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Foster Parenting

The Department of Human Services is in need of caring individuals who can provide a safe and nurturing home environment for children who have been placed out of their home due to abuse or neglect. Foster Care is founded on the premise that all children have the right to physical care and educational and emotional nurturance. The family foster care program is designed to provide a substitute family life experience for a child in a household that has been approved and licensed by the Michigan Department of Human Services or in the home of relative. A relative may become licensed or may be unlicensed.


Children may need foster care for a temporary or extended period of time. The primary goal during foster care is to reunite the child with his or her parents. The foster family plays an important role in the treatment plan for the child and family. Under the "team" approach, foster parents or relatives, together with the worker, attempt to provide the specific kind of help a child and his family need for reuniting the child with the parents. When the child cannot be reunited with the parents, the children are prepared for permanent placement, with relatives or non-related adoptive families. Under certain circumstances, a foster family may adopt children in their care. When adoption is not possible, the goal is to prepare the youth for independent living.

Foster Care is seen as a short term solution to an emergency situation. The Department needs committed individuals who are:

  • Willing to work with the child's birth parents
  • Supportive of efforts to return the child home
  • Able to work with children who have significant emotional and behavioral needs
  • Able to encourage teens toward independent living.

You are not required to own your own home, be married or give up your job and stay home full time in order to foster children. You may be renting an apartment or be single. You may apply for day care payments for the time that you are working or continuing your education.

To become a Foster Care Parent  applicants must:

  • Complete a licensing application
  • Successfully complete background clearances for all adult household members
  • Provide medical statements for all household members
  • Have an environmental inspection (when applicable)
  • Provide three acceptable references
  • Pass on-site visits to the home by the licensing worker
  • Attend training pertinent to foster care issues.

For further information on becoming a foster parent, please see the Licensing section of this website or contact your local DHS office.

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