service training curriculum. The curriculum consists of five 3-hour in-person training sessions and 12 online training classes totaling 30 hours. This training is designed to prepare prospective foster caregivers, kinship caregivers and adoptive parents to care for children in the child welfare system.
- CPR/First Aid for adults and children – must include hands-on testing
What are the requirements for my home to pass the state inspection?
Arizona State Rules set the requirements for a home to be considered safe. We’ll provide you with the requirements and assist you with knowing how to get your home ready for inspection. Some of the basic requirements include locking all medications and toxins, having smoke detectors and fire extinguishers, having first aid supplies, etc. If you want to foster children under the age of 7 years old and have a pool or spa it will need to be fenced.
How many bedrooms do I need?
We will help you determine if you have adequate bedroom space. There must be enough bedrooms in the home for everyone living in the home to sleep in a bedroom. Adults other than the foster parents may not share a room with a child. Children under 3 years old may sleep in a crib or toddler bed in the foster parents’ bedroom. Boys and girls 6 years old and older must sleep boys with boys and girls with girls.
How long does it take to get a foster care license?
It typically takes 4-6 months to get licensed after you start Foster Parent College. The sooner you submit your paperwork, prepare for your home inspection, and schedule home visits, the faster HRT can complete your license!
How long is a license good for?
Foster care licenses must be renewed every 2 years. The process is shorter than the initial licensing process and begins about 3 months before your license expires.
How do I start the foster care process?
Call us and our Foster Care Intake Specialist will answer your questions and complete a brief questionnaire to learn about your family and make sure you meet the basic requirements. Our Foster Care Intake Specialist can be reached at 602-433-1344 or 888-433-1344. You may also completed our contact form and our Foster Care Intake Specialist will contact you.
What different types of foster parenting does HRT offer?
Regular Foster Care
Regular foster care, or a Family Foster Home, is community foster care. Children are placed in foster families when they are removed from their home and cared for until they can return home or be adopted.
Kinship Foster Care
Kinship foster care is a license for families in which DCS has placed relative children such as grandchildren, nieces or nephews, etc. These families are not expected to care for other children in foster care. HRT is committed to assisting kinship families with the licensing process and providing them with the necessary supports needed to care for family members.
Respite foster families care for children for short periods of time (i.e., a few days to a week) while their regular foster family is unable to care for them. Family Foster Homes can have 1or 2 beds reserved for respite care.
Medically Complex trained foster families provide care for children who have chronic physical, developmental, or medical conditions. A child must meet specific criteria to qualify as Medically Complex.
Medically Complex foster families receive 18 hours of additional pre-service training and are required to attend 24 hours of training every 2 years for renewal.
Therapeutic Foster Care
Therapeutic foster homes provide care for children with significant behavioral and mental health concerns. The goal is work with youth on specific behavioral goals to help them stabilize and transition to Family Foster Homes.
Therapeutic Providers receive 18 hours of additional pre-service training and are required to attend 24 hours of training every year for renewal.
Is there a difference in licensing/eligibility for Kinship Foster Care?
The licensing process is the same for Kinship Foster Care and Regular Foster Care. There are some waivers available for non-safety licensing rules. The license is restricted to the children currently placed in the home.
What happens after I call HRT?
Our Foster Care Intake Specialist will complete a brief questionnaire with you to learn about your family and make sure you meet basic requirements. The next steps will include a background check and fingerprinting for all adults in the home. We will also schedule a Welcome Visit to meet with you in your home and discuss the licensing process, paperwork, and home inspection requirements. After these steps are completed we will enroll you in Foster Parent College training.
I am going through a divorce, can I still apply?
Your divorce will need to be finalized before you begin the licensing or certification process. If you are separated, you’ll need to have been separated and not living together for a minimum of 5 years or your spouse will need to complete a background check and obtain a Level 1 Fingerprint Clearance Card.
I have a past arrest record, would this prevent me from becoming a foster or adoptive parent?
Not necessarily! Certain charges will not impact your ability to obtain a Level 1 Fingerprint Clearance Card while others will prohibit you from obtaining one. There are many charges that can be appealed if your card is denied. Please contact us and we’ll be able to help you determine if your charges will impact you and how.
Can I start the process if I’m about to move into a new residence?
If you’ll be moving within the next 3 months, it’s best to wait until you are moved to begin the process. A home inspection is required and many of the documents require the address you’ll be licensed in.
I am not a U.S. citizen. Can I become a foster or adoptive parent?
Yes, as long as you can provide legal documentation of your residency in the U.S.
I do not have a driver’s license, can I still foster or adopt?
While the State does not require a driver’s license*, HRT does ask that our foster parents have a driver’s license and a vehicle. There are many appointments to transport children to and public transportation is not always convenient.
*Some exceptions do apply.
I have another adult who resides in my home, can I still foster or adopt?
Yes, but the other adult household member must be fingerprinted, provide a physician’s statement report, and sign a criminal history declaration. If the other adult will be assisting in the care of the child, he/she may also be required to attend some of the Pre-Service Training classes.
Do I need to have a job?
Not necessarily, but you will need to be able to provide verification that your net monthly income exceeds your monthly expenses.
I work full-time, can I be a foster or adoptive parent?
Yes. We will evaluate your work schedule and need for childcare. Foster parenting does require flexibility in your work schedule though in order to schedule appointments with your HRT Foster Care Specialist, the DCS Case Manager, and other team members during business hours. Placement of children is also done primarily during business hours.
Do I have to own a home?
No. Foster parents must have stable housing with sufficient bedroom space.
Do I need experience working with children?
No. Many foster parents do not have any experience working with children. We can assist you with identifying training or books to read to learn more about caring for children in general as well as children who have experienced trauma.
I am licensed with another agency, can I transfer or how do I switch?
You may contact our Foster Care Intake Specialist to discuss your reasons for transferring and your current license. You will need to sign a Release of Information. HRT will then review your licensing file from the other agency and make a decision based on the information presented.